Fix the Issue When Your Thunderbird Not Downloading New Messages


Mozilla Thunderbird is one of the most popular platforms when it comes to operating emails in an open-source. The email client allows users to manage not only their emails but also news feeds, chats, and newsgroups in a well-organized manner. The desktop-based email client offers users full control over its key functions. One of the best things about the email client is that it offers multiple add-ons to customize and enhance users' experience.

Even after multiple advantages, users face some problems with Mozilla Thunderbird. Some issues can ignore for a certain period and some need immediate fixation. One such problem is when your Thunderbird is not downloading new messages. In this situation, you cannot work with Thunderbird, The article is going to reveal some easy steps to fix the issue. We request you to follow the solutions step by step to avoid any kind of data loss.

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Steps to Resolve Thunderbird Not Downloading New Messages Issue

If your Mozilla Thunderbird is corrupted or has any issue like fragmentation, you can face the problem. It will not download new messages. The problem can occur regardless of the protocol you are operating your Mozilla Thunderbird account. It can arise when using POP or IMAP. In this situation, you will have to force your Thunderbird to download the recent or new messages. Here are some steps to follow for different protocols.

Case 1: If You are Operating Your Thunderbird Account in POP3

Global searching/ indexing utilizes global-messages-db.sqlite like the search index. The file stores the copy of all the emails of your Thunderbird account. Through synchronization, the file creates the copy of emails from the MBOX files generated. For some reason, if the file is corrupted, your Thunderbird will not download messages or coming messages. If you are using the protocol PO3, follow the given steps to fix the issue-

  • Leave your Thunderbird app
  • Look for global-messages-db.sqlite file that is in your Thunderbird profile
  • Now, delete global-messages-db.sqlite file that is saved in your system to force Thunderbird to download all emails in POP3
  • After that process, restart your Thunderbird app, the tool will begin re-indexing automatically
Note: The total time of indexing depends on the number of emails. It may take minutes or an hour. It is difficult to say.
  • You don't need to stop using Thunderbird when the re-indexing is going on. However, the tool will respond slowly during re-indexing.
  • If you want to monitor how the process is going on, click on the Tools and then Activity Manager

Your Mozilla Thunderbird account will automatically synchronize all the new messages to the MBOX file. It is how you can fix the error with Mozilla Thunderbird when it is not downloading messages.

Case 2: When Using IMAP Protocol for Your Thunderbird Account

If the problem arises with your IMAP Mozilla Thunderbird account, you can fix the issue with some easy steps. Follow the step by step process to fix the Mozilla Thunderbird not downloading new messages issue:

  • Start Mozilla Thunderbird account and from the given menu, click on the Tools tab
  • Now, choose Account Settings and then Synchronization & Storage category for the IMAP account
  • Now activate the Keep messages for this account on this computer option
  • After that click on the Advanced button to force Thunderbird to install all IMAP messages
  • Then, look for the Download option to select the Inbox folder
Note: You have the freedom to select the additional folders that you wish to use offline.
  • In the end, press the OK tab and again press the OK tab

Some Other Ways to Fix the Thunderbird Not Downloading New Messages Issue

  • The chance is that the index file known as ".msf" files are corrupted. It is used for folder listing. You can get back the file. For this, take the cursor on the file icon and right-click to select Properties, and then select the Rebuild Folder option in the General Information menu. You can delete the .msf file in the profile folder manually and then again launch Thunderbird to force it to sink new messages.
  • The chance is that Thunderbird has downloaded a malicious that is preventing to load new messages. The bug problem with Thunderbird may lead to the same issue. In this context, use Webmail to read and delete the particular message to fix the issue.


Mozilla Thunderbird checks for new messages every minute and downloads them. Sometimes, server issues can prevent Mozilla Thunderbird to respond late. We hope that the article will help you fix the problem. If you face the same problem often, it is good to switch from Mozilla Thunderbird to MS Outlook. It is a paid tool that manages not only emails but also contacts, notes, and messages.