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I was having this very same problem and was escalated to Engineering at AppleCare to solve it. It turned out to be a Spotlight problem. Flags are detected by Spotlight. Engineering recommended that I run the following Terminal command:
Bash:
sudo find /var/folders/zz -name "*.csstore" -delete; sudo reboot
and the flags immediately began behaving properly again.
Yes, I knew Spotlight was involved because I was getting bad results from querying Spotlight for flagged messages:
Bash:
mdfind com_apple_mail_flagged=1      # shows all flagged messages
mdfind com_apple_mail_flagColor=n    # where n is a number of the flag color
I tried forcing a Spotlight reindex of mail by adding and removing ~/Library/Mail from the Spotlight Privacy tab. It did rebuild the flag count, but after it was done there were still problems with flags, such as incorrect counts of a particular flag color.
 


I have also noted that quitting Apple Mail can fix some problems, and that Spotlight seems to be a source of some problems with Mail. In fact, I've found Spotlight (on El Capitan) is a source of many problems, because it can't find things reliably.

It often helps to specify a type for Spotlight. For example, enter: type word alpha to search for "alpha" in Word documents, although it picks up some PDFs. type rtf alpha picks up "alpha" in RTF documents (Nisus Writer) that Spotlight wouldn't otherwise find. But the results are spotty and seem inconsistent, and I no longer trust them.

I have large archives of emails, word-processing documents, and PDF files, and I wonder if Spotlight has some undocumented capacity limits that I'm bumping up against.
 


I have also noted that quitting Apple Mail can fix some problems, and that Spotlight seems to be a source of some problems with Mail. In fact, I've found Spotlight (on El Capitan) is a source of many problems, because it can't find things reliably.

It often helps to specify a type for Spotlight. For example, enter: type word alpha to search for "alpha" in Word documents, although it picks up some PDFs. type rtf alpha picks up "alpha" in RTF documents (Nisus Writer) that Spotlight wouldn't otherwise find. But the results are spotty and seem inconsistent, and I no longer trust them.

I have large archives of emails, word-processing documents, and PDF files, and I wonder if Spotlight has some undocumented capacity limits that I'm bumping up against.
I think there are several reasons for your results:
  • The keyword you're looking for is kind, not type.
  • Keywords and values need to be separated by a colon, e.g. kind:word alpha
  • The kind keyword does not reference the file extension. So, even though TextEdit files have an .RTF extension, kind:rtf won't find them.
  • What kind matches is the value that shows up in the Get Info Kind field. For .RTF files, this is Rich Text Document. Thus, kind:"Rich Text Document" alpha.
  • Since macOS killed off Creator codes long ago, it is likely that all .RTF files would have the same Kind, no matter if they are created by TextEdit, Word or Nisus Writer.
I think your example Spotlight searches were returning documents that contained the words type, word, alpha and type, rtf, alpha.

Note that I don't deny that Spotlight can return weird results. Sometimes it won't return a document that it clearly should, until I touch it, which gets Spotlight to reindex it. And there have been persistent rumors that the metadata indexer for certain kinds of Word documents doesn't always parse the content correctly.
 


I think there are several reasons for your results:
  • The keyword you're looking for is kind, not type.
  • Keywords and values need to be separated by a colon, e.g. kind:word alpha
  • The kind keyword does not reference the file extension. So, even though TextEdit files have an .RTF extension, kind:rtf won't find them.
  • What kind matches is the value that shows up in the Get Info Kind field. For .RTF files, this is Rich Text Document. Thus, kind:"Rich Text Document" alpha.
  • Since macOS killed off Creator codes long ago, it is likely that all .RTF files would have the same Kind, no matter if they are created by TextEdit, Word or Nisus Writer.
I think your example Spotlight searches were returning documents that contained the words type, word, alpha and type, rtf, alpha.

