On Opera and E-Mail Consternation

When it comes to the Internet, there’s only one browser for me.

Opera.

Yes, there are other, more popular options. Firefox. Chrome. Safari. Even Internet Explorer. But it’s Opera that I like. It works for me. It’s fast and it’s slick and it’s a power user’s browser.

For the longest time, I was using Opera purely as a browser. A year ago, I started using Opera for all of my e-mail needs. I wanted to see what it could do for me, and as it turned out, it could do a lot.

Until yesterday.

The way Opera’s e-mail system works, as I understand it, it doesn’t actually sort or file anything. Everything — received e-mail, sent e-mail, drafts — are all stored together, and what makes it work, what gives you access to the e-mail, is the indexing system. It’s the view you want that determines what you see. If I want to see all the e-mail dealing with a certain person, I can do that — and I see both things I have received and things I have sent. If I want to see all the e-mail from a mailing list, Opera builds a view for that.

Opera’s mail client, M2, has over the past year completely altered the way I interact with e-mail, to the point where I can’t stand being forced to use Outlook at work because Outlook makes me do the work, instead of doing the work for me the way Opera does. :)

What happened yesterday (and for which I have two theories, both of which fit the facts) is this. The index to my e-mail became corrupted. Suddenly, Opera would only register e-mail I had received about nine months ago from a two week period. My sent e-mail? Apparently gone. Drafts? Gone.

I took a deep breath. I turned to Google and started searching.

There were, I thought, two possibilities. One, I had installed the newest release candidate for Opera 10.52. That could have corrupted the e-mail database. Two, I had received an e-mail from an editor and I decided to create a Follow Contact. Either would have altered the database.

I quickly came to the idea that I needed to rebuild the e-mail database indices. But how to do that?

I’m not sure now where I found this idea. But there was a certain simplicity to it.

1) Move the e-mail folder to the desktop. Restart Opera, and it will find no e-mail information, and it will build a clean database.
2) Import the e-mail, now in a folder on the desktop, into a new e-mail account within Opera.

I had roughly six thousand messages, between sent and received e-mails. It took about forty minutes to import them back into Opera. And when I was done, I had a clean e-mail database.

Or so I thought.

I tried to rebuild filters and Followed Contacts. But trying to do so didn’t work especially well. Filters worked fine, but following contacts didn’t work out well; I’d mark a person as a followed contact, but I would find someone else’s e-mail in that virtual folder. I’m not really sure why, but I suspect it’s because of my e-mail contacts; it’s possible that information between the address book and the newly imported e-mail didn’t match. Puzzling it through, I came up with a brand-new approach.

1) Export my received e-mail to an .mbx file.
2) Export my e-mail contacts to a raw data file.
3) Delete all received e-mail.
4) Shut down Opera.
5) Delete the contacts.adr file from Opera’s working directory.
6) Launch Opera.
7) Using my sent e-mail, create new contact entries in my Opera address box. If necessary, then mark a contact as a Followed Contact.
8) Import the mbx file into the e-mail database.
9) Import the contacts export file to plug gaps.

This took a little bit of time, but the end result worked perfectly.

All e-mails are accounted for and where they should be. And my consternation passed. :)

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