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I’m frustrated

Why does my Thunderbird not always report when new emails come in now?

I've noticed that my Thunderbird no longer is reliable reporting when new emails come in, and it's *very* frustrating.

It started with a different problem. I couldn't modify the toolbars, as the changes would be forgotten the next time I started Thunderbird. Then suddenly, that started to work, and the McAfee icon appeared in the toolbars. I could modify them great, but then suddenly, it seems to be reporting 1/3 of the new emails that come through, and it's driving me nuts.

This is a 5 week old Windows 7 64 bit laptop. It came with McAfee, which will be uninstalled soon because I don't like it enough to pay for it.

If anyone has an idea of what's going on here, or you need more information, please let me know.
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  • Normally if its not reporting new mails its due to problems downloading a message with bad headers, usually caused by a spam message. In your case however I suspect its due to McAfee. I suggest you uninstall it and its add-on.

    Avast! is the most frequently recommended free anti-virus program thats known to work well with Thunderbird. If McAfee was also providing some spam detection, see if the tweaking section or the section on using Spampal with the junk mail controls in http://kb.mozillazine.org/Junk_Mail_C... helps.
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  • I’m Getting better....
    Hi, thanks for your reply! I've uninstalled McAfee and its extension, and still no luck. I've tried uninstalling Thunderbird, and reinstalling with no luck, but it always comes back with my accounts and mail, even when I've deleted the Thunderbird dir in Program Files and deleted the Thunderbird folder in ProgramData.

    Right now, I'm using Microsoft Security Essentials. It seems to work well and doesn't bog down the system much. How is Avast! in that respect?
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  • I’m Getting to be more and more unhappy with Thunderbird.
    Please, can no one help with this? I've had my Thunderbird running for 2 hours, only have been notified when I started it that I had new messages, and a good 25-30 messages have come in during these 2 hours with not a single notification.
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  • How many resources Avast! uses depends upon how many providers it runs. The latest version enables all of the providers (aka real time shields) by default. I disable all but the file system, mail, web and network providers. It doesn't seem to noticeably slow down a 440MB Celeron PC running XP.

    If webmail is getting new messages without any notification in Thunderbird when you check for new mail thats a different problem than what you originally asked for help about. Its due to one (or more) of the messages having bad headers (usually due to it being spam) that Thunderbird can't download. Its not smart enough to skip over that message and download the next. So the workaround is to use a browser to read and delete the "bad" message and then try again.

    This problem only seems to occur with certain POP servers. It seems to occur most often when you use a ISP as your email provider. I've never heard of it happening with Gmail or GMX.com, both of which offer free POP/IMAP/SMTP servers and a large mailbox.
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  • Hi, thanks for the reply!

    First, thanks for the info on Avast!. :) I'm not currently using it yet, and am using Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Firewall. I found that McAfee had been causing many little annoyances that disappeared when I uninstalled it, but it hasn't helped Thunderbird.

    I'm actually using my work as an ISP, and if it helps to know, the messages are actually coming through. I don't have webmail available to me to be able to compare with.

    Basically, I could be in another program, writing an email in Thunderbird, or in the kitchen making a snack (I should stop the snacks, but I don't need troubleshooting of that ;) ) and the mail will come through and pop up in my inbox... But I don't get the notification, audio or pop up.

    Perhaps this may help... I'm keeping, literally, about 4,500 messages in my Inbox, Is there a max I should limit myself to? Could this have any effect on the problem?

    Thank you!!
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  • Its a bad idea to store lots of messages in your inbox as the combination of lots of moved/deleted messages, lots of messages and not compacting it often enough (most people underestimate how often is enough) makes it prone to corruption. I suggest you move most of your messages to other folders/child folders.

    See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Compacting_... and http://kb.mozillazine.org/Keep_it_wor...

    However, having so many messages in your inbox won't cause your problem. Is tools -> options -> general -> when new messages arrive -> "show an alert" still checked?

    I know the custom sound alert frequently doesn't work unless its at least a 20KB file, but the default system sound should unless you somehow disabled it in a windows control panel.
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  • Hi... It's been a little while, but I wanted to see how it worked out for me. Here's a bit of info on what I'm doing with it all.

    I keep so many messages because I use this for work, and the more messages that I keep, the more that I can look back on for history on the problems I'm being emailed about. Normally, I could put a ticket # into the Find box and get all that are saved in the lat 4,500 emails. Now, I have it set up with a folder I just called Day Old, which just means more than 2 days old. I have a filter set to move every message over 2 days old into that folder, and I've brought the max number of messages down to 4,000, which appears to be by folder, not the entire account.

