How to Trouble-Shoot Postbox

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to trouble-shoot Postbox. Please follow each step in sequence.

1) Use the Trouble-Shooting Panel

Postbox contains a Trouble-Shooting panel to help address issues you may be experiencing with Postbox. Go to the Help menu and select Trouble Shooting..., and then select one or more of these options:

  • Safe Mode - This disables all add-ons and custom settings. 
  • Permanently Disable all Add-ons - this eliminates the possibility that a 3rd party add-on is causing issues with Postbox.
  • Reset User Interface - If Postbox windows are not displaying properly, selecting this option will reset the interface.
  • Reset Search Index - This removes the search index, so you will want to select Tools / Indexing / Index All Messages after restart.
Check ALL options and restart Postbox.  Do the problems persist?  If so, move to the next step.

2) Temporarily Turn-Off Anti-Virus, Disk Utilities, and Backup Software Programs

Sometimes these programs will not allow Postbox to create new, or change existing, files on disk such as preference files.  Try turning off these programs temporarily, then see if Postbox will then operate normally.  If so, investigate ways to exclude Postbox from being checked by the anti-virus program, config files backed up, etc.

3) Reconstruct the IMAP Databases

Sometimes disk corruptions can occur.  A quick way to remedy these issues is to reconstruct the IMAP databases.  Here's how:

1) Quit Postbox

2) Navigate to:


~ [your home directory] / Library / Application Support / Postbox / Profiles / [your profile] / ImapMail

(Note: On the Mac the Library folder is hidden. To access it, Open Finder, and hold the Option key while clicking on the Go menu at the top of the screen. "Library" will be one of the options.)


Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Postbox\Profiles\[your profile]\ImapMail\

Note: The AppData folder is folder is a hidden folder; to show hidden folders:

Windows Vista / 7 - Open a Windows Explorer window and choose "Organize → Folder and Search Options → Folder Options → View (tab) → Show hidden files and folders".

Windows 8: Open a Windows Explorer window and choose "View Tab → Options → Change Folder and Search Options → View Tab → Show hidden files and folders, then click the Apply button".

3) Then, move the ImapMail folder to your desktop.

4) Restart Postbox, and it will then reconstruct the email databases.

4) Delete .msf files

Resetting the .msf files can sometimes help if you are experiencing slowdowns or beach balls.

1) Quit or Exit Postbox so that it is no longer running

2) Within Windows or Mac OS X, search for: .msf -- or -- *.msf

3) Delete the .msf files that you find

5) Create a New Profile

A useful diagnostic step is to see if an issue goes away within a new profile:

1) Quit or exit Postbox so that it is no longer running.

2) Launch the Profile Manager:

From the Windows "Start" menu, choose "Run" (this is "Start Search" on Windows Vista") then type in the following:
postbox.exe -ProfileManager

Mac OS X
Launch Terminal on the Mac - Applications / Utilities / Terminal and then paste in the following:
/Applications/ -profilemanager

3) Use the Profile Manager to create a new profile. Make sure that the "Don't ask at startup" checkbox is NOT checked.

4) Next, set up a sample IMAP account.  Do NOT install any Add-ons!

If the issue(s) go away with the new profile, then migrate your settings to this new profile and use it moving forward.

If the issues persist, move to the next step. 

6) Create a New OS User Account

Sometimes there are issues external to Postbox which are causing it to malfunction.  For example, anti-virus or backup software can prevent Postbox from saving preferences, folder permissions issues on disk can prevent Postbox from being able to save messages, etc.  

The easiest way to trouble-shoot these types of issues is to setup a new OS user account to see if the problems persist.

1) Create a new user account on your Operating System (please refer to your OS user manual for instructions)

2) Download and install Postbox.

3) Next, set up a sample IMAP account. Do NOT install any Add-ons!

If the issues go away with the new OS user account, then you most likely have a disk permissions problem, or a third party application or utility that is interferring with Postbox's operation.


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