First time posting after the CNET acquisition of MacFixit. There used to be a sub-forum for posting fixes; I guess it's either gone or well hidden.
The query was also posted to an Apple website where responses were disrespectful to the user, and they never provided him with a solution.
1. Install, or already have installed, System Leopard 10.5.8 to a virgin drive or partition strictly Apple only, nothing 3rd party. You should have an emergency boot volume anyway. To get there, you probably start with a lower System Leopard version, then run the combo upgrader to bring it to 10.5.8. Note that Mail in the root applications folder is version 3.6.
1a. On your main boot volume - then one you plan to upgrade, remove mail from the doc. Mail and the doc don't get along with each other before and after an upgrade. Shame on the beta testers for not noticing.
2. From your mail work volume, get rid of everything to do with the "Growl" application, search out all the components and de-install, trash, whatever it takes - especially growlmail. Leave no traces of it.
Reboot, repair permissions, run Onyx, all that stuff.
3. An implied task, or it should be stipulated by Apple, is to always repair permissions before and after any upgrade. Boot to the emergency boot volume, and from there use Disk Utility to repair permissions on your System Leopard 10.5.6 volume, then run the combo upgrader, then repair permissions again when done.
4. This sucks, but you gotta deal with it. After upgrading your main work volume to System 10.5.8, take a look at mail (Get info) in the applications folder of your newly upgraded volume. It's gonna be volume 3.5 - the upgrader failed to upgrade mail. Therefore, run the 10.5.8 combo upgrader a second time - I told you this sucks! Go do something useful like Resident Evil 5, then come back when it's done. Make sure Mail now shows version 3.6. It takes 2 runs of the upgrader to bring mail up to 3.6. Beta testers were asleep at the wheel.
5. Boot to your main work (newly upgraded) volume, and open the applications folder, double click mail. Even though it's version 3.6, you'll get this error, "Mail unable to open after updating to OS X 10.5.8" How could the beta testers not notice - what's in their drinking water?
6. No, you're not gonna have to switch to Eudora or another mail application. Trash mail 3.6 from the applications folder, empty the trash. Now, finder-copy "mail 3.6 from your emergency boot volume to the applications folder of your mail work volume. Double click mail, Now it works. You might have to reboot after finder-copying it over, I don't recall.
If you failed to remove all traces of "Growl" prior to starting all this, then mail becomes crash city.
7. Now that you've got mail 3.6 working, download the newest version of Growl, and install it if you like and expect mail to continue to behave normally.
Any Apple employee anywhere reading this. This is the 2nd time I've figured out a fix to a serious problem involving mail.app. You might want to have a long discussion with your beta testers; this problem should have been fixed back when System 10.5.8 was pre-release. Anyone know how much Apple pays the beta testers?
Am I being too harsh with Apple employees and beta testers? Look. We're family. If you're not doing your job, I'll blast you, as long as we keep it in house. But, when it comes to defending the Mac from die-hard Pee Cee users, I'll fall on my sword!
Hope this posting helps out.
This one tip will help you sleep better tonight
A few seconds are all you need to get a better night's rest.