While Checking For Messages, Mail Skips One Account Randomly

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Hi Folks!
Our computers must have breathed some bad air in February. All kinds of unrelated problems arose. (And now March is copying February's behavior.)

On one of our MacBook Pro units Mail has developed a new quirk. It is the computer that's Mid-2007 Model 3,1 with 2.,2 Ghz and running OS X 10.6.8. I'm using Mail.app.

This new Mail problem is hard for me to explain concisely, but I'll try

The Problem
For the last 2 or 3 weeks, when checking for Mail, one of the 8 accounts will be skipped and the little spinning asterisk keeps spinning. It is usually only one account that spins, but once or twice two had the spinner. The spinner will go for a while, then the off-line icon will appear (triangle in a circle). Clicking the off-line triangle icon to send the account back on line & rechecking for messages does not let that account retrieve messages. It will spin until the triangle reappears.

Never do all accounts work at the same time. At least one spins & spins until it gives up.

The Odd Part-
If Mail is closed & re-opened, the asterisk will move randomly to another account & spin until it gives up and goes off line.
The original problem account will now get its messages like normal. It never picks on the same account twice in a row.
The application is very non-discriminatory about who it chooses to skip.

Some More Details
Our Mail box account providers are: Three are from our ISP (woway.com), Three are from AT&T Yahoo (sbcglobal.com) and Two are from G-Mail (gmail.com). All but G-Mail are POP. G-Mail is IMAP.

Mail bullies each of the accounts randomly.
I looked at each account's settings in Mail-Preferences-Accouts. All the wowway match each other/ Both of the AT&T match each other. Both the G-Mail match each other. Where applicable, each mail account's settings also match the other user profile's setting or our other computer's settings. (Some accounts are also used on either the other profile or on our other MacBook Pro- Neither of which have this goofy problem.)

I asked our ISP about the not checking mail problem and was told all is OK with our accounts. If I go directly to the ISP in a browser, the mail comes in fine on the browser. (Those would be the wowway accounts only.) I asked AT&T for a fix. They said to ask Yahoo. Yahoo said to ask AT&T. Etc, Etc. The AT&T mail works fine on a browser if I log into Yahoo Mail. G-Mail works very well if I go to G-Mail in a browser.

If I use my wife's computer, which also checks some of the same accounts, it works fine. If I log into my other user account on this MacBook Pro, it works fine. (Only 2 Mail accounts are on that profile.) So, I am guessing one of my files that tells Mail what to do it goofed up in one user account only.

I can't think of any other detective work to do about this mail skipping problem.

And, A Curiosity...
Quirk #2 is that the message near the progress bar at the bottom will say "57 of 68 messages" or something similar- usually in the high 50's or low 60's. This happens if even only one new message needs to be retrieved. (or 10 or 30) I can only guess it has something to do with the IMAP g-mail account. This has happened for months & I have ignored it. It does not seem to be a problem, just an item-of-interest.

What's A Good Approach?
I know Mail is fragile about messing with indexes and stuff like that, so I only tried repairing disk permissions with Disk Utility and Onyx. I am scared to mess with anything else without asking for advice from you all first.

I wonder if there are any preference files or other items I am safe to delete in order to maybe kick start Mail back into cooperating?

Or, perhaps is a different attack all together in order?

Thanks For Your Help! I appreciate the sharing of advice and knowledge.
Paul
 
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I guess for a start, you could use the Rebuild mailbox, but I doubt that would help.

And what about using Connection Doctor to maybe show what's going on.

I'd try temporarily disabling some of your accounts that are all scrambling for their own connection, and it just may be some sort of timeout connection issue.

When was the last time you shutdown the Mac and then booted up?
 
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Hello pm-r. Thank You for taking time to reply with good ideas.
I never knew Connection Doctor existed. Neat program!

When I ran Connection Doctor, for which ever account had the spinning asterisk at the time, it reported that it was unable to connect to the server. If I closed Mail & tried again, the doctor would report that which account was spinning that time was unable to connect. It would continue to follow which ever was not connecting at the time, reporting the last offender as OK.

