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Ask Max: Email and Microsoft Office Issues

Asked on 10/14/2008:

I have a G5 Dual 1.8GHz with 3GB RAM and 250GB drive. A couple months ago, the computer crashed. I had to reformat the hard drive and re-install everything from backup or original disks.

Most stuff came back fine, but two of them didn't. Apple's mail program keeps giving me blank files now. I'll click on a file that opened great not two minutes before and the email will have nothing in it. I transferred to Thunderbird but can't get it to consistently connect. Now I'm back to Mail with a Thunderbird combo. Driving me crazy!!

The other software not working is Microsoft Office. I've re-installed it twice: the first over the top of the initial install and the second uninstalling and installing "in case". Neither of them stops all the Office programs from freezing at the opening screen.

I've repaired permissions, verified permissions, verified disk, repaired disk, ran Onyx and Cocktail. Nothing fixes it. What is "it" and how big a gun do I need to take care of it?


Boy, those both sound like messy problems. Your problems in Apple Mail sound like a classic "Envelope Index" issues. The solution for that is to close mail and delete the Envelope Index file in your /Users/[your-user-account]/Library/Mail/ folder. Then restart mail and it should re-index from your saved mail.

The Microsoft office issue could be more difficult to deal with. When you removed Office did you use the official "Remove Office" application? It is located here: /Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/Additional Tools/Remove Office/Remove and is the best way to remove an Office install. After you uninstall Office, make sure that you look through the /Users/[your-user-account]/Library/Preferences/ folder for left over Office settings that could also be corrupt. Then, once again, install office.

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