Archive for the ‘Tips/Tweaks’ Category

A while back some of my family switched their ISP from Qwest to Cox. I had recently sent an email directly to one family member and they had replied back that it went to their old ISP’s email at I was a bit baffled that the address was still active as it had been several months since they have switched. A bounce-back would very much welcomed here. Even more baffling though was I knew I had removed their old address and put their new address in my Thunderbird address book. I just went to send them another message and right as I was getting ready to click the send button I noticed the to address was their address. I deleted what was in the To: field and started typing in their name. Both addresses showed in the drop-down.

After selecting the correct address and sending off the message, I went into my Thunderbird address book and confirmed I only had their address. However, I noticed in the left column another ‘address box’ called Collected Addresses. I looked through this address box and there was their address.

I sorta knew what the Collected Addresses were but wanted to find out more. A Google search on the topic turned up a lot of information, but not so much from Mozilla. I did find a good description at the Cornell University site:

Collected Addresses is a special address book that Thunderbird maintains without any effort on your part. It is made up of every e-mail address to which you’ve sent a message, whether in To, Cc, or Bcc. (You can control how Collected Addresses works through an option setting.)

As installed, Collected Addresses is a convenience in that, once you’ve typed in an address, you’ll never have to type in that address again. As you start to type it, Thunderbird will find it for you.

More searching (again not much from Mozilla without having to really dig deep into their discussion forums) I found The Unofficial How-To Blog for Thunderbird. You can disable the automatic addition of ‘collected addresses’. From Thunderbird go to Tools > Options… (Mac: Thunderbird > Preferences | Linux: Edit > Preferences) and click on the Composition tab. At the bottom is an option to Automatically add outgoing e-mail addresses, uncheck this option.

So now I have removed their old address from Thunderbird completely and also stopped having Thunderbird collect addresses. Quick tip, in Thunderbird 3.0 and newer clicking the star next to the sender’s name will allow you to add them to your address book.


There are times depending on what is running in the background and other Internet activity that Thunderbird (or Firefox) may get bogged down and a JavaScript may take a little longer than normal to complete. Users will get a warning similar to the one below advising that the script is unresponsive. The reason for this is because the application thinks the script is running wild and never going to finish processing thus causing the application to freeze and/or crash. This is very similar to Windows Task Manager warning you that an application is not responding, but the application is just a bit bogged down (which commonly happens with JavaScript) and needs more time to finish what it is doing.

The ‘fix’ for this is fairly simple, just increase the amount of time before a script is considered ‘unresponsive’. This can be done in both Thunderbird and Firefox via the Config Editor… (Thunderbird) and about:config (Firefox):


  1. Go to Tools >> Options…
  2. Click on the Advanced tab on top
  3. At the bottom of the window is a section Advanced Configuration
  4. Click on the Config Editor… button at the lower right
  5. In the Config Editor… type dom.max_script_run_time in the Filter field
  6. Double click the entry and in the in the pop-up box type 20 and press enter
  7. Close the window


  1. In a new tab type about:config in the address bar and press enter
  2. In the about:config manager type dom.max_script_run_time in the Filter field
  3. Double click the entry and in the in the pop-up box type 20 and press enter
  4. Close the tab

Source: Itchy Hands

Got an email from a family member in regards to their Thunderbird. They switched ISP and email providers and when their email account was setup in Thunderbird, it had its own folder structure. My first thought was the account had been setup as IMAP, but I checked on the provider’s website determined they didn’t support IMAP.

I thought may be this was they way Thunderbird 3 handled POP accounts. Wouldn’t really know since I use IMAP exclusively. After a little hunting I discovered you can still have Thunderbird to deliver all the messages in your POP accounts to the Global Inbox (in the Local Folders).