Your idea of all the accounts trying to connect at once makes good sense.
Next, I tried disabling some accounts like you suggested. Even when I got to two remaining one would spin until it timed out. When I got to one, it worked fine each time.

Now you do have me thinking along the lines of ISP having something to do with this problem. Limited bandwidth perhaps?
But, if it is a bottleneck problem, when Mail is finished checking all the accounts, shouldn't the spinning one then catch up? My mail is downloaded before the offending account times out. I tried some internet speed tests which show my connection works full speed, (For whatever that's worth)

I repeated everything with a direct ethernet connection. (We usually use Airport wirelessly.) The guess was that wireless was running too slowly. I had no different results with ethernet connection.

My wife's computer also has a bunch of mail accounts- Nine total. Hers is not having this problem even when all 9 are active & checking for mail. We use the same ISP.

So, I'm again thinking it is something particular to this profile on this computer.
 
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I apologize. i forgot to answer your question of when I last shut down & restarted the Mac.

It's been about an hour. I shut down daily and sometimes more than once a day. This 2 Gb RAM computer will get quite slow if I don't shut down periodically.. (Swap memory clearing??)

Thanks Again,
Paul
 
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That seems pretty excessive having to do so many shutdowns, but having only 2GB memory doesn't help.

I have the same MB Pro model that I still occasionally use, and also with SL 10.6.8, so maybe try changing your connection method to wired from wireless and see if there's an improvement, as it sure sounds link server connection issues giving you the problem.

There might even be something new added in the home to provide some wireless interference.
 
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i think I have to do so many shut downs because there is a program called Office 365 Service that runs non-stop on my computer after I open an Office program & stays running. It makes hundreds of entries to my Daily.Out file per minute. (I've got another thread about that started here. It's pesky since I don't have 365 Office.) I can see, in Activity Monitor, page Ins & page outs get huge until after a restart. Until I can figure out how to fix that, I manually force quite the 365 program, via Activity Monitor, after using Office. (Note that Mail acts up when Office 365 Service is not running as well as when it is running.)

I tired using ethernet to see if there would be a change in Mail's behavior. Same symptoms. I even tried plugging directly into the cable router-modem gizmo.

I also thought that maybe my location in the house was a problem, so I used Airport with my wife's similar MacBook Pro right next to mine. Hers never has the problem that mine does. I even tried telling both computers to check mail at once. Hers was fine & mine had the problem.

You mentioned Link Server Connection. I tried to search to learn what that term means, but I got myself confused (easy to do for me). What is the Link Server Connection? Is it something I can check out?

Thanks Again for helping! I appreciate it very much.
Paul
 
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Don't worry too much about what I called "Link Server Connection", that was just my description for basically part of the poor, bad or goofy email server connections.

You'll probably keep getting the Page Outs and slowdowns with only 2GB RAM installed, you might want to treat yourself to a another 2GB or 4GB RAM modules depending on what you have installed. Maybe you've just got 2x 1GB modules. And I'm sure the MS stuff doesn't help your memory use.

You can use a total of 6GB RAM with that Mac:
MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.2 15" (SR) Specs (Mid/Late 2007, 2.4/2.2GHz*, MA895LL, MacBookPro3,1, A1226, 2136) @ EveryMac.com
 
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Thank You pm-r for the explanation about Link Server Connection.

I believe you are right about memory needing a booster shot. This is one more incentive for me to add some. I have two 1gb modules. As I understand what I read at OWC, there are many options available, such as add a 4 for a total of 5, or add two at 2 for a total of 4. Or two 3's for six.

One thing that causes me to think the Mail problem is a local corrupted file or permission or similar, rather than memory problem or connection, is that my wife's MacBook Pro does not have the problem. She's got nine mailboxes all checking for messages at once.

Her computer is a bit different than mine, however. Mine has Core2Duo 2.2 & hers has 2.3. Mine is Mid-2007 and hers is Late-2006. We both have 2 Gb ram.

You mentioned using Rebuild Mailbox and I forgot to ask if that is safe to do or does it have the chance to mess up the index. I know so little about mail that I get nervous messing around with it. Each time I have had to add an account turns into a project getting the settings right. I guess, despite all of my studying, I can't grasp the information.

Thanks Again!
Paul
 

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