Folder permission errors in Evolution backup after reinstalling Ubuntu

Due to some technical problem, had to reinstall my ubuntu installation, and while doing so, also formatted my hard drive. Before making this move I had smartly copied all my files and folders, specifically backed up my tomboy notes, fonts etc. But after much precaution and all careful steps taken, when I actually got my machine back and started to use it, got to know that I just did a dumb thing! I didn’t create the backup from evolution for my emails. Now moving through all my files and detailed introspection I found an old Evolution backup archive (evolution-backup.tar.gz), but that too was nearly six months old.

Sadly I had to import this, because I regularly check two-three of my mail ids through evolution, and there were lots of mails and configurations to be done, so I started with this, but many mails were still missing, specifically those which I had recently downloaded to this computer and had no copy on server. After much thinking got an idea! I remembered I had copied my complete home folder, to my external hard drive, that means the “.evolution” in my home folder should be there, which contains the recently downloaded emails. So I copied that folder from my external hard disk to my new installation’s home folder overwriting the existing “.evolution” folder.

Now I was happy!!! 🙂 but only for few minutes, before stumping into these following errors.


When I clicked Send/Receive and tried to synchronize it. Got this “Error while Generating message list” & “a readonly database” my happiness disappeared.
After much googling got these posts via and After going through both of them, so I did as per the steps mentioned below:

Step1 – Installed sqlite3 by typing this in terminal

sudo aptitude install sqlite3

Step2 – Typed this in terminal and pressed enter.

cd ~/.evolution/mail ; for i in 'find . -name folders.db'; do echo "Rebuilding Table $i"; sqlite3 $i "pragma integrity_check;"; done

Step3 – Typed this in terminal and pressed enter.

killall evolution-alarm-notify evolution-data-server-2.28

(for step3 you can close/kill these services from the system monitor list as below too)
kill evolution

Step4 – Then deleted all the folders.db file in the imap folders one at a time by running the following in terminal

rm ./imap/

Step5 – Now restarted evolution. I was happy for the second time! 🙂 🙂


Suddenly the next day, just when I tried to move one email from my imap inbox to my local folder, I got this error message below:

Cannot create folder lock on /home/*/.evolution/mail/local/*: Permission denied (Where the *’s mean username and folder name respectively)


To provide the necessary permissions, I did

sudo chown -R user:group /home/user/.evolution

(here user is my username, I used sudo because without sudo it was not working in my case, but you can check it out otherwise)

Now again everything works! Hopefully I can be truly happy finally! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Share this post:

Priyanka Naskar Majumder - the Owner, Eyedea LAB. Graphic & Web Design Studio, lives in Kolkata, India. Interested in: Usability research, Graphic Design, Web Design & Development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Allowed HTML tags: <strong> <em> <pre> <code> <a href="" title="">