    Currently, I run the filter once a day to move msgs to that folder, and I I also compact folders 2-3 times a week.

    I'm still not getting all my notifications, but I am getting a lot more. I still see new messages pop up in my inbox from time to time without a sound.

    The problem that this brings up for me is that when searching for a ticket #, I have to go to the Day Old folder often, and this breaks up the list when some are very recent and some are older than 2 days. It's inconvenient, but it's better than finding out another half dozen mails came in while I was typing a mail while thinking I was caught up.

    Oh, as a note, I'm using Windows default sound for the alert, which is set up properly in settings (On/off, that's a simple one) :)

    Thanks for the help, and am ready for any other suggestions.
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  • There is no reason to limit the number of messages in the Day Old folder unless you regularly delete messages in it.

    You could create a virtual folder that contains both the inbox and day old folder. It acts like a normal folder, but the messages are still stored in the original folders. You might find it easier to search using it. See http://kb.mozillazine.org/Saved_Search for how to create one.
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  • That sounds like an interesting idea, I'll give it a shot!

    Just a note ... If I try compacting folders with some messages being marked unread, that seems to have an effect. For instance, I started compacting and had a message window open. When it was done, it closed the window to put me back at the main Thunderbird window with 3 messages new, in bold, but the Inbox showed only 1 new.

    Off to try the virtual folders........ Thank you!
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  • I’m furious!
    I haven't had a chance to do the search thing ... But this *bleep*ing program is STILL not telling me when new messages come in. No pop up, no noise. I was in my browser doing something, go back, 2 new messages. Then I go to save what I was doing in my browser, back to Thunderbird, 2 MORE messages. 4 came in, no sound, no popup. I'm honestly fed up with this to the point that I would never use another Mozilla product if I didn't HAVE TO use this for my job.

    Why is this happening? Why will it not tell me? I need an answer before I destroy this computer, quit my job, and move into a box in the alley instead of my own home. I can't deal with *constantly* thinking I'm all caught up and have a break to go back and find 4... 6.... 9.... 12 new things I have to do. It's INSANELY frustrating.

    I'm not doing anything weird. I have only two addons: Quick Text and one of the ones that gives you a Run Filters button on the toolbar.

    This is insane. How can this be so hard for such a well established, well known, well liked email client that has been around for years have such a problem just telling me when I get a new message??

    Oh, and while typing this, ANOTHER one came up.
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  • I realize you may not want to reply to me... I know I'm VERY frustrated and showing it, yet I still can't say I completely understand why this is happening. But with that, I have found something.

    When a new mail comes in, the account name (I have two accounts in Thunderbird) turns blue. This doesn't always turn back to black, and when it's blue, I get no notifications. No pop up or sound. I can fix this by going to any other folder and back to the Inbox, but this is something I can't do while typing a message, as it's just too inconvenient to when I'm on a roll. On occasion, the account name will turn black on its own. I don't know why.

    Does this help? Can this be fixed?
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  • I suggest you sign up for a free account with either gmail or gmx.com and see if you have the same problem. If you don't, then I'd suspect its a problem with your email provider. You could use webmail (browser) to forward your new messages to the other account so that you're testing with the same messages.

    You might also consider just using a program like POPTray to notify you of new mail. It co-exists well with Thunderbird.
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  • This is my work email that I'm using, but I can put my own Gmail account in and see how it works. The problem is that my work account gets hundreds of mails a day, and that must have something to do with it.

    I do compact folders daily as well as moving anything older than 2 days to a separate folder, as I believe was mentioned above.

    I'll try POPTray, thanks. I just don't want it notifying me on my days off, but I'm sure that'll be the easy part.

    Thank you very much for the help.
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  • I tried POPTray, and no luck. It let me enter the info needed, verified that it was correct for me, and then would only sit and idle and would not report on my email.

    Thunderbird, this time, gave me TWELVE new messages to work on without me knowing. This is frustrating. Why is this happening? I'm not doing anything weird or unusual outside a large volume of email. And I HAVE to use this program because of the quick text addon.

    Seriously, how would you feel if you think you're all caught up, and without a word, there's suddenly 2 hours worth of work in your inbox?

    This HAS TO STOP, PLEASE! I can't take this frustration any longer!
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  • Who is your email provider? The fact that POPTray wouldn't work with it makes me wonder if there is something wrong with your POP server. For example the POP STAT command might not be working correctly but returns something that works well with Microsoft email clients.

