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Why is my connection to outgoing server (SMTP) timing out?

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For the past several days, I've received the "Send Message Error" about the "The message could not be sent because the connection to Outgoing server (SMTP) ... timed out. Try again." (I can try again all day, but the problem persists.)

This happens only when replying to or trying to forward a longer message (particularly one with images or attachments, apparently). I have no trouble sending a simple text message of a few words. And all incoming messages, or whatever size or complexity, are arriving just fine.

I haven't made any changes to SMTP (or any other settings) in recent days. I use Bitdefender, but I have it set to only scan incoming messages. I'm using Thunderbird 60.7.1 (just updated today, but problem existed with 60.7.0) on a Windows 7 computer.

This is a big problem. Any advice would be welcomed.

For the past several days, I've received the "Send Message Error" about the "The message could not be sent because the connection to Outgoing server (SMTP) ... timed out. Try again." (I can try again all day, but the problem persists.) This happens only when replying to or trying to forward a longer message (particularly one with images or attachments, apparently). I have no trouble sending a simple text message of a few words. And all incoming messages, or whatever size or complexity, are arriving just fine. I haven't made any changes to SMTP (or any other settings) in recent days. I use Bitdefender, but I have it set to only scan incoming messages. I'm using Thunderbird 60.7.1 (just updated today, but problem existed with 60.7.0) on a Windows 7 computer. This is a big problem. Any advice would be welcomed.
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Matt
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3232 solutions 22167 answers

Probably bit defender being slow in it's scanning of the temp folder where the mail is "assembled"

Try running the disk cleanup utility what comes with windows or do a manual cleanup of the folder

Probably bit defender being slow in it's scanning of the temp folder where the mail is "assembled" Try running the disk cleanup utility what comes with windows or do a manual cleanup of the folder
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Question owner

Unlikely -- I formerly had Bitdefender only looking at incoming emails, but for this problem I also tried having Bitdefender ignore ALL email. No help.

Another thing I tried (also to no avail): Increasing the timeout time in mailnews.tcptimeout from 100 to 200.

I'm really stumped on this one. But it's an occasional big problem because, some times, I absolutely have to be able to respond to or forward emails with embedded images or attachments.

Unlikely -- I formerly had Bitdefender only looking at incoming emails, but for this problem I also tried having Bitdefender ignore ALL email. No help. Another thing I tried (also to no avail): Increasing the timeout time in mailnews.tcptimeout from 100 to 200. I'm really stumped on this one. But it's an occasional big problem because, some times, I absolutely have to be able to respond to or forward emails with embedded images or attachments.
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Matt
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K2nc2016 said

Unlikely -- I formerly had Bitdefender only looking at incoming emails, but for this problem I also tried having Bitdefender ignore ALL email. No help.

Why not? I talked about the temp folder. what goes on there has nothing to do with email scanning. Just general windows garbage collection being rubbish in itself and bitdefender being a slug.

But I will let you get there by yourself.

To diagnose problems with Thunderbird, try one of the following:

  • Restart Thunderbird with add-ons disabled (Thunderbird Safe Mode). On the Help menu, click on "Restart with Add-ons Disabled". If Thunderbird works like normal, there is an Add-on or Theme interfering with normal operations. You will need to re-enable add-ons one at a time until you locate the offender.
  • Restart the operating system in safe mode with Networking. This loads only the very basics needed to start your computer while enabling an Internet connection. Click on your operating system for instructions on how to start in safe mode: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, OSX
If safe mode for the operating system fixes the issue, there's other software in your computer that's causing problems. Possibilities include but not limited to: AV scanning, virus/malware, background downloads such as program updates.
''K2nc2016 [[#answer-1230497|said]]'' <blockquote> Unlikely -- I formerly had Bitdefender only looking at incoming emails, but for this problem I also tried having Bitdefender ignore ALL email. No help. </blockquote> Why not? I talked about the temp folder. what goes on there has nothing to do with email scanning. Just general windows garbage collection being rubbish in itself and bitdefender being a slug. But I will let you get there by yourself. To diagnose problems with Thunderbird, try one of the following: *Restart Thunderbird with add-ons disabled (Thunderbird Safe Mode). On the Help menu, click on "Restart with Add-ons Disabled". If Thunderbird works like normal, there is an Add-on or Theme interfering with normal operations. You will need to re-enable add-ons one at a time until you locate the offender. *Restart the operating system in '''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_mode safe mode with Networking]'''. This loads only the very basics needed to start your computer while enabling an Internet connection. Click on your operating system for instructions on how to start in safe mode: [https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12376/windows-10-start-your-pc-in-safe-mode Windows 10], [http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/windows-startup-settings-safe-mode Windows 8], [http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/start-computer-safe-mode#start-computer-safe-mode=windows-7 Windows 7], [http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/start-computer-safe-mode#start-computer-safe-mode=windows-vista Windows Vista], [http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/boot_failsafe.mspx?mfr=true" Windows XP], [http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1564 OSX] ; If safe mode for the operating system fixes the issue, there's other software in your computer that's causing problems. Possibilities include but not limited to: AV scanning, virus/malware, background downloads such as program updates.
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bezunartea 1 solutions 5 answers

Which port is your SMTP server using? I've had similar issues using the port 465 (SMTPS, or SSL) Have you tried port 587 (START TLS)? I've had better results with this last one.

