#1228 ✓closed

Error on renaming - mailbox has inferiors

Reported by Paul | August 7th, 2015 @ 03:18 AM

Looks like Mailman has a problem with renaming a mailbox which has sub-mailboxes. This was no disaster, but not very elegant.

MailMate encountered the following error: “Server response: “N4 NO The mailbox has inferiors.”. Command attempted: “N4 DELETE "Folders/Technical/-NetOps"”.”.
Mailbox: “Folders/Technical/-NetOps”.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • benny

    benny August 10th, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

    • State changed from “new” to “closed”

    IMAP doesn't really support renaming. What really happens is that a new mailbox is created with the new name, the messages are moved, and then the old mailbox is deleted. MailMate currently does not move any submailboxes.

    Now, it's not really an illegal IMAP command to try to delete a mailbox which has submailboxes, but apparently it is not allowed by this particular mailbox. IMAP is a bit strange in this regard. In order to have these mailboxes:

    Parent/Sub1 Parent/Sub2

    then the “Parent” mailbox does not have to exist.

    So the best MailMate can do is to allow you to cancel the mailbox deletion. I cannot recall how well or bad that works?

  • Paul

    Paul August 10th, 2015 @ 09:17 PM

    Mailmate does half of the job: It creates the new mailbox and copies all the messages into it, but then reports the error that I mentioned above. So the result is: It leaves the new mailbox with messages in it, and the old mailbox with the inferiors still in it.

    In one way this is better than nothing, because the user can do the rest. Just not very elegant!

    BUT - it would be a very bad outcome if Mailmate WAS able to delete the original mailbox with its inferiors, without having copied them over.

    Probably therefore best to fix this to the inferiors are copied (plus all below them of course) or to refuse to do the rename in the first place.



  • Jasper Knockaet

    Jasper Knockaet June 7th, 2016 @ 04:58 PM

    I'm hitting the same issue when I try to move a folder that has subfolders. However, Mailmate in this case only creates the parent folder in the new location (without copying any messages) before hitting the error.

  • Ayhan

    Ayhan December 15th, 2018 @ 07:06 AM

    Hi Benny,

    Do you think there is anything that could be done about this? -- perhaps by somehow managing to compensate for IMAP and/or server shortcomings?

    Just cross-checked with Outlook for Mac (latest version):

    I don't know what hoops and hacks Outlook has to do to work around those IMAP limitations, but it appears that it somehow manages to move such IMAP folders as expected and quite quickly, even those with several levels of hierarchy. (same IMAP account on my dovecot server).

    I have been using MailMate for quite a while now, and overall, I am quite happy with it.

    Sure, there are some glitches here and there, as well a few features still missing IMHO. But overall, for power users, it is probably the best email client out there nowadays; thanks to your excellent work.

    On the other hand, this one is such a basic workflow and it comes up so often... i.e. basically, whenever someone wishes to re-organize their IMAP folder structure/hierarchy... Over time, this is bound to happen to almost everyone.

    I do realize that flat/shallow structure is one possible way of organizing; and I could be convinced to settle on that if MailMate were the only IMAP client I were using (I wish)... If that were the case, pretty much everyhing could be done with Smart Mailboxes (which I am using quite heavily already).

    But in today's world, that's just not a realistic expectation. Like many people, sometimes I do need to check mail while I am on the go (either via webmail or mobile); and I don't have my MM SmartMailBoxes on those clients...


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Mac OS X email client.

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