Go back to an old version of Thunderbird

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This article describes how to go back to an old version of Thunderbird, including how to deal with problems due to changes to your profile. Your profile normally contains your mail, address books, settings, add-ons etc. and is not deleted when you uninstall Thunderbird. Whatever version of Thunderbird you re-install will automatically find and reuse the profile.

See this article if you want to go back to an old version of Firefox.

If you backed up your profile before upgrading and still have copies of any new messages on the mail server you don't need this article. Just download the older version from here , install it in a different directory, and then restore your backup.

From 3.x to

  1. Thunderbird 3 stores the passwords in a different file. The old file isn't deleted when you upgrade so if you haven't changed your password after upgrading it isn't an issue. Otherwise write down your passwords from Tools -> Options -> Security -> Passwords -> Saved Passwords if you can't remember them.
  2. Exit Thunderbird and back up your profile using something like MozBackup.
  3. There are several directories/files you may want to delete from your profile
    1. If Global search/indexing was enabled delete globl-message-db.sqlite
    2. If you're using OSX delete the .mozmsgs subdirectory. It contains *.mozeml files used by Spotlight Integration
    3. If you're using Vista or Windows 7 (and Windows Search is enabled) delete the .mozmsg directories. It contains *.wdseml files created by Windows Search Integration
    4. If you have a IMAP account and Message Synchronizing was enabled you have copies of all of your messages stored as mbox files. Unless you want to use them as offline folders the simplest way to get rid of them is to delete the entire contents of the ..\ImapMail directory. This will also get rid of the *.msf (index) files but Thunderbird will re-create them by downloading the headers again.
  4. Follow the directions in the next section and then come back to this section.
  5. Your toolbar will have changed if you had selected the new toolbar in the Migration Assistant. You can customize it again by right clicking on the toolbar, selecting Customize, drag and drop a button to the toolbar, and then press Done. You may have to do this in several steps if you add multiple buttons, not every version supported dragging and dropping more than one button.
  6. If you ever selected Unified Folders (originally called Smart Folders) in 3.x you may have a pseudo Unified Folders (or Smart Folders) account listed in the folder pane. This will gradually corrupt your folder listings forcing you to periodically rebuild the index. You can't get rid of it by deleting an account. If you don't have it, you don't have to do anything. Otherwise:
    1. Exit Thunderbird and back up prefs.js
    2. Search for Unified folders in prefs.js and find what server id it uses. In this example it's using server4 due to user_pref("mail.server.server4.name", "Unified Folders");
    3. Find its account id. In this example, it's account4 due to user_pref("mail.account.account4.server", "server4");
    4. Find mail.accountmanager.accounts and remove that account from it. For example, change user_pref("mail.accountmanager.accounts", "account1,account2,account4"); to user_pref("mail.accountmanager.accounts", "account1,account2");
    5. Delete all of the settings for the smart folder's server and for the setting that assigns the server to an account. Otherwise Thunderbird will add the smart folders account back. In this example, you'd delete all of the mail.server.server4 settings and user_pref("mail.account.account4.server", "server4");.
  7. You're done. If you decide to upgrade to 3.x later on make certain you back up your profile first in case you change your mind

Older version (same major version number)

Normally you can use the existing profile with an older version as long as it has the same major version number. For example, you could switch from Thunderbird back to 2.0 or from 3.1 to 3.0. If some of the data is unusable or ignored see if Transferring data to a new Thunderbird profile discusses how to convert or export that data.

  1. Download the version you want from here. Mozilla periodically deletes older versions from that directory. If it's not listed, get it here.

    Mozilla uses win32, mac and Linux-686 directories to store files for Microsoft Windows , Mac OS X, and Linux respectively. The af, be, bg ca .. etc. directories are locale codes. They specify the language plus what country/region any customizations are for. en-US is the USA version of English, en-GB the British version of English, de is German and nl is Dutch for example.

    If you can't figure out the right one go to the download page for the fully localized version of the latest version of Thunderbird, hover the mouse over the download link for your locale and see what lang= is set to. That is the locale code.

    If you want the US English version of Thunderbird for Windows chose the directory, the win32 directory, the en-US directory, and then the Thunderbird Setup file.

  2. Uninstalling doesn't delete your profile, but you should back it up first as a precaution using something like MozBackup.
  3. Exit Thunderbird and then uninstall it.
  4. Install the older version in the same location to minimize any side effects. For example, the Windows registry may expect the default email client to be in that location.
  5. After installing the older version, turn off the automatic Thunderbird Software Update feature (if enabled).
  6. Reconfigure your firewall if you have one.
  7. If Thunderbird disables any of your add-ons you probably need to replace it with a version that supports a older version of Thunderbird. Most add-ons at Mozilla Add-ons have a Release Notes section at the bottom of the web page. Click on the version you want and it will jump to a download page for it.

See also

External links