    If you're getting frustrated Gmail.com and gmx.com are two good free email providers that support both IMAP and POP accounts, have decent spam detection, and a large mailbox. Gmail is popular enough that how well Thunderbird works with it gets a lot of attention by the developers.
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  • Thank you for replying. I'd pull my hair out, but there's a reason I'm wearing a hat in the picture by my posts. :)

    The ISP is actually my work. I'm wondering if the large number of messages has stumped POPTray, and I didn't give it enough time? Our inbox includes a few thousand messages, and it occurred to me that its first check may have been cataloging the entire thing.

    I think I mentioned it, but as it seems to be an indicator, I'd like to mention it again. I have two accounts, one is my personal account at work, and the other is a shared inbox (via pop3) that gets hundreds of messages a day. When new mail comes in, the account name on the left with the folders turns blue. Whenever a message comes through while the account name is blue, I get no notification. If it's black, I do get a notification. I can get around this by clicking any other folder and going back to the inbox, but sometimes that's not possible. Often, I'll have a search open via the quick search box, and if I click away and back, that search has to be performed again.

    So, I guess a question should be ... is there a way for the account name to stop changing to blue, or for it to stay black? Have I set something wrong?

    I love most of what Thunderbird has to offer. It's easy to use, the shortcut keys are handy, its features show that they cared when they made it, but this is driving me insane. Considering that I think I'm already insane, this is impressive.

    I've added an image of the blue text just in case there's any confusion. It looks like it'll show inline, so I'm going to shut up and thank you for sticking with me.

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  • Why does the account name turn blue? To tell me where the new message is? This isn't meant to be a snide comment, but the number new in the inbox tells me this. How and when does it turn back to black? Can I stop this? I would much rather it not change so I'll find out when I get new mail.

    Thanks.
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  • I know the blue text has to go with new message ... but it doesn't shut off properly when new messages are checked, thus not allowing me to get notification.

    So then how does this get fixed, or does it just not be?
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  • Alrightie, it's been 9 days since I had a reply. Why is it suddenly I'm getting no replies?

    The account name turns blue. The flag comes up in the systray area. These does not always clear when I read messages, and when the flag is up and the text is blue, I get NO notifications of new messages. I'm not doing ANYTHING strange, even a little bit, with Thunderbird, aside from a large volume of messages.

    You were helping before. Ignoring is not an appropriate way of saying you don't want to help.
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  • I’m frustrated
    I have the same problem... and this ONLY occurs with this HORRIBLE 3.x version on 1 account and not the rest. I am VERY dissatisfied with everything about Thunderbird 3... you guys BROKE A LOT.

    If I downgrade back to the good 2.x branch, I only have to deal with the annoying "Upgrade now!!" banner but everything still works the way it should. Fred, search the web for Thunderbird 2 and you'll be set.
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  • Ok, support folks... I haven't treated you badly, I haven't done anything stupid, mean or thoughtless. Yet now you are completely ignoring my requests for help. Why? This is not right, and I STRESS: Ignoring someone is *NOT* the way to do things. It's very rude, and I will take this VERY far if I'm continued to be ignored.

    I have the right to be infuriated with this software, and I have no choice but to use it. Your reputation is getting worse and worse here after WEEKS of ignoring me.

    Now, say SOMETHING.
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  • I’m Very frustrated that support has suddenly stopped without a word.
    Ok, I'll come here and post every day until someone replies. Again, it's rude to simply ignore someone as a way of saying that you don't want to help. I'm forced to use your software, and while I don't like Thunderbird all that much, the kind support and help I've gotten has stopped me from saying anything bad about it. But what else can I do now? No support, it doesn't work right, so I have no choice but to tell people how much I hate this software. Is this a threat? No, it's a simple statement of facts. I cannot support something that will not support me.
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  • I have posted six times trying to help you. When you didn't reply for over a week to my last post I unsubscribed this thread, and moved on. I noticed this thread in "recent questions" today so I took another look. As far as I know nobody is deliberately ignoring you, but you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    You're using a free open source application and asking for help in a support community where most of the help comes from either ordinary users or unpaid volunteers such as myself, rather than from Mozilla Messaging employees. I think you need to set your expectations accordingly.

    1. What type of POP server are you using? You say you're using one provided by the ISP you're working at so you should be able to find this out. The reason I want this information is so that I can search bug reports for any mention of it.

    2. Are you using anything that filters the messages before Thunderbird sees them? i.e. a anti-spam proxy such as MailWasher, some Internet security suite that filters spam etc.

