Thunderbird is loved by many. There are lots of reasons to do so – free, open source, cross-platform, tab-based UI, and more. But nothing is immune from the common issues that can plague any software, and then there are a few common issues of Thunderbird that you might be experiencing.
Most Common issues of Thunderbird
Fortunately, there are solutions to those problems that you can apply and get back to your work. Some are generic fixes and some are specific. See which solution applies to your issue.
There are a host of issues that are simply caused by the discrepancies of a non-updated installation of Thunderbird, especially if you have add-ons installed. Even though, at most times, Thunderbird is automatically updated, but if it’s not automatically updated, you can follow the instructions below.
To check, if you are on the updated version, go to ‘Settings’ icon on the top right side; it looks like this: ‘≡’. Then go to ‘Help’ -> ‘About Thunderbird.’ In the ‘About’ dialog box, you can see what version you are on and if it is updated or not. It will take a few seconds to check the version.
Check the images below for reference.
“About Thunderbird” dialog box:
If it was not on the latest updated edition, you will see it automatically downloading the updates. After the download is finished, you will see the link ‘Restart Thunderbird to Update.’ Click on it to restart the application.
Now let’s move on to second troubleshooting tip you can apply.
How to Start it on Safe Mode and Turning off Add-ons
Often, add-ons that you have installed can interfere with the Thunderbird functionality. This too is in a way dependent on what Thunderbird’s edition you are on, because certain extensions do not work on certain editions. The first thing would be to update the client and see if the issue persists or not. Here, you might even want to roll back an updated edition if the add-on that is interfering is essential to your work and you cannot uninstall it.
But if after all that, you still cannot solve whatever problem you are experiencing, you might need to uninstall the problematic add-ons.
The best way to do that is by first starting Thunderbird on the safe mode. It’s a rather uncomplicated “mode” that automatically turns off a lot of functionality and only offers the bare bones. Safe Mode turns off all custom settings and revert everything back to the default ones, also turns off all the themes and extensions. It is helpful to check for any conflicting extensions or other problems with the program. Here is the way to go into ‘Safe Mode’.
- It’s done by simply pressing ‘Shift’ key while starting the program.
- If it’s already running, go to ‘Settings’ icon on the right side, go to ‘Help’ -> And then select “Restart with Add-ons disabled.”
- This will restart the Thunderbird in ‘Safe Mode,’ but also gives you more options to make permanent changes to Thunderbird when you run it in normal mode. They are as follows:
- Disable all add-ons
- Reset Toolbars and controls.
- You can either make these permanent changes and click “Make changes and restart” to restart the program back in normal mode or click “continue in safe mode.” In safe mode, you can then manually turn off or delete or disable only the specific add-ons that you want to and make any other changes to the settings.
- After that, simply close Thunderbird and then start it again normally with the new settings.
The trick here is to disable the add-ons that you think are problematic. In most cases, it is the most recent ones that you have installed or the very old extensions that haven’t been updated by the authors in a long time. Then, quick ‘Safe Mode’ and start normally and see if the problem is solved or not. If not, repeat the entire process and each time, disable or delete another add-on. This needs to be done repeatedly because sometimes it is not so obvious what exactly is conflicting with the functionality of the program.
Some Generic Solutions to the Common Software Problems!
In case there are some general issues with your operating system and its relation with the Thunderbird program, you can try the following:
- Check if your anti-virus program on the computer is interfering with Thunderbird. Sometimes, the antivirus blocks Thunderbird or certain files needed for the program to run. You need to either disable it temporarily to confirm if that is indeed causing the issue or to allow/Whitelist Thunderbird to run without antivirus blocking it.
- Reinstall Thunderbird entirely. Go to Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Uninstall Programs -> Look for “Thunderbird” and then right click -> Uninstall. Then, head on to the official Thunderbird download page and download a new setup file and install it.
NOTE: This may lose your already downloaded emails and other settings. If you only have IMAP account setup in Thunderbird, you do not need to worry much as Thunderbird can quickly set it up again, especially if the database was not that huge.
Rebuilding Thunderbird Database
Rebuilding global database for your Thunderbird profile is also a wise strategy to solve some of the issues commonly faced, especially if you are having trouble searching for emails.
- Press Windows + R
- On the ‘Run’ dialog box, write “%appdata% and click on ‘OK’.
- This opens up the ‘USER/AppData/Roaming’ directory on your Windows computer. Navigate to -> ‘Thunderbird/Profiles/xxxxx.YOURPROFILENAME.’ Click the folder with the name of your Thunderbird profile.
- This folder has random words before the profile’s name. In case, you didn’t manually give any name to the profile, it will be labeled as “Default.” Check the image below for reference.
Open this folder on your computer and look for “global-messages-db.sqlite” and delete it.
Once you restart Thunderbird, it will automatically create this file again from the scratch, which is called “rebuilding the global database.” This will hopefully remove all the issues that might be due to the corruption in this file.
More info about rebuilding the global database here: https://www.uslsoftware.com/global-database-in-thunderbird/
In an upcoming next article, we will discuss another troubleshooting tip, which is correcting the account settings, mainly the server settings, associated with your added email accounts in the Thunderbird. If you are having signing issues or cannot properly fetch emails from the servers, most likely some of the settings of your account needs fixing.
Or, we hope that the above suggested tips for common issues of Thunderbird have solved whatever problems you were facing.