Thunderbird Not Downloading New Messages – Here’s the Fix

Written By Andrew Jackson
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On February 28th, 2024
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

Mozilla Thunderbird is an open-source application that allows users to manage their emails, news feeds, newsgroups, and chats efficiently. It is a desktop-based email client that provides full control and ownership of email messages. Apart from this, Thunderbird offers multiple add-ons to customize and enhance the emailing experience. Despite having several advantages, there are some issues that users encounter often while using this application such as Thunderbird Not Downloading New Messages or being stuck to loading them.

Thunderbird not downloading new messages

In the coming section, we are going to discuss all the possible reasons & ways to fix one such common issue i.e., Thunderbird not getting new messages. So, let’s begin the post, and here are the topics that we will discuss throughout the post…

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Why is Thunderbird Not Getting New Messages?

There are multiple reasons why you might face issues with Thunderbird not downloading new messages. Here are the most prominent ones:

  • Incorrect Email Settings: Check your Thunderbird account settings under Tools > Account Settings to confirm the correct email address and password are entered. Also, verify the incoming and outgoing server names to download the new messages.
  • Connection Issues: Problems like temporary connection loss, and firewall security blocks, can make Thunderbird lose contact with your email servers. Check the internet connection & restart Thunderbird to fix Thunderbird not downloading emails.
  • Corrupt Profile Files: Sometimes Thunderbird profile folders get damaged. Try uninstalling and reinstalling Thunderbird or use Profile Manager to migrate settings to a new profile as troubleshooting attempts.

How to Fix Thunderbird Not Downloading New Messages Issue?

If your Mozilla Thunderbird application is having corruption, fragmentation or any other issue then, it is quite common that it will not download your emails. Well, it can happen in any case so no matter which protocol you are using POP or IMAP. Therefore, you need to force Thunderbird to download all messages and below are the guidelines for the same.

Case 1: Thunderbird not Getting New Messages on POP3

Global searching/ indexing is the global database that utilizes global-messages-db.sqlite as the search index. This file contains a copy of all messages of the user’s Thunderbird account. It replicates emails from the MBOX files generated by synchronization. Sometimes this file gets corrupted due to which Thunderbird becomes unable to download all messages and Thunderbird not downloading new emails issue occurs. To resolve this issue:

  • Quit Thunderbird application.
  • Find global-messages-db.sqlite file in your Thunderbird Profile.
  • Delete global-messages-db.sqlite file from your local machine.
  • Now, restart the Thunderbird and re-indexing process will begin automatically.
Note: The total time taken by application in re-indexing, depends on the number of emails. Sometimes it might take a few minutes to complete the indexing procedure.
  • While the re-indexing process is going on, users can use the Thunderbird however, it may respond slow at that time.
  • The indexing status can be monitored via the Tools >> Activity Manager.

Here you have successfully resolved the Thunderbird not downloading new messages error. In addition, all the incoming mails will synchronize in your MBOX files.

Case 2: Thunderbird Does Not Download New Messages in IMAP

To download all new messages from your IMAP-configured Thunderbird account, go with the below-mentioned steps and fix the Mozilla Thunderbird not downloading new messages issue:

  • Launch Mozilla Thunderbird and click on Tools.
  • Select Account Settings >> Synchronization & Storage category for IMAP account.
  • Enable Keep messages for this account on this computer option.
  • Now, hit the Advanced button to force Thunderbird to download all IMAP messages.
  • Then, check the Download option for the Inbox folder.

Other Solutions to Resolve Thunderbird Not Downloading New Messages Issue

  • It is also possible that the “.msf” files (known as index files utilized to cache the folder listing) get corrupted. To rebuild a folder listing, hit right-click on that folder and select Properties then, the Rebuild Folder option from the General Information menu. One can also quit Thunderbird and manually delete them from the profile folder. Then, they will be rebuilt after launching the Thunderbird application.
  • Thunderbird might be running into a problem downloading a “bad” (malformed) message that causes Thunderbird not getting new messages issue. There may also be a bug that may cause the same problem. One can use Webmail to read and then delete the “bad” message.

Experts Suggestions on Thunderbird Stuck on Loading Message

Thunderbird is an open-source platform with multiple flaws in it. In case, you experience multiple problems with Thunderbird, then you can easily move your emails to another platform with SysTools MBOX Converter.  It is an expert solution that allows you to export your Thunderbird into multiple file formats with complete data integrity. Download the free edition on software on Windows & Mac OS to evaluate its performance.


Mozilla Thunderbird continuously checks for email messages every minute and downloads the new messages bit by bit. However, sometimes due to the disturbance in settings and the server, it becomes unable to download the emails or the downloading process gets stuck. Thus, this blog describes how to fix Thunderbird not downloading new messages issue quickly. Here, we have discussed a few solutions according to account settings and users can opt for the technique accordingly to get rid of Thunderbird not getting new messages.


By Andrew Jackson

I am SQL DBA and SQL Server blogger too. I like to share about SQL Server and the problems related to it as well as their solution and also I do handle database related user queries, server or database maintenance, database management, etc. I love to share my knowledge with SQL Geeks.