Problems With a Stuck Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free cross-platform email and newsgroup client. Problems with the software hanging or freezing can have a variety of potential causes, depending on what you're doing at the time it freezes. In addition to troubleshooting the Thunderbird client, consider other factors that may be causing the issue, such as incorrect email account information, a damaged Windows registry or a problem with the Internet connection.

  1. Start Up

    • If Thunderbird is failing to start and freezing during the launch process, it's likely there is a problem with the program's files, settings or plug-ins. Start the program in Safe Mode by holding down "Shift" when clicking the Thunderbird shortcut. If the application launches successfully, a plug-in is most probably to blame. You can sniff out the bad plug-in by disabling your plug-ins one by one from inside Thunderbird to identify the culprit. If Thunderbird still gets stuck starting in Safe Mode, download and install the latest version of the client from mozilla.org, which replaces any program files that are damaged or have been erased.

    Configuring Email Accounts

    • If Thunderbird hangs during the email configuration process, it's likely there is a problem with the details you've entered or the email service provider. Double-check the information you've provided under Server Settings for your email account, particularly the username and password you're using to access your inbox. If the email provider is suffering an outage or other technical fault, Thunderbird may hang even if the details are correct. Contact your email provider to check for any problems and to verify you're entering the correct login information.

    Sending or Receiving Email

    • If Thunderbird freezes when sending or receiving email, this can also be the result of badly configured server settings or an email server that's experiencing technical issues. The program locking up can also be caused by trying to send or receive an email with an attachment too large for the limits set by your email service provider. If a message with a large attachment is stuck in the Outbox folder, try opening it and removing or reducing the size of the attachment. One alternative is to upload the large file or group of files to a cloud-sharing service or send it via file transfer protocol.

    Damaged Messages or User Profile

    • If Thunderbird is getting stuck in other areas of the program, the problem may be a corrupt email message, a bug affecting your user profile or a variety of other factors. One way to troubleshoot damaged messages or user profiles is to delete the folder structure so Thunderbird automatically rebuilds it. You can do this by locating the profile folder at C: | Users | <user name> | AppData | Roaming and then deleting any files with the MSF extension. The folder structure will be rebuilt the next time you launch the program.

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