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  1. #1

    GirlCalledPete's Avatar
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    Setting the save location for Mail
    Hi

    I'm just getting to setting up Mail on my Mac - and I'm wondering how you set the folder location where the actual mail data is saved on disk. I only have a small boot SSD in my machine and I have a lot of mail - so I want to set the Mail application up to use an alternative HDD to store all that stuff so it doesn't clog up my SSD.

    I tried setting the download folder, but this doesn't seem to be the right thing to set. (I figure that this is just for downloading attachments or something?)

    Any pointers on how to find the right setting would be useful


  2. #2

    mrplow's Avatar
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    The only way I can think of is to move the folder and leave an Alias (of the same name, pointing to the new folder) in it's place.

    Perhaps others will have a more elegant solution
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Mail -- even a lot of it -- doesn't tend to take up very much space unless people are mailing you videos a lot. I wouldn't worry about it.

    My mail folder (ie the folder in my user library where ALL my mail is stored) takes up 9GB after five years (and I get a lot of attachments of various types).

    If I were more religious about archiving older mail to another disk (easily done), I could easily eliminate all but a GB or so of that.

  4. #4

    GirlCalledPete's Avatar
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    @mrplow

    I guess elegant isn't that important - so long as it works ok Do you know how to find out where the mail is actually being stored (I'm new to the Mac and the file system is a bit of a mystery to me at the moment - I can't seem to find a Mail folder anywhere...)


    @chas_m

    My mail on my Windows machine is about 8Gb - so I'm guessing when it downloads to the Mac it'll be about the same... which in modern terms isn't really all that much - but I've only got about 20Gb space on my boot drive - so it works out as a significant proportion of my elbow room (Do you need to keep about 10Gb free for the OS to use as virtual memory/swap space or whatever with Mac? I know Windows starts getting a bit huffy if you're running close to full up)

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    The reason you can't find the Mail folder is because in Lion, the User Library is hidden by default (this is a change from previous versions and somewhat controversial -- on the one hand, it stops a LOT of monkeying around that would cause users to inadvertently destroy their own data, but on the downside in a situation like this it's inconvenient for you to locate it).

    My suggestion would be to let Mail bring in your 8GB worth of email, and then use Mail's own "Archive" feature to archive the older mail to an external drive. You could also consider NOT moving the old mail to Mac Mail at all and instead storing it in a GMail account or some such (ie on a server not on your machine).

    As for your observation about "elbow room" you're exactly right and very perceptive. You do want to keep a lot of free space (I'd say more like 20GB than 10GB) available for best operation. You may want to consider keep your media libraries (which tend to be the largest things on people's computers) off on external drives rather than Mail, as you'll save a lot more space.

  6. #6

    mrplow's Avatar
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    GirlCalledPete
    Chas_m has raised some very good points and using online strage such as gmail for your mail rather than local storage is definately worth considering. As is archiving.
    However, if you must.... here's a way to access the Library folder (which is where you'll find the mail folder)
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  7. #7

    GirlCalledPete's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help guys - I figure I might just leave the downloaded mail on the Windows partition and then use the webmail option - this will probably save a lot of messing about, which is probably good because I don't know enough about Lion to fix it when I break it!

    Good to know where those pesky Library files live - I like to know what's going on under the hood and the fact that I couldn't find those files was bothering me!

    Thanks for your help - I'll no doubt be back with another daft question sometime soon

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