Troubleshoot Mode Thunderbird

Thunderbird Thunderbird Last updated: 11/24/2023 33% of users voted this helpful

Troubleshoot Mode runs Thunderbird with some features and customizations disabled, so you can see whether the cause of your problem is one of the disabled items. The disabling is temporary unless you choose to make the changes permanent. The list of disabled items is detailed below.

Troubleshoot Mode does not affect your data.

Starting Thunderbird in Troubleshoot Mode

  1. Switch to Troubleshoot Mode:
    • If Thunderbird is not running: Hold down the Shift key while starting Thunderbird.Hold down the option key while starting Thunderbird.From Terminal, run this command: thunderbird -safe-mode
      You may need to specify the Thunderbird installation path (e.g. /usr/lib/thunderbird or ~/Downloads/thunderbird/thunderbird).
    • If Thunderbird is already running: Click > Help > Troubleshoot Mode... and in the Restart in Troubleshoot Mode prompt, choose Restart.
  2. In the Thunderbird Troubleshoot Mode dialog, click Continue in Troubleshoot Mode button.
    If you want Troubleshoot Mode changes to be temporary, do not check the checkboxes - temporary is the default. But you can choose to make the changes permanent.
  3. Click > Help and check if you see Turn Troubleshoot Mode Off in the menu, to confirm that Thunderbird is currently running in Troubleshoot Mode.

Turning Troubleshoot Mode off

Click > Help > Turn Troubleshoot Mode Off to immediately close Thunderbird and restart it in normal mode.

Or you can just exit Thunderbird and start as you normally would.

Diagnosing problems in Troubleshoot Mode

After you start Thunderbird in Troubleshoot Mode, test its behavior to see if the problem goes away.

The problem still happens in Troubleshoot Mode

If the problem still happens in Troubleshoot Mode, then it is not being caused by an extension or theme installed in Thunderbird. Possible causes and solutions include:

  • Something is wrong with your Thunderbird installation: If you had installed Thunderbird using the Linux package manager, try reinstalling it. Also investigate possible library conflicts, and consider using the Thunderbird supplied package from

The problem no longer happens in Troubleshoot Mode

If the problem no longer happens in Troubleshoot Mode, the most likely cause is an extension, theme or hardware acceleration. Possible solutions include switching back to normal mode, then doing the following. (You may need to restart Thunderbird after each step to see if it solves the problem.)

  • Progressively disable extensions in the add-ons manager: Click > Add-ons and Themes > Extensions, then check if the problem remains after disabling each extension. When the problem goes away, the last disabled extension is probably the trouble causer. You can try to update it, reinstall it, leave it disabled, or remove it.
  • Set the default theme in the add-ons manager: Click > Add-ons and Themes > Themes, then enable the default theme.
  • Try turning off hardware acceleration in Thunderbird's settings: Click > Settings > General, then uncheck Use hardware acceleration when available.

What does Troubleshoot Mode disable?

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