Note that I don't deny that Spotlight can return weird results. Sometimes it won't return a document that it clearly should, until I touch it, which gets Spotlight to reindex it. And there have been persistent rumors that the metadata indexer for certain kinds of Word documents doesn't always parse the content correctly.
Thanks. You're right about kind and the need for a colon; I had gotten confused about that.

However, I'm getting different matches on kind than you do. For example, kind:text turned up a Word .doc file listed in Get Info as a Microsoft Word 97-2004 document, a SimpleText Document with no extension that may be in RTF or text format, and a rich text (.rtf) file I created in Nisus Writer.

The same files show up in a kind:rtf search. A kind:doc search shows up Word .doc files, a Word.docx file, and PDFs (kind: Adobe PDF document). A kind:word search shows Word .doc files (listed as Microsoft Word 97-2004 documents in Kind) and Word .docx files (listed as Microsoft Word documents).

If I don't use any kind listing, all that Spotlights shows are .docx and PDF files (plus some emails), but not the RTF or .doc files. However, if I click on the "Show in Finder" option, I also get the RTF and .doc files.

I suspect that my archives may be too large for Spotlight, but whatever the problem is, I agree the results are weird. What I had hoped would be a big help in doing research for a just-finished book turned out to woefully inadequate and a large hassle.
 


Just in case anyone is interested, here is a list of Spotlight find headers I compiled from article by David Pogue, MacWorld, and Cnet.

http://hints.macworld.com/dlfiles/spotlight_cmds.pdf
Kind:
app, application, applications
audio
bookmark, bookmarks
contact, contacts
email, emails, mail message, mail messages
event, events
folder, folders
font, fonts
image,'images
movie, movies
music
pdf, pdfs
preferences, system preferences
presentation, presentations
to do, to dos, todo, todos

Metadata:
album, title
alpha
altitude
aperture, fstop
audience, to
audiobitrate, bitrate
audioencodingapplication
audiosamplerate, samplerate
author, from, with, by
bitspersample, bps
channels
city
codec
colorspace
comment
composer, author, by
contactkeyword, keyword
contentcreated, created, date
contentmodified, modified, date
contributor, by, author, with
copyright
country
coverage
created
creator
delivery
description, comment
displayname, name
duedate, date
duration, time
edit
editor
email
email
email
encodingapplication
executable
exifversion
exposuremode
exposureprogram
exposuretime, time
exposuretime, time
extensible
filename
flash
fnumber, fstop
focallength
group
headline, title
heightdpi, dpi
icon
id
imag
image
imname
instructions
instrumentcategory
instrumentname
interchange
internet
intext
invisible
ismidi
iso
item
itemcreated, created, date
keysignature, key
keyword
kind
label
language
lastused, date
latitude
layer
longitude
lyricist, author, by
make (camera brand)
markup
maxaperture
mediatype
meteringmode
model (camera model)
modified
musicalgenre, genre
object
organization
orientation
owner
pageheight, height
pages
pagewidth, height
path
phonenumber
pixelheight, height
pixelwidth, width
producer
profile
project
publisher
quicktime
recipient, to, with
recordingdate, date
redeye
rez
rich
rights
rtf
securitymethod
size
spotlightcomment, comment
starrating
state, province
stationery
streamable
subject, title
tar
tempo
text
theme
timesignature
title
totalbitrate, bitrate
tracknumber
true type
unix
url
used, date
version
videobitrate, bitrate
web
wherefrom
whitebalance
widthdpi, dpi
windows
with
word
workflow
yearrecorded, year
 



Thanks. Is your list updated from Pogue's 2007 list? I'm wondering what has changed since then.
I have not done any rigorous updating for a while. The list I provided is augmented by a couple of dozen obscure entries I gleaned from CNet and other sources.

Supposedly, a comprehensive list of all commands (though it's missing many in my list) is available via the Other... command in the top left popup menu in a Find window (Command-f). However, those commands are listed in common language, not the single-word style used by the kind and metadata commands.

