Is Your Thunderbird Not Downloading New Messages? Try This

Anuraag Singh ~ Modified: August 12th, 2022 ~ Error, Tips, Windows ~ 4 Minutes Reading

Mozilla Thunderbird is an open-source application that allows users to manage their emails, news feeds, newsgroups, and chats in an efficient manner. 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.

Thunderbird not downloading new messages

Despite having several advantages, there are some issues that users encounter often while using this application. Hence, today in this article we are going to discuss one such common issue i.e., Thunderbird not downloading new messages. Here, we will disclose some simple and actually working techniques to fix Thunderbird email not downloading new messages issue quickly and it is recommended to follow the instructions carefully to avoid any kind of data loss.

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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 same.

Case 1: If Your Thunderbird Account is 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 to force Thunderbird to download all messages POP3
  • 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

After that, the Mozilla Thunderbird will download all email messages and synchronize them with your MBOX files. So, this is how Thunderbird not downloading new messages issue can be fixed.

Case 2: If Your Thunderbird Account is IMAP

To download all new messages from your IMAP configured Thunderbird account, go with the below-mentioned steps and fix 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
Note: You can also choose the additional folders that you want available offline.
  • Eventually, click on OK >> OK

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. In order to rebuild a folder listing, hit a right-click on that folder and select Properties then, Rebuild Folder option from 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 causing Thunderbird not loading new messages issue. There may also a bug that may cause the same problem. One can use Webmail to read then delete the “bad” message.


Mozilla Thunderbird continuously checks for email messages every minute and download the new messages bit by bit. However, sometimes due to the disturbance in settings and server, it becomes unable to download the emails or email downloading process gets slow down. 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 the technique accordingly to get rid of Thunderbird not downloading new emails.