HTH,

Pedro.

Which port is your SMTP server using? I've had similar issues using the port 465 (SMTPS, or SSL) Have you tried port 587 (START TLS)? I've had better results with this last one. HTH, Pedro.
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Question owner

I'm using port 587.

This is the port I've always used, from way back when until this timeout problem started recently. So that's almost certainly not the source of the problem.

I'm using port 587. This is the port I've always used, from way back when until this timeout problem started recently. So that's almost certainly not the source of the problem.
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Matt--

Nope.

Clearing the TEMP folder (which I do once or twice a month anyhow, 'cause I like a tidy computer) did nothing. Yesterday, and again today, restarting in Thunderbird Safe Mode (and after a warm boot and a cold boot one time each) did nothing. Restarting Windows 7 in Safe Mode with Networking did nothing. Restarting regularly, but with Bitdefender completely turned off, did nothing.

Something happened to/on my computer recently that caused this, because all my email settings from long ago remain unchanged. And I'm at my wit's end -- but reminded me of something that sounds quite similar albeit from a few years ago: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=2982671.

(BTW: I use Thunderbird with my legacy Time Warner account through my ISP Spectrum. It would not surprise me to learn they've recently changed something, SMTP-wise, but their support people deny that. I just don't know ...)

Matt-- Nope. Clearing the TEMP folder (which I do once or twice a month anyhow, 'cause I like a tidy computer) did nothing. Yesterday, and again today, restarting in Thunderbird Safe Mode (and after a warm boot and a cold boot one time each) did nothing. Restarting Windows 7 in Safe Mode with Networking did nothing. Restarting regularly, but with Bitdefender completely turned off, did nothing. Something happened to/on my computer recently that caused this, because all my email settings from long ago remain unchanged. And I'm at my wit's end -- but reminded me of something that sounds quite similar albeit from a few years ago: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=2982671. (BTW: I use Thunderbird with my legacy Time Warner account through my ISP Spectrum. It would not surprise me to learn they've recently changed something, SMTP-wise, but their support people deny that. I just don't know ...)
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Darwin 0 solutions 2 answers

I'm getting the same "The message could not be sent because the connection to Outgoing server (SMTP) smtp.gmail.com timed out. Try again." This has been going on for quite a while. I can connect w/ my gmail account through Thunderbird fine when I first get on Thunderbird, but then when I try to send an e-mail later on, I get that prompt, even when I get out of Thunderbird and restart it, though I can still receive e-mails from my gmail account. What should I do?

I'm getting the same "The message could not be sent because the connection to Outgoing server (SMTP) smtp.gmail.com timed out. Try again." This has been going on for quite a while. I can connect w/ my gmail account through Thunderbird fine when I first get on Thunderbird, but then when I try to send an e-mail later on, I get that prompt, even when I get out of Thunderbird and restart it, though I can still receive e-mails from my gmail account. What should I do?

Modified by Darwin

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Matt
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To diagnose problems with Thunderbird, try one of the following:

  • Restart Thunderbird with add-ons disabled (Thunderbird Safe Mode). On the Help menu, click on "Restart with Add-ons Disabled". If Thunderbird works like normal, there is an Add-on or Theme interfering with normal operations. You will need to re-enable add-ons one at a time until you locate the offender.
  • Restart the operating system in safe mode with Networking. This loads only the very basics needed to start your computer while enabling an Internet connection. Click on your operating system for instructions on how to start in safe mode: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, OSX
If safe mode for the operating system fixes the issue, there's other software in your computer that's causing problems. Possibilities include but not limited to: AV scanning, virus/malware, background downloads such as program updates.
To diagnose problems with Thunderbird, try one of the following: *Restart Thunderbird with add-ons disabled (Thunderbird Safe Mode). On the Help menu, click on "Restart with Add-ons Disabled". If Thunderbird works like normal, there is an Add-on or Theme interfering with normal operations. You will need to re-enable add-ons one at a time until you locate the offender. *Restart the operating system in '''[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_mode safe mode with Networking]'''. This loads only the very basics needed to start your computer while enabling an Internet connection. Click on your operating system for instructions on how to start in safe mode: [https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12376/windows-10-start-your-pc-in-safe-mode Windows 10], [http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/windows-startup-settings-safe-mode Windows 8], [http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/start-computer-safe-mode#start-computer-safe-mode=windows-7 Windows 7], [http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/start-computer-safe-mode#start-computer-safe-mode=windows-vista Windows Vista], [http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/boot_failsafe.mspx?mfr=true" Windows XP], [http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1564 OSX] ; If safe mode for the operating system fixes the issue, there's other software in your computer that's causing problems. Possibilities include but not limited to: AV scanning, virus/malware, background downloads such as program updates.
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Darwin 0 solutions 2 answers

Thank you for this info. How would I know what add-ons are even necessary to have?

