How to restore the menu header in Thunderbird 17

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 14, 2012
Email, Thunderbird

Thunderbird 17 is currently offered as a beta version. If you have installed the upcoming version of the email client on your system, you may have noticed the new look of the header area of the program. Mozilla decided to remove the title bar from the email client to use the extra vertical space for contents displayed in Thunderbird.

You furthermore may have noticed a new settings button in the main toolbar that leads to a one-button menu that Firefox has been using for a while now by default. The menu bar on the other hand is still displayed in Thunderbird if you have used it before.

The changes allow you to remove the menu bar - if active before - to save menu bar and title bar space in Thunderbird for other contents. The first toolbar displayed is the tab bar followed by the main toolbar of the browser.

Thunderbird 17 menu

I have to admit that I do not mind the title bar change, as it did not display any information that I needed anyway. I did mind Mozilla removing the website titles from Firefox's title bar, but since Thunderbird is not displaying mail information here - only the mailbox you are currently working with - it is not a big deal for me.

Removing the menu bar on the other hand takes some getting used to time. I have not used it that much though, mostly to open the settings or add-on listing, and those two are accessible directly in the new toolbar menu.

menubar button thunderbird

If you do not like the changes, for whatever reason, you will be glad to know that you can easily restore Thunderbird's header to the way it was before.

If the menu bar is not displayed anymore, right-click on the new Thunderbird button (shown on the screenshot above) and activate the menu bar again.

You need to open the advanced configuration if you want to display the title bar in the email client again. For that, click on Tools > Options or Menu > Options, and navigate to Advanced > General > Config Editor here.

Filter for the preference mail.tabs.drawInTitlebar and double-click it to set it to false. You should immediately see the title bar in the Thunderbird email client again.


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  1. Mark Davies said on August 24, 2022 at 12:54 am


    The suggested fix:

    Filter for the preference mail.tabs.drawInTitlebar and double-click it to set it to false. You should immediately see the title bar in the Thunderbird email client again.

    Does not work for me. Are there any other suggestions please as to how to restore my menu bar?

    Why does Thunderbird keep getting changed – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. 102 has been a disaster for me with no remote image display and no help on how to fix (all the “fixes” I’ve tried relate to earlier versions or are menu options within 102, none of which work.) No I can add teh frustartion of no menu bar which I’ve used for years.


  2. Ben S. said on December 13, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I had trouble using “Actual Multiple Monitors” with this change in version 17; the ability to resize or close Thunderbird disappeared. The fix you posted via the config editor worked perfectly. Thanks for the post.

  3. Tom Maynard said on December 12, 2012 at 2:37 am

    This tip ended hours of frustration! I accidentally managed to lose my message pane, and nothing I could find would restore the Classic View. This tip worked, quickly and easily. Thanks a million!

  4. Terje Ronneberg said on December 5, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Worked great! Thanks!
    I was a little annoyed the title bar was missing when thunderbird updated to version 17 automatically.
    Without the title bar it is harder to make the window smaller in win 7, I am used to double click on the title bar to make it smaller.
    Anyway, your page came up when I searched for a solution.
    Thankfully the Internet has people like you!
    God bless :)

  5. Tuan said on October 17, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    I have a trouble with Thunderbird 17 Beta

    Does anyone has problem like me?

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