Evolution unable to generate folder list

After a system freeze, evolution ceased to be able to generate the folder list for my inbox. The statusbar said Error While Generating message list. Clicking on the message popped up this dialog:

Error dialog

According to this bug report the issue might be linked to evolutions use of SQLite.

In the same bug report it was suggested that the following command might solve the issue.

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

I didn’t have sqlite3 installed, so I ran sudo apt-get install sqlite3 first. For me this command located a handful of files called folders.db and sqlite3 did find errors in one of them: ~/.evolution/mail/local/folders.db.

To make sure that I had the right file I ran

sqlite3 ~/.evolution/mail/local/folders.db "pragma integrity_check;"

which again presented the errors. In the bug report someone explained that missing folder.db files would be regenerated, so I tried stopping all evolution-related processes (evolution-data-server and evolution-alarm-notify will linger after exitting the main program) and removed the file. I then started evolution and everything came up nicely.


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13 Responses to “Evolution unable to generate folder list”

  1. fredy kardian Says:

    thank you johansen, this blog has just save my life …
    two thumbs up …

  2. Dez Says:

    thanks so much

    you just saved me much hair pulling and stress!

  3. schorsch Says:


    that was my rescue!!


  4. aqain Says:

    Thanks Sooooo much..

  5. Dylan Webster Says:

    Worked Great! Thank you so much!

  6. diederik Says:

    i have exactly the same error, tried your solution, but SQlite didn’t come up with any errors, all folders are ‘ok’.
    anybody any idea what else I could try to get evolution to display my inbox back again?
    thanks a lot,

  7. Brett Says:

    The inbox problem has reoccurred, last time about 6 months ago, got so frustrated re-installed a new operating system, because it drove me mad trying to sort solved the problem until this morning. tried the solution and was hopeful but, I get the message

    sqlite3: Error: to many options: “-name”

    I am typing cd ~/.evolution/mail ; for i in `find . -name folders.db`; do echo “Rebuilding Table $i”; sqlite3 $i “pragma integrity_check;”; done

    I dont want to reload the operating system compete again


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

    followed by

  8. Chris Says:

    Saved my life, thankyou

  9. Darren Thompson Says:

    Thanks! You’re awesome

  10. Evolution does not display my e-mail messages Says:

    […] […]

  11. Folder permission errors in Evolution backup after reinstalling Ubuntu | Eyedea Lab Says:

    […] “a readonly database” my happiness disappeared. After much googling got these posts via aslakjohansen.wordpress.com and oesediez.blogspot.com. After going through both of them, so I did as per the steps mentioned […]

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    […] solutions found on the interschnitzel had no effect, however — a slightly modified version of this page worked a […]

  13. Jacob H.M. Bakker Says:

    Even in 2015 this procedure works very very well! Thanks a lot! (I just adapted the file locations)

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