Thank you for this info. How would I know what add-ons are even necessary to have?
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Question owner

Matt's 8/24 suggestion to Darwin is the same suggestion he made to me on 6/14. I tried those steps then, and they didn't help.

Something has changed recently -- in Thunderbird, I assume, since I've made no changes to anything else pertinent -- that has reduced my problems, but most of the time I still can't send emails with embedded graphics or attachments or (some days) adding CC and/or BCC recipients. On good days, I can send very simple emails (i.e., no graphics and not much text) if I clear my cache first to get any detritus out of the way.

This is definitely due to something that was changed in Thunderbird a few versions ago that hits at least some people, but I lack the technical abilities to solve it.

Matt's 8/24 suggestion to Darwin is the same suggestion he made to me on 6/14. I tried those steps then, and they didn't help. Something has changed recently -- in Thunderbird, I assume, since I've made no changes to anything else pertinent -- that has reduced my problems, but most of the time I still can't send emails with embedded graphics or attachments or (some days) adding CC and/or BCC recipients. On good days, I can send very simple emails (i.e., no graphics and not much text) if I clear my cache first to get any detritus out of the way. This is definitely due to something that was changed in Thunderbird a few versions ago that hits at least some people, but I lack the technical abilities to solve it.
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Matt
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K in NC said

This is definitely due to something that was changed in Thunderbird a few versions ago that hits at least some people, but I lack the technical abilities to solve it.

You do know that the connection settings are specified by your provider (I have no idea who that might be as you have not mentioned the provider.) If the provider changes their settings then trouble arises if you do not change Thunderbird. Recent US based examples include ATT, Comcast, verizon and AOL. Then their customers come here because they did not understand or read the email from their provider about the change.

Then there are the changes to acceptable SSL/TLS certifying authorities (Symantec messed their nest and was disallowed)

There are also changes to acceptable encryption protocols and ciphers. You are using Windows 7. Has there come a time when there is a new encryption protocol that windows 7 does not support. There were plenty for XP before they stopped support.

It is also common for Google and Yahoo customers to go through a security check and be tricked into turning off less secure apps resulting in them not being able to access their mail. Why so many options? Because I sill have insufficient information to even concentrate on a single provide.

Could you please do the following:

  1. Open the menu Fx57Menu > Help > Troubleshooting Information, then click Copy text to Clipboard.
  2. Open a reply to this post, and paste in your troubleshooting information.

Next, we'll need you to provide answers to the following question:

''K in NC [[#answer-1246584|said]]'' <blockquote> This is definitely due to something that was changed in Thunderbird a few versions ago that hits at least some people, but I lack the technical abilities to solve it. </blockquote> You do know that the connection settings are specified by your provider (I have no idea who that might be as you have not mentioned the provider.) If the provider changes their settings then trouble arises if you do not change Thunderbird. Recent US based examples include ATT, Comcast, verizon and AOL. Then their customers come here because they did not understand or read the email from their provider about the change. Then there are the changes to acceptable SSL/TLS certifying authorities (Symantec messed their nest and was disallowed) There are also changes to acceptable encryption protocols and ciphers. You are using Windows 7. Has there come a time when there is a new encryption protocol that windows 7 does not support. There were plenty for XP before they stopped support. It is also common for Google and Yahoo customers to go through a security check and be tricked into turning off less secure apps resulting in them not being able to access their mail. Why so many options? Because I sill have insufficient information to even concentrate on a single provide. Could you please do the following: # Open the menu '''[[Image:Fx57Menu]] > Help > Troubleshooting Information''', then click '''Copy text to Clipboard'''. # Open a reply to this post, and paste in your troubleshooting information. Next, we'll need you to provide answers to the following question: * Does Thunderbird work in [[Safe Mode]]
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Matt
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Darwin said

Thank you for this info. How would I know what add-ons are even necessary to have?

For the purpose of continuing in safe mode what add-ons you have is irrelevant. Seeing a change or not is the relevant part of the test. We primarily undertake the process because anti virus vendors persist in injecting buggy stuff into the running Thunderbird process and only safe mode will prevent that, both of the operating system and Thunderbird.

''Darwin [[#answer-1246580|said]]'' <blockquote> Thank you for this info. How would I know what add-ons are even necessary to have? </blockquote> For the purpose of continuing in safe mode what add-ons you have is irrelevant. Seeing a change or not is the relevant part of the test. We primarily undertake the process because anti virus vendors persist in injecting buggy stuff into the running Thunderbird process and only safe mode will prevent that, both of the operating system and Thunderbird.
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