Cannot receive messages

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  • Revision id: 153726
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  • Creator: Matt
  • Comment: modified the content relating to software update and firewalls. The note was not being read based on support forum comments.
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This article provides troubleshooting information when you have problems receiving messages. If you have problems sending messages, see Cannot send messages.

Is your account configured correctly?

To look at the settings for an account, select ToolsEdit > Account Settings in the Thunderbird menu bar, or click the Application menu button New Fx Menu and select OptionsPreferences and Account Settings from the sub-menu, then select Server Settings for the account name from the list on the left. The connection to the incoming mail server is configured at the top of the page on the right.


Your email account provider can give you connection information about their servers (probably on their website). Make sure your account settings match these settings.

See also:

Did your ability to receive mail suddenly stop? Was it working before?

  • Check the service status of your ISP. (Many ISPs have a status or alert page on their website.) They may be having technical difficulties.
  • If your ISP provides a web-based email interface, try to log in and view your mail. If you can see your messages, the problem is probably related to your account configuration.
  • If you cannot log in to your ISPs web-based email interface, your password may have changed. If so, it must also be changed in Thunderbird. To change your password:
    • At the top of the Thunderbird window, click the Tools menu and select OptionsIn the menu bar, click the Thunderbird menu and select PreferencesAt the top of the Thunderbird window, click the Edit menu and select Preferences, or click the menu button New Fx Menu fx57menu and choose OptionsPreferences.
    • On the Security panel, click on the Passwords tab and then click Saved Passwords....
    • Click on the relevant account and then click Remove.
    • Close and re-open Thunderbird. You will be prompted to enter a new password for the account.
  • If you recently updated Thunderbird. It is relatively common for the firewall component of many internet security suites to block the access of the new version of Thunderbird to the internet. This manifests in folders other than the inbox in IMAP connected accounts disappearing and issues that report back errors with connecting to the remote server. The result in all cases is the same however, no new mail appears. There is some basic information about anti virus product and their known bad interactions with thunderbird here.

Removing Thunderbird from your firewall program's list of trusted or recognized programs, then add it back manually or when prompted will often resolve this problem. Otherwise it is suggested you consult the documentation for your security suite/ firewall / anti virus for instructions on how to modify the firwall component of that product.

Are you receiving some emails but not others?

  • Does your ISP have a spam filter that might be holding or deleting messages on the server?
  • Have you created filters in Thunderbird that might be mis-filing messages?