My first guess at a multi-word keyword would be to just omit the spaces in a phrase. For example, "White balance", listed under Other..., might become "whitebalance", an attribute not in my list. Unfortunately I don't have any files of this sort to test it on.
 


Is there some way to synchronize the On My Mac mailboxes in Apple Mail between two computers running Sierra?

I don't travel often, but when I do, I would like to have the same On My Mac mailboxes in Apple Mail on my laptop as are on my desktop computer. Then, when I return home, I would like to reverse the synchronization of the mailboxes from my laptop back to my desktop Mac.
 


On macOS starting with whichever release came after iCloud, if the account in Mail is setup as a true iCloud account, the SMTP server is automatic. Under Mail > Preferences > Accounts > Server Settings, there is no place to pick incoming (IMAP) or outgoing (SMTP) servers. This should work.
Unfortunately, the iCloud SMTP server refuses to work in my email setup. My user ID and password are just fine for the App Store, for CalDV, for incoming mail, etc., but the iCloud SMTP server refuses to recognize my ID and/or password.

I am not alone in this; various fixes have worked for others, but I suspect for me it will take a clean install. I have a second laptop, a recent MacBook Air, with the same issue (understandably, since it was set up with a migration from the other computer), and upgrading to High Sierra didn't fix the problem.
 



Is there some way to synchronize the On My Mac mailboxes in Apple Mail between two computers running Sierra?
I don't use Apple Mail, so I can't answer for sure, but if it is like most mail apps, then the data will be stored in one of three ways:
  • One big database file holding all your messages for every folder. If this is the case, forget it. You'll need to manually export messages and import them on the other side
  • One database file for each mail folder. This is probably the most convenient. Just copy the folder on one Mac on top of its companion on the other Mac. Note, however, that doing so will blow away the contents of the folder on the destination Mac
  • A folder for each mail folder, with a separate file (or possibly set of files) for each message. In this case, copy the entire contents of the folder. Or if you have an appropriate tool, sync the two folders to each other.
Be sure to make a backup before you begin. It is also possible that the copy won't work (because of some kind of security feature or separate database that needs updating) and you don't want to have to blow away the content of your local folders in order to recover.

On the other hand, as Matt wrote, this sort of thing is just what IMAP is for. If you need to access the messages from multiple computers, that is going to be the easiest option by far. Just create a folder on the server and move your messages there.
 




IMAP can have many folders, which are "coordinated" machine to machine. Or am I missing something...
Perhaps I am misunderstanding something? In the Apple Mail sidebar below the headings "Mailboxes" and "Smart Mailboxes" can be the heading "On My Mac." Under On My Mac there can be a number of user-created mailboxes that are stored locally. It is my understanding that, because these are optional-user created mailboxes. there may be nothing here unless a user creates an On My Mac mailbox. This is done from the Apple Mail menu Mailbox > New Mail Box... then choosing On My Mac as the mailbox Location in the New Mailbox pop-up dialog box.

Below are two quotes from Joe Kissell's ebook Take Control of Apple Mail version 4 that may make it clearer:
Just as with POP, you can store any or all of your messages locally and not on the IMAP server if you prefer. (To do this for individual messages, drag them to any On My Mac mailbox...
Mail doesn’t always make it obvious whether a mailbox is stored locally or on a server. If a mailbox is listed under the heading for a server-based account, it’s located on the server. If a mailbox is listed under the On My Mac heading (which, again, won’t appear unless there’s something under it), it’s stored locally.
 


Is there some way to synchronize the On My Mac mailboxes in Apple Mail between two computers running Sierra? ...
Yes, with caveats. Apple is sandboxing its apps by placing their data in
~/Library/Containers

The problem in Sierra is that the old
~/Library/Mail
folder is still in use, so Mail's sandboxing isn't complete.

