What to do when some IMAP folders cannot be opened

Recently one of the users of an IMAP server (Dovecot) had problems with accessing his inbox. Other folders worked fine, this one didn’t.

The following messages appeared in the logs:

mail-server imap(username): file imap-bodystructure.c: line 278 (part_parse_headers): assertion failed: (part->physical_pos >= input->v_offset - start_offset)
mail-server dovecot: child 16330 (imap) killed with signal 6

A quick way to sort out the problem is to get into the user’s mail folder and remove all .imap.index.* files. Dovecot (I don’t know how other IMAP servers behave) is able to regenerate those files upon next connection. Also, in my case removing the index files didn’t remove messages from the folder. It only removed the problem ;)

PS. Google returns one result when asked about the error quoted above: http://d.hatena.ne.jp/tera-p/20050428 – thanks, Google Translate! :D

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