    3. Create a Gmail POP account and configure the optional mail fetcher to automatically copy messages from your ISP POP server into the Gmail webmail inbox. This will cause Thunderbird to attempt to download the same messages from both your ISP and your Gmail POP account.

    That will help identify if you're running into a email provider specific problem, and might give you a temporary workaround. http://mail.google.com/support/bin/an... explains how to configure the mail fetcher.

    The new account wizard will default to creating a IMAP account for Gmail, but the middle of the second screen has buttons to let you change from IMAP to POP.

    Configure both accounts to "leave messages on server" in tools -> account settings -> server settings. You can set the nearby "for at least X days" if you're worried about filling up your mailbox.

    4. Its a bad sign that POPTray is not working for you. Try using PopPeeper to notify you of new mail. If it has the same problems than I doubt there is anything that anybody can do to get Thunderbird to work with that POP account.

    5. Do you have the same problem using something like Windows Live Mail? Microsoft email clients tend to be more robust than Thunderbird in their handling of bad/malformed POP messages. I'd also expect your employer to have tested against Microsoft email clients rather than Thunderbird. If it has the same problems that is yet another clue who is causing this problem.

    6. I repeat my suggestion that its a bad idea to have lots of messages (over 4,000) in your inbox, and that you move them to other folders/child folders. One possibility is that occasionally Thunderbird doesn't notify you of a new message because the inbox folder is corrupt.

    You seem to be using the Day Old folder as your defacto inbox. Its not the folder name which makes it vulnerable. The combination of lots of messages in a folder, not compacting it often enough , and having lots of deleted messages (moving a message deletes the original) is what makes a folder prone to corruption. That is why it is recommended that you don't permanently store messages in your inbox (whatever its called).

    I suspect compacting it 2-3 times a week is nowhere near enough given how many messages you get. Its much safer to configure Thunderbird to automatically compact folders, and to have it do that often. If its done often it both takes far less time and reduces the risk.

    Compacting Folders
    Keep it working - Thunderbird
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  • I’m Thankful
    Thank you for replying. I honestly don't want to be a jerk, and until I started to become bothered by no replies, my only frustration was with the program and not the people. I don't think that until tonight that 'grief' is an appropriate word, however. I only wonder that while I kept asking that no one at all would reply. It doesn't move this to the top of a tack based on new? Well, don't answer that, as those are really meant to visualize what I'm thinking, rather then real questions.

    Answers to your questions...

    1. Type of server: I don't know, but I will try to find out. Protocol used is IMAP for my personal account and POP for a shared high volume inbox.

    2. Pre-filters: No, none. When I got this laptop, it had McAfee on it. After a short while, I uninstalled it because of many small issues. The only filters I have set are a few that do things like mark co-workers replies as read, and to move two different types of messages to two different folders.

    3. Is it ok with Gmail if I made an account that would get 1,000 (roughly) msgs a day?

    4, POPTray sat there clocking, animating the icon for ages. I have no idea if the reason could be because the inbox on the server has around 2,000 msgs and it's cataloging them or something along those lines? If it will begin to work if I give it more time, I'm very willing to use it. I haven't uninstalled it.

    5. Windows Live Mail, as in what used to be Outlook Express? I haven't tried it with this, as I am completely and totally lost without the QuickText addon. (No, not for lots of canned replies, but many sets of instructions) If I could use QuickText, or rather something that understands the lengthy xml file of instructions I have from it, I'll try it. I don't wish to use Outlook or Express, but if I can get all I need there, I would consider using it... Or am I misunderstanding you?

    6. I'm sorry, but I must not have stated clearly what I'm doing with the Day Old folder.

    I have a filter I run once a day that moves everything over 2 days old to the Day Old folder, which leaves the inbox to have approximately 900-1500 messages in it at any given time. I use the inbox as the inbox, and the Day Old for when I can't find what I want in the Inbox. Day Old is set to keep 5000 messages in it. I compact at least once a day, usually after I run the filter to move things around. I'm not unwilling to let Thunderbird compact for me, but a question... Will it interrupt me as I work, or will it run in the background or... something else?

    I had believed that the inbox itself shouldn't have many messages, and putting them in other folders would be a good thing. Am I misunderstanding? Oh, I don't believe i mentioned, but under my POP account (my phone monitors my personal account, but that gets maybe a dozen messages, and is IMAP) but I do have it set to leave messages on the server.

    A note is that I installed Thunderbird on my desktop PC, and had pretty much the same results.