In Sierra both folders must be copied
~/Library/Mail/V4
and
~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail

To be safe, don't copy the folders back unless you're 100% positive everything is OK on the second computer. My preferred method is to copy one-way to the second computer. On the second computer, I never store messages On My Mac. In essence, the second computer's Mail data is disposable.
 


Is there some way to synchronize the On My Mac mailboxes in Apple Mail between two computers running Sierra?
One other possibility, to do almost what you wish, is change the configuration in Mail for how long to retain emails on the POP server after you have downloaded them to your home computer. As a POP user myself, I have mine set for "retain for two weeks". That way, when traveling, I can use my browser and check my web mail and see whatever current mail is there, plus the last two weeks of mail.
 


Perhaps I am misunderstanding something? In the Apple Mail sidebar below the headings "Mailboxes" and "Smart Mailboxes" can be the heading "On My Mac." Under On My Mac there can be a number of user-created mailboxes that are stored locally. It is my understanding that, because these are optional-user created mailboxes. there may be nothing here unless a user creates an On My Mac mailbox. This is done from the Apple Mail menu Mailbox > New Mail Box... then choosing On My Mac as the mailbox Location in the New Mailbox pop-up dialog box.
All correct, but you can also create mailboxes on the server. Any messages you put in these mailboxes are synced to the server. Other clients logged in to your account will see them and allow you to access the content.

If you have multiple mail accounts, you can create mailboxes under each account's server, which will sync the contents to the respective server.

Here's Apple's support guide for creating mailboxes.
 


These are messages from IMAP accounts that have been moved to On My Mac mailboxes so that the inboxes don't contain thousands of messages.
Fine; the inbox should not contain thousands of messages. But you can make more mailboxes on the server with IMAP, and they are all coordinated across all your clients. You could set this up temporarily just for purposes of travel. Just drag messages from an On My Mac mailbox into an On-your-IMAP-server mailbox. Travel. Reverse the process when you get home, if you are set on keeping isolated copies on your computer; I can certainly understand the impulse to do that (because I also do it). But I also have shared mailboxes on my IMAP server! Get the best of both worlds.
 


Fine; the inbox should not contain thousands of messages. But you can make more mailboxes on the server with IMAP, and they are all coordinated across all your clients. ...
Most mail servers have a quota that limits how much disk space your mail (messages) can use. Attachments take up a lot of disk space compared to the message itself. People who receive many attachments can easily reach their quota.

Another downside of relying on IMAP folders to store messages is possible data loss when the server becomes corrupt. Many mail hosts have basically said "tough luck" when their customers' email got wiped out. Saving to your Mac lets you control email backup.

Even though IMAP messages are cached on your Mac you can still lose them. If your mail server gets corrupted your email client may synch with the new blank server and dutifully delete all the messages it cached since they're no longer on the server. In this case you would need to rely on your own personal backup. Getting these messages back into mail and back on the server isn't straightforward.

My advice: store important messages you need to save On My Mac and backup, backup, backup. Did I mention backup?
 


To be safe, don't copy the folders back unless you're 100% positive everything is OK on the second computer. My preferred method is to copy one-way to the second computer. On the second computer, I never store messages On My Mac. In essence, the second computer's Mail data is disposable.
Thanks for this information. I am going to try this, of course after obsessively backing up. Your preferred method sounds good, only doing the one-way copy to the second computer (the travel laptop). It seems easy enough, after returning from a trip, to launch Apple Mail from my primary computer (my desktop) and move the messages received while away to the desktop's On My Mac mailboxes.

I do have some rules that automatically move some messages to On My Mac mailboxes. I will disable these rules on my travel computer after copying. Also I am going to rename the rules that move messages so they are easier to find and disable in the rules list.
 


... I do have some rules that automatically move some messages to On My Mac mailboxes. I will disable these rules on my travel computer after copying. Also I am going to rename the rules that move messages so they are easier to find and disable in the rules list.
Since your setup is a bit more complex than usual, I'd try copying the folders back to the main Mac. Before copying them back, drag the main Mac's folders to the Desktop, so you don't replace the originals. That way, you can instantly revert if things go amok. And if it isn't obvious, Mail should not be running when the folders are copied.

