Courier Imap “NO Unable to open this mailbox” error

I had some problems with a mail server today and had to reboot it. After booting it back up all the services started, but any attempts to access a mailbox via IMAP generated an error that said “Unable to open this mailbox”. Testing it through telnet looked like this:

[root@ny ~]# telnet localhost 143
>> Trying 127.0.0.1
>> Connected to mail.somedomain.com (127.0.0.1).
>> Escape character is '^]'.
>> * OK [CAPABILITY IMAP4rev1 UIDPLUS CHILDREN NAMESPACE THREAD=ORDEREDSUBJECT
>> THREAD=REFERENCES SORT QUOTA IDLE ACL ACL2=UNION STARTTLS] Courier-IMAP ready. Copyright
>> 1998-2004 Double Precision, Inc.  See COPYING for distribution information.
<< 01 LOGIN user@domain.com mypassword
>> 01 OK LOGIN Ok.
<< 02 LIST "" *
>> * LIST (HasNoChildren) "." "INBOX.Junk"
>> * LIST (HasNoChildren) "." "INBOX.Drafts"
>> * LIST (HasNoChildren) "." "INBOX.Trash"
>> * LIST (HasNoChildren) "." "INBOX.Sent"
>> * LIST (Marked HasChildren) "." "INBOX"
>> 02 OK LIST completed
<< 03 SELECT INBOX
>> 03 NO Unable to open this mailbox.

After digging into file permissions, restarting courier-imap, and anything else I could think of, I was getting puzzled. Then a fellow sysadmin noticed that time time on the box was way off:

mail:~# date
Wed Jan  7 04:09:17 MST 1925

I corrected that and it imap suddenly started working again. I wish that courier-imap would have given a little more descriptive error message, but glad that it was nothing difficult to fix.

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