    Thank you for replying, and I am sorry I let some personal pressures get the best of me in my communication here.
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  • 1. I'm confused. Are you having problems with new mail notification for the IMAP, POP or both accounts? I thought it was just a POP account with your ISP.

    3. I'm not aware of a reason why that would be a problem. The main issue is Gmail imposed bandwidth limitations on email clients (which aren't officially documented). At some point that might effect your ability to read a message or get notified of new mail until enough time has passed for it to reset the quota. How much effect it has depends upon how large the messages are and how quickly you read them.

    Based on "a good 25-30 messages have come in during these 2 hours with not a single notification." I assumed that you'd be able to tell the difference between the problem also occurring with the Gmail account and new problems due to a bandwidth limitation, if only because you'd be comparing it to downloading the exact same messages in the ISP POP account. i.e. I'm not sure if Gmail is a practical workaround but I think its a good test to see if your problem is email provider specific.

    5. You misunderstand. I'm not suggesting Windows Live Mail as a workaround, just as a troubleshooting tool to help determine whats causing the problem. If WLM has the same problem as Thunderbird, then something other than the Thunderbird is the obvious culprit.

    6. It depends upon how you automate it, what triggers compacting. You could configure it to compact whenever you've deleted messages that take up X KB or you could configure it to compact when you exit Thunderbird for example. See the compacting folders article.

    "I had believed that the inbox itself shouldn't have many messages, and putting them in other folders would be a good thing. Am I misunderstanding?"
    Nope. Its not a problem storing huge numbers of messages in folders that you rarely delete a message in.
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  • I'm sorry, I haven't been feeling well lately and am EXTREMELY busy with work. I do apologize, and I will get back to you as soon as I'm capable.
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  • I apologize... I've had some medical issues recently.

    1. The IMAP thing was only to tell you I have another account in there, and that it doesn't matter of I get notifications as my phone handles that for me. As a note, since I saw your reply, I've noticed that if I get new stuff there, it doesn't notify if either account name is blue.

    2. Haven't been able to try a new Gmail account. I will, I just haven't been able to.

    5. I will try Windows Live Mail on a day off soon, as things have been insanely busy lately and I can't chance anything getting in the way.

    6. I've set it to automatically ask to compact, and it does so most times I run the script to send mail to the day old folder.

    7. The keeping a ton of messages in Day old... I currently have that set to 5000 msgs. Would you consider this an issue if I kept that at a higher amount?

    This is only a question... I'm not a programmer, and I know I could be very wrong here, so please take it with a grain of salt.... Shouldn't Thunderbird just see how many new messages it has when it checks, and if there are more after it's next check, shouldn't it know that the second time has more messages than the first time, and in turn, notify you?
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  • Hope you feel better soon.

    Shouldn't Thunderbird just see how many new messages it has when it checks, and if there are more after it's next check, shouldn't it know that the second time has more messages than the first time, and in turn, notify you

    I assume we're talking about the new mail count in the main window (colored folder with a new mail count next to it) and not the optional new mail notification in the system tray.

    Its supposed to always show you the new mail count regardless of how many times you've seen it before. Its not meant to be smart and only notify you of additional new mail that you hadn't known about.

    The keeping a ton of messages in Day old... I currently have that set to 5000 msgs. Would you consider this an issue if I kept that at a higher amount?

    My main concern would be corruption. I'd set it to automatically compact "whenever it will save over 100KB" in tools -> options -> advanced -> network & disk space.
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  • This reply was removed on 2011-03-03.
    see the change log
  • Gaia Smith :

    See the alternative solutions section in the global inbox article . You can use a saved search (misleading name, its not a snap shot) to create a virtual folder that does what you talk about Mail.app doing.
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  • I've been using the full folder view myself... I tend not to go with unified inboxes because I like to see where things come from a bit easier. My phone has a unified inbox, but mixing my Yahoo and work accounts generally kinda gets weird. lol
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  • I’m unhappy, but not because of Thunderbird
    Hi... I'm feeling a touch better and have come to the conclusion that I don't think this problem is solvable. Even if Gmail works, then I'm still in the same boat and I will try again later.

    Life is just kicking me in the backside in so many ways right now that I'm just having a very hard time dealing. I'm sorry. I know that you don't want to hear my sob story, so I'm gonna say you can close this now and thank you for your help. I really appreciate it, and again I'm sorry for being a jerk for a bit there.
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  • Can this issue be summarized in a sentence or two??

    (perfectly understandable not to use unified folder view in mixed environment - I do it myself)
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  • Gaia, perfectly OK (even great!) to try to help. Mistakes in good faith are forgiven :)
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