I did this twice a week for years. I have a ton of rules that store mail On My Mac, and I didn't want to hassle with manually changing rules, et al. FYI, the rules are stored in the V4 folder.
 


Our techs at work decided that now would be a good time to update our Exchange server to the latest release, and that seems to have broken the Mail application on Sierra. I keep getting the message "Unable to verify account name or password".
I meant to update the status on this earlier. I came to work the following day and tried all the same things I'd tried the day before. I then finally went to Mail > Preferences > Accounts > Server Settings and changed my username from first.last to first.last@domain.net and all my mail started downloading. I had tried that the day before several times but this time it worked. Techs say they didn't make any changes after I reported the problem so I'm not sure why this time was different.
 


There was a note here on server corruption causing loss of IMAP mail with the admonishment to back up.

To back up IMAP, use Horcrux... (software). If you just back up your local mail folder you may lose it the next time you synchronize with the server!
 


You can move On My Mac mail between Macs without messing around with the file system, by exporting the messages from one computer and then importing them on the other. The import creates a separate "imported" mailbox, from which you can then move the messages to where you want them to go.

You can export entire mailboxes (folders) by right-click Export Mailbox. Export individual mail messages by dragging them from Mail to the Finder.
 


Yes, with caveats. Apple is sandboxing its apps by placing their data in
~/Library/Containers
The problem in Sierra is that the old
~/Library/Mail
folder is still in use, so Mail's sandboxing isn't complete.

In Sierra both folders must be copied
~/Library/Mail/V4
and
~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail
Will this also work with High Sierra? Mojave may be too new to answer the same question about. I am thinking ahead to when Apple stops supporting Sierra and also to avoid restarting this discussion at that time.
 



You can move On My Mac mail between Macs without messing around with the file system, by exporting the messages from one computer and then importing them on the other. ...
I had major issues doing this in some version of Mail.app after Snow Leopard. The problem may have been a large number of messages. Can you verify that this works correctly in the current Mail.app?
 


I have a different Mail problem. This evening my wife started to write an email, and Mail gave her the SPOD and said it was downloading 600+ messages. The ones she saw were old messages. Mail also sent an old message to our son. The download choked with 462 messages to go, and Mail quit.

Any reopening of Mail just gets the SPOD and another quit. The error report is several pages, but what appears to be the message is :

'NSInvalidArgument Exception', reason `-[ __ NSCFString
replaceCharactersInRange: with String:]:
nil argument
abort() called
terminating with uncaught exception of type NSException.
I've tried a restart, and I tried to go back to this afternoon in Time Machine, but I haven't been able to get Mail out of this loop. Admittedly I have no experience restoring from Time Machine -- I've been backing up for years but never tried a restore. Mail's preferences are inaccessible due to the SPOD, and I didn't get anywhere nosing around in the Library. As you can tell, I am not a sophisticated user.

Mail is version 9.3 running under El Cap on a 2009 iMac. My wife and I have separate user accounts on this machine. There's no problem with Mail in my user account. Any suggestions on how to deal with this rogue Mail operation are greatly appreciated.
 


I have a different Mail problem. This evening my wife started to write an email, and Mail gave her the SPOD and said it was downloading 600+ messages. The ones she saw were old messages. Mail also sent an old message to our son. The download choked with 462 messages to go, and Mail quit.
Any reopening of Mail just gets the SPOD and another quit.
The question is whether the problem is
a) a poison message that it can't display,
b) problems trying to sync with the mail server, or
c) corrupted local data so it can't display messages in the folder (rather than a particular poison message).

You may be able to get Mail to launch by holding the Shift key down when you start it. If it is a poison message, there are techniques for deleting it without displaying it.