Important: Copy all your messages in that account including those in the Inbox and any other folders (sent, drafts, etc) to the Inbox (and other desired folders) under local folders. After that is done, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Tools >> Account Settings
  2. In the list locate the POP account you want to change the settings on and click on Server Settings (directly below the account name)
  3. Click the Advanced… button towards the bottom right
  4. In the pop-up windows select Global Inbox (Local Folders Account)
  5. You will get an overly worded warning message about losing existing content if you haven’t already copied it to the local folders. Press OK
  6. Press OK again to close out of the Account Settings window
  7. Restart Thunderbird to remove the separate folders associated with that email account.

For more information see: mozillaZine: Global Inbox

Last month I received an email for a nearly dedicated Thunderbird user. I say nearly dedicated because they were still using Eudora to send out monthly club emails. The club has a strict policy that their email addresses will not be shared. They were unable to find an easy way to send out to the group where all the recipients were BCC (Blind Carbon Copy). Sure each recipient added to the message could be changed to ‘Bcc’, but with around 50 recipients this was time consuming and a good chance of accidentally leaving one or more of the recipients set to ‘To’. After a couple email exchanges we were able to get this working as they desired. Here is the step-by-step  process to send a bulk email so all the recipients are Bcc:

  1. Open the Address Book
  2. Click New List
  3. Enter the list name, nickname and description for your list
  4. Add addresses to the list (note if the address is already in your address book, it will show in the drop-down as you start typing the address)

    The Contact List

  5. Click OK and close the address book
  6. Click Write
  7. Next to the first addressee field click the drop-down on To: and select Bcc:
  8. In the first addressee field type the name of the list you created. The filed should the list name and then the nick name between <>.

    Compose Window -- Be sure to choose Bcc:

  9. Enter your email content and click send.

When the email arrives it is going to show as addressed to ‘undisclosed-recipients’.

Received email addressed to 'undisclosed-recipients'

Back in the beginning of March, I wrote about the Signature Switch add-on in the TBird Signatures|Signature Switch post. It wasn’t until I went to post about this wonderful extension in Thunderbird Help, that I realized I didn’t include any screen-shots. So, here are some screen shots (click images for full-size view):

Switch between your list of signatures via the Signature button on the compose window

Signature Switch Options

Set/Edit Signature

Awhile back I wrote about how to access Thunderbird’s about:config editor. A couple things have changed in regards to Thunderbird 3 developmental builds aka Shredder since that article was published. The warning message is no longer This gun is loaded!, but rather This might void your warranty!. Also the Options Screen has changed a bit as well:

TBird 3 Options

Click for full-sized image

Most of the tips posted here have been for Firefox 2/3. However this time around we have a Thunderbird 2/3 tip. Alex commented on the Thunderbird 2.0 Message Tags post:

There must be some way to change the default tags. i like the tags themselves, but the default tags are kind of annoying.

Any tricks for getting around this one?

Yes, but you will need to have the About:Config add-on for Thunderbird (see TBird about:config for instructions). Note you could also access the editor from Tools, select Options…, Click the Advance Tab, select (if it is not already) the General sub-tab and finally click the Config Editor… button. Once you have the Thunderbird about:config opened, type ‘Tags’ in the Filter field. You results should look very similar to these:

Click for full-size

Default Tags

Each of the five default tags has two sets of entries (note: # = Tag #):

  • mailnews.tags.$lable#.color – The display color (the six-digit hexadecimal color code) for the tag. See Hex Color Chart for list of colors.
  • mailnews.tags.$lable#.tag. The display text for the tag.

Simply double click on the entries to make changes.

Custom Tags

Custom created tags work the same way, but their naming scheme is a little different. These should be shown directly below the entries for the first 5 default tags (note: <tagname> = the name of the custom tag):

  • mailnews.tags.<tagname>.color – The display color (the six-digit hexadecimal color code) for this tag. See Hex Color Chart for list of colors.
  • mailnews.tags.<tagname>.tag – The display text for this tag.

Simply double click on the entries to make the changes.

Removing Custom Tags

You can not remove custom tags you have created from within Thunderbird. You can remove them via the about:config tool. Simply right-click on the entries for the tag you wish to remove and select ‘reset’. Restart Thunderbird and the tag will no longer be there.

Thanks for the tip Alex!