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Commands Reference, Volume 4

packf Command


Compresses the contents of a folder into a file.


packf [ +Folder ] [ Messages ] [ -file File ]


The packf command compresses the messages in a folder into a specified file. By default, the packf command compresses messages from the current folder and places them in the msgbox file. If the file does not exist, the system prompts you for permission to create it. Each message in the file is separated with four Ctrl-A characters and a new-line character.

Note: You can use the inc command to unpack compressed messages.


-file File Specifies the file in which to put compressed messages. The default is the ./msgbox file. If the file exists, the packf command appends the messages to the end of the file. Otherwise, the system prompts you for permission to create the file.
+Folder Identifies the folder containing the messages you want to pack.
-help Lists the command syntax, available switches (toggles), and version information.

Note: For Message Handler (MH), the name of this flag must be fully spelled out.
Messages Specifies what messages to pack. The Messages parameter can specify several messages, a range of messages, or a single message. If several messages are specified, the first message packed becomes the current message. Use the following references to specify messages:
Number of the message. When specifying several messages, separate each number with a comma. When specifying a range, separate the first and last numbers in the range with a hyphen.
A group of messages specified by the user. Recognized values include:
All the messages in the folder. This is the default.
cur or . (period)
Current message.
First message in a folder.
Last message in a folder.
Message immediately after the current message.
Message immediately before the current message.

Profile Entries

The following entries are entered in the UserMhDirectory/.mh_profile file:

Current-Folder: Sets your default current folder.
Msg-Protect: Sets the protection level for your new message files.
Path: Specifies the user's MH directory.


  1. To pack all the messages in the current folder and place the resulting text in the schedule file, enter:
    packf -file schedule
    The system responds with a message similar to the following:

    Create file "/home/mary/schedule"?

    Enter y to create the file.

  2. To pack the range of messages from 3 to 7 from the test folder into an existing msgbox file, enter:
    packf +test 3-7
    The system responds with the shell prompt when the command is complete.
  3. To pack the current, first, and last message in the inbox folder into an existing msgbox file, enter:

    packf cur first last


$HOME/.mh_profile Specifies the MH user profile.
/usr/bin/packf Contains the packf command.

Related Information

The inc command.

The .mh_alias file format, .mh_profile file format.

Mail Overview in AIX 5L Version 5.2 System User's Guide: Communications and Networks.

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