But what'd I try first is forcing a rebuild of the envelope index.
  1. Close Mail.
  2. Go to ~/Library/Mail
  3. Open the highest numbered Vn folder, e.g. V2, V5.
  4. Open MailData within that folder.
  5. Move all of the Envelope Index files somewhere else.
  6. Start Mail.
 


I had major issues doing this in some version of Mail.app after Snow Leopard. The problem may have been a large number of messages. Can you verify that this works correctly in the current Mail.app?
I can confirm this works correctly in macOS 10.12.6 Sierra's Mail.app, but I keep my emails within the app trimmed down to less than 100 or so at any one time. I've used this method at least four times per year for the last five years between my 2013 Mac Pro and 2014 MacBook Pro.
 


I have a different Mail problem. This evening my wife started to write an email, and Mail gave her the SPOD and said it was downloading 600+ messages. The ones she saw were old messages. Mail also sent an old message to our son. The download choked with 462 messages to go, and Mail quit.

Any reopening of Mail just gets the SPOD and another quit. The error report is several pages, but what appears to be the message is :

'NSInvalidArgument Exception', reason `-[ __ NSCFString
replaceCharactersInRange: with String:]:
nil argument
abort() called
terminating with uncaught exception of type NSException.
I've tried a restart, and I tried to go back to this afternoon in Time Machine, but I haven't been able to get Mail out of this loop. Admittedly I have no experience restoring from Time Machine -- I've been backing up for years but never tried a restore. Mail's preferences are inaccessible due to the SPOD, and I didn't get anywhere nosing around in the Library. As you can tell, I am not a sophisticated user.

Mail is version 9.3 running under El Cap on a 2009 iMac. My wife and I have separate user accounts on this machine. There's no problem with Mail in my user account. Any suggestions on how to deal with this rogue Mail operation are greatly appreciated.
Try Mailbox > Rebuild from the menu bar when the account is selected. If the SPOD starts as soon as you launch Mail, try disconnecting the Mac from the internet before launching. If this doesn't work (and you use IMAP), you may have to delete the account from Mail and sign in again.
 


I have a different Mail problem. This evening my wife started to write an email, and Mail gave her the SPOD and said it was downloading 600+ messages. The ones she saw were old messages. ...
FWIW: when I was testing Mail.app in Sierra for the post above I used my laptop's Mail.app that I haven't launched since 2016. It said there were over 5,700 messages in a user's account I had setup to diagnose an issue (I forgot to delete it...). Mail hung and SPODed for minutes and was mostly unusable. I finally got it to quit, went into System Preferences > Internet Accounts and managed to delete it. Mail.app worked OK after that.
 


In Eudora, In, Out, and Trash were all special folders where having too many messages could cause problems. For that reason I've kept my inbox trimmed in Mail; Out and Trash don't seem to matter much, but even so, if you have over 5,000 messages in one folder, that will be a problem for many servers (since one mailbox format is “one file per email,” and thousands of files tend to be an issue even today). Just a thought.

I used to use MailSteward for storage, but because it can only handle 10,000 100,000 mails reasonably and is updated every time I turn my head, I switched to EagleFiler. In either case, it's better to pay a bit and have a mail archiving program instead of keeping everything in Mail. There's always stuff (like email receipts saved for taxes) you need to keep, but it's best not to keep it all in Mail. That also makes it easier for your email provider. I know Mail has a built in archiver, but I don't have much confidence in it, nor does it really solve the problem especially well.
 


Try Mailbox > Rebuild from the menu bar when the account is selected. If the SPOD starts as soon as you launch Mail, try disconnecting the Mac from the internet before launching. If this doesn't work (and you use IMAP), you may have to delete the account from Mail and sign in again.
Thanks. It was disconnecting from the internet that worked. My wife has an old POP account she no longer uses that went rogue. Deactivating that in Mail preferences restored normal operation with the IMAP account she uses now.
 



