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Thunderbird only works in safe mode on Mac - Can't disable all add-ons or reset toolbars and controls

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I've been having a problem with Thunderbird since I got some sort of security pop-up when working in Thunderbird last week. Unfortunately, I cleared the pop-up before taking any information down. Since that time, every time I open Thunderbird, I get "The application Thunderbird can't be opened", unless I open in Safe Mode.

When I open in Safe Mode, I get the option to "Disable all add-ons" and "Reset toolbars and controls" then "Make Changes and Restart", however, after checking the two boxes and clicking "Make Changes and Restart", nothing happens, i.e. it won't restart.

I also tried another suggestion of running chmod on the application files to make them all executable and that did nothing to fix it either. So for now all I can do is run in safe mode and re-customize my options every time. Any help that could be offered would be appreciated.

I've been having a problem with Thunderbird since I got some sort of security pop-up when working in Thunderbird last week. Unfortunately, I cleared the pop-up before taking any information down. Since that time, every time I open Thunderbird, I get "The application Thunderbird can't be opened", unless I open in Safe Mode. When I open in Safe Mode, I get the option to "Disable all add-ons" and "Reset toolbars and controls" then "Make Changes and Restart", however, after checking the two boxes and clicking "Make Changes and Restart", nothing happens, i.e. it won't restart. I also tried another suggestion of running chmod on the application files to make them all executable and that did nothing to fix it either. So for now all I can do is run in safe mode and re-customize my options every time. Any help that could be offered would be appreciated.
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  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_14_6) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/76.0.3809.132 Safari/537.36

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Toad-Hall
  • Top 10 Contributor
1842 solutions 12429 answers

Open as usual in Safe Mode and try this: Help -> Troubleshooting Information Under Application Basics -> Profile Folder - click on 'Open Finder'

Exit Thunderbird

Delete the 'session.json' file Rename the file 'xulstore.json' to 'xulstore.json.save' A new xulstore.json will be created Start Thunderbird

Open as usual in Safe Mode and try this: Help -> Troubleshooting Information Under Application Basics -> Profile Folder - click on 'Open Finder' Exit Thunderbird Delete the 'session.json' file Rename the file 'xulstore.json' to 'xulstore.json.save' A new xulstore.json will be created Start Thunderbird
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Toad-Hall
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Can you run normally if you start Thunderbird directly from the thunderbird executable file located in /Applications/Thunderbird.app folder ?

Can you run normally if you start Thunderbird directly from the thunderbird executable file located in /Applications/Thunderbird.app folder ?
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Question owner

Toad-Hall, I deleted the session.json file. There was no xulstore.json, I searched my whole drive. Same result - cannot open Thunderbird.

However, I also tried opening from the executable and I am able to do that from a terminal window, even without the -safe-mode option, so that is working from there. Now I just need it to work from the dock.

Thanks for the help.

Toad-Hall, I deleted the session.json file. There was no xulstore.json, I searched my whole drive. Same result - cannot open Thunderbird. However, I also tried opening from the executable and I am able to do that from a terminal window, even without the -safe-mode option, so that is working from there. Now I just need it to work from the dock. Thanks for the help.
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Toad-Hall
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1842 solutions 12429 answers

IGNORE: Just in case something is awry with any update: Have you tried uninstalling Thunderbird and downloading a fresh version?

IGNORE: Just in case something is awry with any update: Have you tried uninstalling Thunderbird and downloading a fresh version?

Modified by Toad-Hall

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Toad-Hall
  • Top 10 Contributor
1842 solutions 12429 answers

re :However, I also tried opening from the executable and I am able to do that from a terminal window, even without the -safe-mode option, so that is working from there.

That means the shortcut has a 'safe mode' attached. eg: Right click on the short cut and select 'Properties' I'm not sure what it is in a MAC, but in Windows it is called 'TARGET'. It states where the file is lauched - perhaps yours says something like this: /Applications/Thunderbird.app/Contents/MacOS/thunderbird-bin -safe-mode Edit the 'TARGET' to remove the bit that says -safe-mode (there is a space before that which also needs removing)

re :However, I also tried opening from the executable and I am able to do that from a terminal window, even without the -safe-mode option, so that is working from there. That means the shortcut has a 'safe mode' attached. eg: Right click on the short cut and select 'Properties' I'm not sure what it is in a MAC, but in Windows it is called 'TARGET'. It states where the file is lauched - perhaps yours says something like this: /Applications/Thunderbird.app/Contents/MacOS/thunderbird-bin -safe-mode Edit the 'TARGET' to remove the bit that says -safe-mode (there is a space before that which also needs removing)
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Toad-Hall
  • Top 10 Contributor
1842 solutions 12429 answers

Alternatively, you could remove that Thunderbird icon from dock and try dragging a new one from the Applications window by selecting the Thunderbird icon and dragging to dock.

Alternatively, you could remove that Thunderbird icon from dock and try dragging a new one from the Applications window by selecting the Thunderbird icon and dragging to dock.

Modified by Toad-Hall

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Question owner

I had tried the uninstall/reinstall before, but I did it again. This time, Thunderbird did not find my Profiles (because they were no longer on my machine! - not sure how that happened). Luckily, I had a backup from 8/30/19 so I restored the profiles and then had to use the profile manager in Thunderbird to recreate those profiles.

One correction from the above.....the only way I can successfully run Thunderbird now is to open a terminal window (on Mac) and go to /Applications/Thunderbird.app/Contents/MacOS and run "./thunderbird-bin" or "./thunderbird-bin -safe-mode". I cannot double click on the Thunderbird.app icon in Applications folder. I get the "The Application 'Thunderbird' Can't Be Opened" error message.

I had tried the uninstall/reinstall before, but I did it again. This time, Thunderbird did not find my Profiles (because they were no longer on my machine! - not sure how that happened). Luckily, I had a backup from 8/30/19 so I restored the profiles and then had to use the profile manager in Thunderbird to recreate those profiles. One correction from the above.....the only way I can successfully run Thunderbird now is to open a terminal window (on Mac) and go to /Applications/Thunderbird.app/Contents/MacOS and run "./thunderbird-bin" or "./thunderbird-bin -safe-mode". I cannot double click on the Thunderbird.app icon in Applications folder. I get the "The Application 'Thunderbird' Can't Be Opened" error message.
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