Recently I did some shit within Gnus: I deleted a lot (thousands) of mails, trying to respool them in another group and rename it to the first group after having deleted it (i.e. to prepend an old mailing-list group to the new one that changed name)… but well I got a backup but quite old… and since it’s mailing-lists I hope to get back some mails asking to other people subscribed to send them to me…

Waiting for that, what interest me now are recent mails: and I just noticed that I still have a lot of Incoming<code> within my ~/mail, and I think that could make a backup: do someone know how to “re-receive them”? aka exctract from these digests the mails of theses groups and respool them into them? I tried to open groups like nnmbox:Incoming<code> but it doesn’t work (“No such group”).

So how to open/respool that? It should be easy it’s just a digest of a lot of MIME messages…

PS: I also tried to see what does functions like nnmail-split-incoming but couldn’t figure out how to use it.

  • I succeded that 1 times on 3. The two others I thing I did something wrong by disattention. But I know how to do it ;) The question would be more: how to extract only the mails of these groups ^^
    – galex-713
    Mar 29, 2016 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


The IncomingXXXXX-files are backups of incoming email (typically only enabled in development versions of Gnus). The variable mail-source-delete-incoming controls the behaviour.

You can open an mbox file using the command G f (gnus-group-make-doc-group) which prompts you for a file name. You can then copy the emails from the new group corresponding to the file to whatever group you want them in.

(Another way is to copy the IncomingXXXXX-files into /var/mail/YOURLOGIN, if you have configured Gnus to fetch email from there, but with G f you have more control over the process.)

  • Great (yeah I knew for mail-source-delete-incoming ;))! that advance me a lot (last time I read the Gnus manual was long time ago and I wasn’t going to read it entirely again to remember ^^") \o/ Now a little question: do you know if there’s a way to “extract” all mails of some defined groups from these files or should I ask another separate question elsewhere?
    – galex-713
    Mar 29, 2016 at 18:30
  • Ok I had to temporary modify nnmail-split-fancy
    – galex-713
    Mar 30, 2016 at 20:48
  • @galex-713 Sorry, I don't understand your question. Is respooling what you are thinking of (B r)?
    – asjo
    Apr 5, 2016 at 18:11

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