OpenWindows User's Guide

Mail Tool Troubleshooting

If you run multiple versions of mail programs, Mail Tool may become confused about the state of your In-Box. If Mail Tool takes a long time to open the In-Box, it's possible that a Mail Tool lock file needs to be removed. If there is not enough disk space for the Save Changes operation, you will need to remove messages from the current mail file. This section describes how to recognize and correct these problems. In addition, it describes where you can find your Mail Tool In-Box and where you can find mail messages you were composing that were cleared or lost during a Mail Tool or window system crash.

Running Multiple Versions of Mail

If you run multiple versions of Mail Tool at the same time (or the Mail Tool application and the Mail program), you may receive notices from your Mail Tool application advising you to Save Changes or Quit one of the Mail Tool applications. This is because both versions try to modify your In-Box. Follow the instructions of the notices to avoid creating confusion about the state of your In-Box.

If you did not choose Done or Save Changes in the Mail Tool application before running another Mail Tool application or the Mail program, a notice instructs you to quit your Mail Tool application. If you did save your changes, you will be given a choice to either quit the Mail Tool application or Save Changes to keep it in its original state.

You can avoid having to quit your Mail Tool application by getting into the habit of choosing Done from the File menu at the end of each day, or when it is likely that you will be logging into your machine and reading mail from a remote location.

If you forget to choose Done, and you remotely log into your machine to read mail, you can tell Mail Tool to choose Done by following these steps:

  1. From a Shell Tool prompt type ps -e | grep mailtool and press Return.

    The listing should look like the one shown in Figure A-2.

    Figure A-2 An example of a ps listing for mailtool


  2. Look in the left-hand column of the listing for mailtool (not the listing for grep mailtool) to find the process number (PID).

    The process number is the first number on each line.

  3. Type kill -USR1 PID and press Return.

    In the example above, the process number is 1431, so you would type: kill -USR1 1431

  4. Read your mail as you usually do from the remote location.

    The next time you open your Mail Tool, the changes you make to your In-Box from the remote location are incorporated and recorded as part of the Mail Tool.

    Caution - Caution -

    The steps above only work with the DeskSet Mail Tool application. Using these steps for other versions of Mail Tool kills Mail Tool.

Mail Tool Lock File

The Mail utility uses a lock file to prevent two or more processes from altering your mail spool file at the same time. If Mail Tool quits unexpectedly, the lock file may be left behind.

If Mail Tool takes a long time to open the In-Box, either when you specifically request it or when you open Mail Tool after you have chosen Done from the File menu, check for a lock file. Look in the directory /var/mail for a file named username.lock, where username is your login name.

To remove the file, from a system prompt type:

rm /var/mail/username.lock.

For example, if your username is "mary", you would type:

rm /var/mail/mary.lock

Alternatively, you can find the lock file in the File Manager, and drag it to the Wastebasket to delete it.

Mail Tool In-Box Location

The default location for the Mail Tool In-Box is /var/mail/username. If the environment variable $MAIL exists, Mail Tool uses its value as the In-Box location.

Recovering Messages Being Composed

If you are in the middle of composing a mail message when your Mail Tool application or your window system crashes, you can recover a copy of the message from the file dead.letter in your home directory minus the last 80 edits, that is the application keeps track of the number of edits and files saves every 80 edits. So the most edits lost would be the last 80.

Your message is also saved in the file dead.letter whenever you click SELECT on the Clear button in the Compose window or choose Clear message from the Compose window's Deliver menu.

See the man page for mail for information about dead.letter and the save variable.

"Save Changes" Runs Out of Disk Space

If you try to save changes, by selecting Save Changes or Done from the File menu, or by switching mail folders, and Mail Tool warns that it has run out of disk space, you must remove messages from the current mail file to make it small enough to save.

You can remove messages by deleting or moving them. Removing larger messages helps the most. You can find the largest messages by choosing Size from the Sort By submenu of the View menu.

Files Too Large for the Mail Tool Attachment Window

Mail Tool may run out of swap space if you drag-and-drop a file that is too large into MailTool Attachment window. You can remedy this by increasing your swap space.