How to Fix Mozilla Thunderbird not Starting?

Causes of Thunderbird Not Responding

If Thunderbird refuses to start and returns an error about an existing Thunderbird process, it’s because Thunderbird thinks your profile is in use. The cause might be a stale profile lock that was left after Thunderbird crashed. This means Thunderbird didn’t close properly or correctly clean up temporary files. Additional processes are running in the background and Thunderbird is confused, frozen, and unable to open.

Another cause might be that Thunderbird is running on another computer. Thunderbird can’t run on more than one computer at the same time with the same profile.

How to Make Thunderbird Start Again

If Thunderbird is running but not responding, or it’s saying that your profile is in use, here are the steps you should try.

  1. Close and reopen Thunderbird. It’s always worth a try to close the application and then reopen it. Select Thunderbird > Quit Thunderbird from the menu, and then reopen the application to see if this solves the problem.
  2. Close Thunderbird on another computer. If Thunderbird is running with your profile on another computer, close Thunderbird on that machine by selecting Thunderbird > Quit Thunderbird from the menu. Then log in again on the computer you’re using.
  3. Kill Thunderbird’s background processes. Even if you closed Thunderbird, the application might be running in the background. Ending Thunderbird processes that are running in the background might fix the issue. On a Windows system, do this from the Task Manager.
  4. Restart the computer. Restarting is an easy fix that often solves many technical issues.
  5. Start Thunderbird in Safe Mode. This starts the application without certain extensions or add-ons that caused the error message. Open in Safe Mode and see if this solves the problem.
  6. Delete the parentlock file. The parentlock file is created every time Thunderbird starts and should automatically clear after you close Thunderbird. If Thunderbird fails to complete the closing process properly, the parentlock file isn’t deleted. Manually delete the file to see if this solves the problem.
  7. Use the LockHunter file-unlocking tool. Use LockHunter to see what’s restricting Thunderbird from opening, and then shut down any holds on the program so that you can use it normally.
  8. Repair Thunderbird folders. A folder may be corrupted. Repair Thunderbird folders to see if this solves the problem.
  9. Create a new Thunderbird profile. There may be something wrong with your Thunderbird profile. Profiles in Thunderbird and Firefox store information about your settings, mail, accounts, and extensions you installed. If something goes wrong, back up your profile and then create a fresh one.
  10. Reinstall Thunderbird. If none of these troubleshooting steps solves the problem, move your profile folder to a different location to back it up. Then, reinstall Thunderbird without a profile present. Everything should start fresh.

How to Organize Gmail Folders Within Thunderbird?

In Gmail’s IMAP implementation, labels become Thunderbird folders. When you label a message in Gmail, Thunderbird creates a folder with the same name and stores messages there.

By default, Thunderbird shows all Gmail folders that you set up. To choose which Gmail folders to display in Thunderbird, you can change a few settings.

  • In Thunderbird, go to the File menu and select Subscribe.
  • Clear the check boxes next to the folders that you don’t want to display in Thunderbird.
  • Select OK.
  • The unchecked folders don’t display in Thunderbird.

How to Access Gmail With Thunderbird

To access your IMAP-enabled Gmail account in Thunderbird:

  • Open Thunderbird on your desktop.
  • Select File > New > Existing Mail Account. If you don’t see the File menu, you can select the Alt key.
  • In the Set Up Your Existing Email Address dialog box, provide your Gmail account information (real name, email address, and password). Thunderbird configures the Gmail connection automatically.
  • After choosing Continue, the program will find the correct server details. Then press Done, and a pop-up appears prompting you to log-in to your Gmail account.
  • Sign in with your Google credentials.
  • Thunderbird downloads your Gmail messages, and you can now access your Gmail on Thunderbird.