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  1. #1

    Email problem - inbox.lock file left by client

    I'm hoping that someone here might have some experience or suggestions for a problem I'm having.

    One of my clients is using the "Entourage" email client program on her MAC.
    All of a sudden, it has started crashing as soon as she tries to check her mailbox on her account hosted on a CPanel VPS server with Exim.

    When her Entourage email program crashes, it leave in place the "inbox.lock" file in her mailbox directory, so after her client email program crashes, the webmail no longer works either, because the presence of the "inbox.lock" file prevents the webmail client from accessing the inbox.

    I can fix the problem by deleting the inbox.lock file, and the webmail then works and she can access her mail that way.
    Unfortunately, I have to keep deleting the inbox.lock file every time her Entourage email program crashes and leaves the mailbox locked up.

    My question is whether there is not some built-in function in either Exim or Cpanel that should be able to remove the mailbox lock automatically if it is in place for an excessive period of time. It seems to me that this should be a part of the normal system operation, but I can't seem to find such a mailbox lock removal for situations where the client has left the lock file in place. If there is, does anyone know how to make it work?

    I could write a cron script that checks for the inbox.lock file and remove it if it is more than a few minutes old, but this seems like a kludge. Plus, such a script would need to run rather often to be effective.

    Does anyone here have any experience with this problem, or know of a built-in solution within CPanel or Exim for removing lock files left by the client email software?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    150
    As far as I know, those poplocks should be automatically cleared after a set period of time.

    What I would be looking at is why the customers mail client keeps crashing. It's possible that they are accessing a corrupt mailbox. I would back up the mailbox then re-create it and see if that helps. You could also have them re-configure their entourage profile.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    290
    Our office runs Entourage and standard Apple Mail and have never experienced this issue before.

    Does this issue occur on any other MAC clients of yours?
    Has your client tried setting up the account in Apple Mail as opposed to Entourage? If not, have her give this a shot and see if she recieves the same sort of error. If she doesn't, then the issue pertains specifically to Entourage itself.

    Something else you could try doing is creating another account for her and see if she encounters the same sort of errors. If so, the issue has either to do on your mail servers end or within Entourage itself.

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    I don't think the lock files get auto deleted by exim or cpanel.

    This happen rarely to my clients. It seems she got a crashing email client, so it will be better to replace the email client software with some thing working than going for a cron to delete lock file.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    290
    yea, i would have her try an alternate email client

  6. #6
    Thank you all for the suggestions.

    As it turns out, Exim will remove the lock after 1/2 hour, but only if there is an email in the mail queue for delivery to that locked mailbox.
    The webmail program she likes to use ( Horde ) is evidently not able to remove aged lock files by itself.

    My client will be getting some help with her MAC from someone soon, so hopefully they can figure out why her Entourage program crashes as it does and fix it. Her Entourage program crashes and leave the lock file in place on the server even when the mailbox on the server is empty, and it was not a corrupted mailbox file.
    Her MAC helpers may be able to set up an alternate email client program for her also, but she likes and is familiar with Entourage, and it was working fine for her up until a few days ago.

    My goal was to make the server able to recover from this sort of rogue residual lock-file problem regardles of the cause. Fortunately, Exim is smart enough to fix things so mail delivery recovers after a reasonable timeout. It appears that the cron job would only be necessary to get webmail working sooner if there is no email awaiting delivery for that account.
    So, things are not as bad as I initially thought.

    Again, thank you all for your help and suggestions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    150
    Quote Originally Posted by wstco
    Thank you all for the suggestions.

    As it turns out, Exim will remove the lock after 1/2 hour, but only if there is an email in the mail queue for delivery to that locked mailbox.
    The webmail program she likes to use ( Horde ) is evidently not able to remove aged lock files by itself.

    My client will be getting some help with her MAC from someone soon, so hopefully they can figure out why her Entourage program crashes as it does and fix it. Her Entourage program crashes and leave the lock file in place on the server even when the mailbox on the server is empty, and it was not a corrupted mailbox file.
    Her MAC helpers may be able to set up an alternate email client program for her also, but she likes and is familiar with Entourage, and it was working fine for her up until a few days ago.

    My goal was to make the server able to recover from this sort of rogue residual lock-file problem regardles of the cause. Fortunately, Exim is smart enough to fix things so mail delivery recovers after a reasonable timeout. It appears that the cron job would only be necessary to get webmail working sooner if there is no email awaiting delivery for that account.
    So, things are not as bad as I initially thought.

    Again, thank you all for your help and suggestions.

    yeah, it sounds like the cron is your best option

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