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Bothell, WA

Dial-up mail sending problem w/ OSX 10.4

Folks, if anybody has some suggestions on how to troubleshoot a problem for a friend I would really appreciate it.

Significant difficulties: I am not familiar with Macs, so please be as literal as you can; my friend is almost blind, almost deaf, and uses dial-up so we have no way to do VPN. Getting cable or DSL would take several weeks at the very least.

Background: System he says is "Intel Mac", it's running OSX 10.4, approx 6 yrs old. No router or network involved, just dial-up to his ISP.

His e-mail header says "Apple Mail" which (I think?) is the standard Mac mail app.

About a month ago his ISP had a 2-day outage but our friend did not realize this so he tried over and over to login, confirm his p/w, etc., nothing worked. When the ISP resolved their issue, our friend could no longer send mail, he could only receive.

Despite our efforts to confirm instructions from the ISP, nothing has been resolved. The ISP has been very accommodating in trying to help us solve the problem, but their Mac guru is out of ideas. There is nothing wrong with his account, I can log in to the webmail version of his account just fine.

I've found a page that describes some possible SMTP issues and Apple Mail Preference file corruptions with Apple Mail:


Question 1: If my friend's problem is a corrupted Preference file, and I talk him through what file to delete, would he lose any other mail-related settings or preferences?

My experience with a preferences file is with Eudora or Outlook and with both there are a lot of subtleties that would be difficult to help him restore later, so I'm just wanting to know what to anticipate here.

Question 2: Would it be possible to temporarily rename his existing preference file, then presumably Apple Mail would create a new one and it would ask for the bare necessities to get the connection going? If so, would that cause difficulties like he couldn't see the existing mail or something like that? (I confess I'm scarred by duelling with Outlook on profiles)

Question 3: (faint hope) is the preference file readable, e.g. as a Eudora one is? I'm thinking that if he could get a new preference file and get operational then maybe he could e-mail me his old preference file so I might be able to read enough to figure out what was wrong, or at least tell him what things he might have to set up again in his new preferences.

Thank you for reading this plea for help.


Sacramento, CA
deleting the preference file would delete a lot of other information as well including his incoming server settings.

I would suggest deleting just the smtp server and add it back. This can be done in the SMTP server list. Just select the server in the box at the top and then click the (-) button. To add it back click the (+) and update the info accordingly.