I used to use MailSteward for storage, but because it can only handle 10,000 mails reasonably and is updated every time I turn my head, I switched to EagleFiler. In either case, it's better to pay a bit and have a mail archiving program instead of keeping everything in Mail. There's always stuff (like email receipts saved for taxes) you need to keep, but it's best not to keep it all in Mail. That also makes it easier for your email provider. I know Mail has a built in archiver, but I don't have much confidence in it, nor does it really solve the problem especially well.
I still use MailSteward. I considered switching to EagleFiler. What stopped me is that EagleFiler seems to be more difficult to get to do an incremental backup of new mail messages, whereas in MailSteward, incremental backups are easy.

Have you found this difficult when you switched to EagleFiler?
 


For that reason I've kept my inbox trimmed in Mail; Out and Trash don't seem to matter much, but even so, if you have over 5,000 messages in one folder, that will be a problem for many servers (since one mailbox format is “one file per email,” and thousands of files tend to be an issue even today).
I subscribe to the 'inbox zero' philosophy, and have numerous folders set up in Apple Mail (macOS 10.13.6) that are stored "On My Mac." Incoming mail gets triaged daily, either immediately deleted, filed or left in my in box for a reply (at which point both the email and my response get filed). I rarely have over a dozen emails in my inbox (and thus on my ISP's server). Sent mail gets filed immediately, and trash gets emptied daily or so.

Been running this way for well over a decade through numerous OS updates (major and minor), and have never had an issue with Mail.

Of course, now that I say that...
 


I upgraded from DEVONThink Pro to DEVONThink Pro Office in order to gain the email archiving ability. It uses a Mail plug-in and seems to work really well.
 


I still use MailSteward. I considered switching to EagleFiler. What stopped me is that EagleFiler seems to be more difficult to get to do an incremental backup of new mail messages, whereas in MailSteward, incremental backups are easy. Have you found this difficult when you switched to EagleFiler?
Well, since I delete messages after I “EagleFile” them, it's not really an issue. Run EagleFiler, run Mail, select messages to be archived, press the F1 key, wait, delete messages, empty them from the trash. (Usually my method is to do a quick run through the trash bin first, to get rid of 80% of the absolute never-to-be-filed garbage, and then I archive the trash; then empty trash; then run through Sent, then archive Sent, then trash Sent and empty trash; then any special folders that might need archiving, e.g. entered tax receipts from two years back.)

It's no harder to use EagleFiler. They both take a long time to start when you have an absurd amount of files. I find EagleFiler a little easier to work with, especially since they only seem to update it now-and-then rather than MailSteward which seemed to need updates every time it was launched. Searches are very fast in both. The interfaces are a little different, and that took some getting used to.

I could never get MailSteward Pro set up properly after buying it, and gave up on it. It is easier to handle multiple archive files in EagleFiler, and they load a little faster. It indexes in the background. If you archive very frequently, you'll probably have to merge mailboxes on a regular basis; it stores mail in folders. I think the attachments are stored separately, outside the database, but I'm not entirely sure now... (you can find out as easily as I can).
 


I used to use MailSteward for storage, but because it can only handle 10,000 mails reasonably ...
Well... the free version may be limited, but the middle version can handle 50,000 using SQLite, and the MailSteward Pro version (MSP), which uses mySQL, can handle millions. I'm using MSP, and have virtually every (non-spam) email I've ever received since 1998. I have it filter out what I've marked as spam, and automatically add new emails twice a day. Right now there are almost 90,000 emails and attachments in the database.

Further, I don't use Apple's Mail - I use Mailmate, and was able to configure MSP to work with it instead. Since MSP uses a standard database, I can also access it with any mySQL software. (I use Navicat.)

MSP has been a part of my email system for well over a decade, I believe, and it has worked flawlessly, and without any daily effort at all, since it's running automatically. I rely on it, and am a completely satisfied customer.
 


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