Fix Slow Or Hanging Thunderbird Email Client
The following guide provides you with instructions on fixing the Thunderbird email client when it becomes slow or hangs regularly.
Thunderbird is a desktop email client that is seen by many as a viable alternative to Microsoft Outlook on the Windows operating system. Users who use the client heavily, may experience slow downs or lags when using the desktop email client after some time.
This can usually be attributed to corrupt msf files in the Thunderbird profile folder. Thunderbird stores the emails in a file without file extension that has the same name as the folder name in the email client, for instance inbox for the inbox folder.
Each of these files contains the emails of the specific folder. Each folder has a msf file associated with it that is an index of all emails stored in that folder.
Repairing Thunderbird Folders
Thunderbird comes with its own repair functionality built-into the email client. Do the following to use it:
- Right-click on the folder that you want to repair and select properties from the context menu. This opens the Folder Properties window. Note that this works only for folders, but not for entire email accounts.
- Locate and activate the Repair Folder button there. It should be visible right away, but if Thunderbird opens a tab you don't see it listed on, switch to the general information tab to locate it.
- I suggest you wait until the repair operation completes before you do anything else. Repeat the steps for any other folder in Thunderbird.
Fixing Thunderbird slow downs
The problem is that these indexes can become corrupt over time which may cause the slow downs and hangs that some user experience in Thunderbird.
The easiest way to fix this problem is to delete the msf files in the Thunderbird profile folder after closing the Thunderbird email client. Thunderbird will automatically rebuild the indexes on its next startup fixing any problems that were caused by these files.
The easiest way to access the profile is by selecting Help > Troubleshooting information in Thunderbird, and there on the page that opens the "show folder" button. This opens the local profile folder
Note: It is of course recommended to backup the Thunderbird profile folder before deleting any files within (Check Backup Email Clients And Web Browsers).
Another possibility is to run a software program like ThunderFix. ThunderFix eliminates most of the hassle associated with the process.
It displays a list of Thunderbird profiles that it found on the computer system after execution. All it takes to delete all msf files associated with the profile is to select the profile and click on the Fix Profile link.
It is again recommended to backup the profile before running the software program.
While you may find that this is a viable solution for some slow down issues or freezes in Thunderbird, you may want to take a look at other possible solutions that help you speed up the email program on your system.
- Make sure you have configured Thunderbird to compact the mailboxes regularly to save space. You can do so under Tools > Options > Advanced > Network & Disk Space > Compact all folders when it will save over xx MB in total.
- If you do not rely on the global search, or notice that it slows down the email program, you may want to consider disabling it. You find that option under Tools > Options > Advanced > General > Enable Global Search and Indexer.
- If you are running add-ons in Thunderbird, try disabling those manually via Tools > Add-ons, or use Help > Restart with Add-ons Disabled to restart the email client with all extensions disabled for that session.