Thunderbird notes

Notes about the Thunderbird email client.


Change to body text default

I updated thunderbird (to 45.2.0) and every time I wrote an email it would put two lines when I hit return, rather than a single line like it used to. In other words, the style had changed to ‘Paragraph’, which causes double spaced lines.

To change the default back to ‘Body Text’, go to Preferences -> Composition and deselect ‘When using paragraph format, the enter key creates a new paragraph’.

Keeping folder stucture in archive

In order to keep the folder structure when archiving a message (rather than the default which simply moved the message into the relevant year folder in Archives)…

  1. Open the advanced config editor via Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced tab -> Config Editor button.
  2. Change mail.server.default.archive_keep_folder_structure to true.

Now, when archiving a message from 2011 that’s in Inbox -> Test, the archive will have the following structure: Archives -> 2011 -> Inbox -> Test.

404 caching

If Thunderbird is caching 404 pages, i.e. keeps failing to connect to a server despite being able to ping it, you could try disabling IPv6.

  1. Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced section -> General tab -> Config Editor button.
  2. Double-click network.dns.disableIPv6 to set it to true.

Thunderbird email encryption with Avast Antivirus

Howto: Setup Thunderbird with Avast Antivirus

Remote images

By default Thunderbird 8 blocks remote images. You can show these images for a particular email by clicking the ‘show remote content’ button, but beware that there’s no easy way to undo this (you have to reset the mail summary file - see the ‘Hide remote content’ section below).

To show remote images in all emails from a particular sender simply add them to your address book, selecting ‘Allow remote content’.

You can show remote images by default - in all emails - by setting mailnews.message_display.disable_remote_image to true via the config editor (at Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Config Editor).


Hide remote content

If you accidentally click the ‘show remote content’ button in an email then Thunderbird 8 will always show remote content for that message - there’s no ‘hide remote content’ button nor any easy way to undo it. There is however a workaround, where you delete the mail summary file associated with the message and let Thunderbird recreate it.

From Bug 626988 - In some messages, it is not possible to revoke remote image permissions.:

… what you can do for an interim resolution for specific messages is to go into your Mail folder in your TB profile and rename or delete the *.msf file that resides in the folder where your message is stored in the GUI. This will affect all messages in the folder, and not only will they all lose their previous associations with downloaded remote content (if any), but the folder itself will revert to the default views (sort order, threaded or not, etc.) You can search the net for detailed instructions on how to locate your TB profile, Mail folder, and .msf file.

Syncing Google Contacts

I use the Google Contacts addon to sync Google Contacts with the Thunderbird Address Book.

To install: 1. Back up each of your existing contacts ‘folders’ in turn, via Address Book -> Tools -> Export. 2. Install the Google Contacts addon via Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons. If you have any Google accounts configured in Thunderbird the addon will automatically add contacts from these accounts, using the account name as the Address Book ‘folder’ (I’m pretty sure about this, just not 100%).


While the addon successfully loaded my contacts into the address book for my Google account, it showed all contacts listed under the top level ‘folder’. The My Contacts group, which I believe is meant to be the top level group used by Google, only contained my contacts that were also marked as friends in Google+.

Adding attachment content type

If you’d like to have Thunderbird handle a new type of content (listed at Preferences -> Attachments -> Incoming) then you’ll have to edit the mimeTypes.rdf file.

An example of how to do this on Linux, to add the http and https content type actions, is given in Make Thunderbird open links in your browser. The RDF is probably the same on Windows, but I don’t know where to find the mimeTypes.rdf file.

Blank search results

If the contents of any search results are blank then you’ll need to rebuild the search index.

  1. Delete global-messages-db.sqlite from your profile directory.
  2. Restart Thunderbird and wait for it to reindex the search.

To determine when the reindex has finished, keep an eye on the file size. On my computer it took ~15 minutes, with the file increasing in size every ~6 seconds (I have 10 accounts with emails over 5 years).

Junk mail threshold

If your junk filtering doesn’t work very well, you can try adjusting the threshold at which it marks messages as junk.

  1. Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced section -> General tab -> Config Editor button.
  2. Double-click mail.adaptivefilters.junk_threshold to change the threshold.

By default this is set to 90. Decrease the threshold if you’re getting too few junk messages marked as junk and increase it if you’re getting too many legitimate messages marked as junk.

Reference: Junk Mail Controls - Tweaking

Last modified: 30/08/2016 Tags: ,

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