When I login to one of my stations I get this output saying I have mail. But then running the mail commands Says I don't have any email.

What can I do to repair this problem?

Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
You have mail.
Last login: Thu Nov 17 01:38:35 2016 from ***.***.***.***
psms1@psms:~$ mail
No mail for psms1
  • 1
    rm /var/spool/mail/psms1 ; logout and login to test. Nov 17 '16 at 9:21
  • 1
    Run that command and its looking good now. Thanks Nov 17 '16 at 10:35

Your mailbox is probably corrupted or some email client left there a residual byte/character. Another email client can even say it is empty.

As it is empty, the easier approach it to delete it with the command:

rm /var/spool/mail/psms1

As such, it will be recreated the next time you receive a message, and the mail command will be happy with it.


This is reported when the atime on your mail spool file(s) is the same as the mtime (i.e. the last access modified the file). It might be easier to think about the case where the access time is after the modification time - this implies you read your mail and the message is suppressed.

If you don't have new mail then something else most be changing the mtime on your spool file.

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