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Thunderbird Release Notes

Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1 is a developer preview release of our next generation Thunderbird email client and is being made available for testing purposes only. Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1 is intended for our testing community. Current users of Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5.0.x should not use Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1.

These Release Notes cover what's new, download and installation instructions, known issues and end user support / feedback for the Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1 release. Please read these notes and the bug filing instructions before reporting any bugs to Bugzilla.

Give us your feedback through this feedback form or join us in the Mozilla Thunderbird forums, hosted by MozillaZine.

Changes in this Development Milestone

There is a lot in Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1 that we invite you to play around with and give us feedback on:

  • Message Tags
  • Folder Views including favorite folders
  • Improved New Mail Notification Alerts
  • New Windows installer based on Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
  • Find As You Type in the message pane
  • New combined and improved Add-ons manager for extensions and themes
  • Updates to the extension system to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions

Rumbling Edge has a more detailed list of notable bug fixes.

Downloading and Installing

System Requirements

Before installing, make sure your computer meets the system requirements.

Downloading Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1

The Mozilla Foundation provides Thunderbird for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Windows: Installer

Linux: GTK2 + XFT (no installer)

Mac OS X: Compressed Disk Image

For builds for other systems and languages not provided by, see the Contributed Builds section at the end of this document.

Installing Thunderbird

Once you have downloaded a Thunderbird installer or compressed archive, follow these instructions to install:


Double click the Thunderbird Setup 2.0 Alpha 1.exe installer to start the install.


Once you have downloaded the Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1.dmg file, double click the Thunderbird Disk Image to open it in Finder, and then drag the Thunderbird application onto your hard disk. Drag the icon to your Dock if you want it to appear there.

Other Platforms

Extract the compressed archive and run thunderbird

Uninstalling Thunderbird

To uninstall Thunderbird, follow these instructions:


From the Start menu, choose Control Panel. When the Control Panel appears, double click Add/Remove Programs. Find "Mozilla Thunderbird (2.0a1)" in the list and click Remove to uninstall.


Drag the Thunderbird application to the Trash.


Remove the thunderbird folder.

These instructions leave your profile in place in case you install Thunderbird again in the future. If you wish to remove your profile folder, remove the location described below in the "Profile Folder" section. Note that by doing this you are destroying all of your email, address book data, settings and other information and should you decide to use Thunderbird again you will be starting with a clean profile.

Other Information

Profile Folder

Thunderbird stores your user data in one of the following locations:

Windows 2000, XP Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\Thunderbird
Windows NT WINNT\Profiles\<UserName>\Application Data\Thunderbird
Windows 98, ME Windows\Application Data\Thunderbird
MacOS X ~/Library/Thunderbird
Linux and Unix systems ~/.thunderbird

Extensions and Themes

Extensions installed under Thunderbird 1.5 may be incompatible and/or require updates to work with Thunderbird 2 Alpha. Please report any issues to the maintainer of the extension. When you install Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1 all of your Extensions and Themes may be disabled until Thunderbird determines that either a) they are compatible with the Thunderbird 2 Alpha release or b) there are newer versions available that are compatible.

Known Issues

This list covers some of the known problems with the Thunderbird 2 Alpha. Please read this before reporting any new bugs, and watch it regularly (we'll update it as new bugs are found in the release).

All Systems

  • Prior to installing Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1, please ensure that the directory you've chosen to install into is clean and doesn't contain any previous Thunderbird installations.
  • When upgrading, all your Extensions and Themes will be disabled. This is not an issue, but it may appear to be one (hence its listing here). For rationale, see "Extension and Themes" above.
  • The default dictionary is English-only. Non-English dictionaries can now be installed as extensions from
  • When switching between using a Global Inbox and using an Inbox for a POP3 account, be sure to make copies of the messages into another folder.
  • Message tagging has not been hooked up to the 0-9 keys for easy tagging like the old labels feature. This will be fixed for beta 1.


  • Pasting clipboard images into the compose window is broken in the alpha.


  • Do NOT run Thunderbird from the Disk Image! - doing this will cause an infinite restart loop (the symptom of which is a Thunderbird icon that bounces briefly in the Dock then disappears and reappears, bounces and disappears, over and over). To break Thunderbird out of this loop, open a Terminal and type "killall thunderbird-bin" and press enter. Install Thunderbird to a location you have write access to and try again. When installing on a multi- user limited access system, install it into a shared location as administrator, run it once and then all users should be able to access it.

Linux and Unix systems

  • GNOME integration does not work properly with Fedora Core 3. Users of Fedora Core 3 will need to download and install linc-1.0.3-3.1.i386.rpm. After installing the RPM, perform the following command in the directory you installed Thunderbird into (you will need write permission):

    touch .autoreg

    The next time you start Thunderbird, GNOME integration should be functional.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What can I do to help?

    We need all the exposure we can get. Make it your mission to convert as many of your friends, family members and coworkers as possible. If you're a student, get it distributed at your college. Submit a story to Slashdot and other news sites about the release. Make some noise on your blog. Mass distribution via the Internet is possible -- look at Kazaa.

  2. Why haven't you responded to the mail I sent you?

    Use the forums. The Thunderbird team reads them regularly. We all get a lot of email and your email may get lost.

  3. Where can I get themes and add-ons (extensions)?

    Extensions and themes can be downloaded from Mozilla Update.

  4. Who is working on Thunderbird?

    Lots of people. See Help->About Mozilla Thunderbird, Credits for a list of some of the people who have contributed to Thunderbird.


The following resources contain useful information about Thunderbird:


Contributed Builds

These are unofficial builds and may be configured differently than the official builds. They may also be optimized and/or tested for specific platforms.

Solaris (contributed by SUN Desktop Beijing Team)

Tarball format (README)

Pkgadd format (README)

Other Systems

Builds for platforms other than the trio officially offered by can be found on the FTP site.

Localized Builds

Many localized builds are now produced and distributed by on behalf of their authors. Builds that have not yet been certified as official Thunderbird Alpha 1 localizations are available by browsing the FTP site.