Mail 2.0: Search results disappear after messages are moved

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Mail
July 28th, 2005 • 12:08 pm

One of the benefits of mail searches in Mail 2.0 is that you can easily gather up all the messages that match certain criteria and physically move them to a specific mail folder.

For example, this morning, I did a search on all my mailboxes for mail messages containing the string “NRTC“. This search returned three results, two of which were in the “Sent” mailbox of one of my accounts and one was already archived somewhere in a mailbox. I wanted to move all three messages to a specific new mailbox called “NRTC“.

So I selected the three search results and dragged them to the “NRTC” mailbox and dropped them. This effectively moved all three messages to that mailbox. But then the list of search results was empty! This doesn’t make any sense. The list of search results was still “active”, the search criterion was still to find all messages containing “NRTC” in all my mailboxes, so the three messages still matched this criterion, even after they had been moved.

In other words, Mail should have still displayed them in the list of search results, even after I had dragged and dropped them to a specific location.

The problem is that, for some reason, when messages in a list of search results are moved, Mail removes them from the list of search results, even if they still match the criteria of the search. And then the list of search results isn’t updated automatically to include them again, if they still match the criteria.

It gets even worse. If I do what I describe above, i.e. search for messages that contain “NRTC” and move them to a specific location, and then undo the move by using command-Z, the list of search results… remains empty. And even if I modify the “NRTC” string in Mail’s search field, by, say, deleting the “C” and then typing it again, Mail still fails to show the three matches. As long as this particular search remains “active”, i.e. as long as I don’t click on the little “x” button on the right-hand side of the search field to end the search, Mail fails to return the matching messages. It’s as if they didn’t exist any more.

I have to end the search altogether, and then start it again, in order to get Mail to find the matching messages again.

In fact, in the course of experimenting with this for the purpose of writing this post, I have managed to cause Mail to fail to find these three messages altogether, even after I end the search and start a new one. Right now, if I start a new search and type “NRTC“, Mail returns zero results. I have tried quitting and relaunching Mail. It still returns zeros results for this search, even though the three messages are very much there in the “NRTC” mailbox, and Mail didn’t have any problems find them a few minutes ago.

I suspect that my experimentation has effectively broken something in Spotlight’s index of my mail archive itself, and that I’ll have to rebuild it from scratch.

This is pretty bad. It seems to me that moving search results to a specific location is not an unusual, esoteric operation. And it certainly shouldn’t cause Mail’s search feature to break so easily.

2 Responses to “Mail 2.0: Search results disappear after messages are moved”

  1. LoonyPandora says:

    To be honest, searching for mail messages in Mail has never been reliable for me – many times I have searched for an email, got shown “no results” – and found it manually within 2 minutes.

    Something isn’t quite right methinks…

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    You might want to try rebuilding your Spotlight index files for Mail. I’ve seen this problem during my beta-testing and on other people’s machines with the Tiger GM.

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