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Thunderbird sends message without entering password

  • 19 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 23 views
  • Last reply by Toad-Hall

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If I compose a message, click "Send" then decide I don't want to send the message and click "Cancel" at the password prompt; the message is sent anyway. This began happening about 6 weeks ago, I have tried everything I can think of; I can't think of anything I changed that would cause the problem. I've searched Thunderbird support and found nothing on the issue.

It is an issue because if someone else also uses your computer, they could send "Draft" messages without a password simply by clicking "Cancel" when prompted for a password. Generally nobody else uses my computer so that's not a problem for me; but on occasion I don't notice which account I'm in and will compose a message from one of my secondary accounts. In the past when this happened; there was no problem because I could hit cancel at the password prompt and the message would not send; but if I do that now, the message will send even though I canceled.

DFMM

If I compose a message, click "Send" then decide I don't want to send the message and click "Cancel" at the password prompt; the message is sent anyway. This began happening about 6 weeks ago, I have tried everything I can think of; I can't think of anything I changed that would cause the problem. I've searched Thunderbird support and found nothing on the issue. It is an issue because if someone else also uses your computer, they could send "Draft" messages without a password simply by clicking "Cancel" when prompted for a password. Generally nobody else uses my computer so that's not a problem for me; but on occasion I don't notice which account I'm in and will compose a message from one of my secondary accounts. In the past when this happened; there was no problem because I could hit cancel at the password prompt and the message would not send; but if I do that now, the message will send even though I canceled. DFMM

All Replies (19)

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Are there any saved passwords in Thunderbird's password vault? If the server requires authentication using a password and Thunderbird does NOT have the password, I don't see how it's possible for Thunderbird to authenticate with the server using nothing.

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There is no saved password nor primary/master password. I'm just guessing but I think if there was a saved password, I wouldn't get the prompt to enter a password.

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unimp2 said

I'm just guessing but I think if there was a saved password, I wouldn't get the prompt to enter a password.

You would get the prompt if the server rejects the saved password as incorrect or invalid. I tried to reproduce your scenario and got the error in the attached image instead. This was after deleting the saved password, restarting Thunderbird then trying to send using the test account. It prompted for a password as expected, but I cancelled it instead of providing one. The sending dialog lingered on screen without any progress, until I cancelled that as well, then got the error.

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re: There is no saved password nor primary/master password.

Did you check?

  • Menu app icon > Preferences > Privacy & Security
  • Passwords section
  • Click on 'Saved Passwords'

Is it completely empty ? If yes, there are no saved passwords. Thunderbird cannot send without a password unless your SMTP server does not require one.

What outgoing server SMTP is that account using ? You might be sending from Account A, but is it using Account A in the Outgoing Server SMTP selection ?

If you are sending using an smtp server which does not ask for authentication then a password will not be required. Check your Outgoing server SMTP setting.

  • Right click on mail account in Folder Pane and select 'Settings'

Account Settings will open in a new tab

  • Bottom LEFT pane - click on 'Outgoing server (SMTP)' to see the full list of all your SMTP servers.

see first image to show what area I'm talking about. You should have one smtp outgoing server for each mail account/email address.

  • Starting at the top of the list, select smtp.
  • If the 'User Name' is the same email address as the account you want to use it:
  • Click on 'Edit'
  • Description: use this field to help choose correct smtp server - suggest you type the email address of the account or something very memorable like 'Business'

Make sure the server settings are correct I do not know what server you are using but typical outgoing servers use:

  • Either port 465 with Connection Security: SSL/TLS
  • OR port: 587 with Connection Security: STARTTLS
  • Authentication Method: Normal Password
  • User Name: full email address of account
  • When correct click on OK

Then make sure that account really is using that SMTP server.

  • In LEFT Pane select the mail account name
  • Now look bottom Right for 'Outgoing Server SMTP'

You should clearly see how the 'Description' text is now helping. See example in second image. If you had entered eg: 'BUSINESS', then you should see it. If no, then click on the drop down to see and select the correct smtp account DO NOT click on 'Edit SMTP_server' button because you may edit the wrong smtp server.

If you have more than one mail account, then it should be using it's own smtp server where the mail account name/email address is using an smtp server where the User Name = that same email address. I sugggest you chack all account using the method I've mentioned above.

Then Exit Thunderbird. Allow a little time for background processes to complete and then restart Thunderbird.

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There are no saved passwords and have never used saved passwords. I checked the suggested settings and everything is OK. But I tried some things and there is something else going on.

Scenario 1. As I previously stated; if I click "Cancel" at the password prompt, messages will send. If I then try to send another message, I will get the password prompt again.

Scenario 2. At the password prompt I click "OK" instead of "Cancel." The message sends. If I try to send another message, I again get the password prompt as with Scenario 1.

Scenario 3. At the password prompt, in the password field I input any character, even spaces, and the message sends. If I then try to send another message, unlike with Scenario 1 and 2; I don't get the password prompt. Basically any input is treated as a valid password.

My thought is that something is corrupt, but I have no idea where/what to change to fix things other than reinstalling Thunderbird from scratch.

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In most cases, password-saving issue are fixed by deleting key4.db, cert9.db, logins.json and pkcs11.txt, while TB is closed. Try: Menu app icon > Help > More Troubleshooting Information Under 'Application basics' - half way locate 'Profile Folder' - click on 'Open Folder' A new window opens showing the contents of your profile name folder

Exit Thunderbird now. Delete old previously used files that are no longer used since version 60*: Alternatively remove them to a folder on desktop set up/created to store old files temporarilly.

  • cert8.db,
  • key3.db
  • secmod.db

The above files are no longer used and were replaced by cert9.db, key4.db, and pkcs11.txt

Remove the following files to a folder created on desktop as a temp storage.

  • key4.db
  • cert9.db
  • logins.json
  • pkcs11.txt

When you restart Thunderbird those files should get recreated.

Start Thunderbird.

Modified by Toad-Hall

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In deleting the key4.db, cert9.db, logins.json and pkcs11.txt files; I made several false starts because I used search to make sure I found them all. Long story short I kept having trouble because I thought some files were coming back after I deleted them; then I realized some of the files were from a second user; and from Mozilla Sunbird and Firefox.

I closed all the Mozilla programs and deleted all the aforementioned files I found, then opened Thunderbird. The problem still isn't fixed. At this point reinstalling Thunderbird from scratch will take the least time.

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re : I made several false starts because I used search to make sure I found them all.

You did not need to use 'search' because I gave you instructions on how to get to the correct file directly by using Thunderbird. This would ensure you were deleting the correct files.

You could try an uninstall/reinstall:

Windows search type: 'Programs' select 'Add or remove programs' select 'Mozilla Thunderbird and click on uninstall

Use either of these links to get fresh download: https://www.thunderbird.net https://www.thunderbird.net/en-US/thunderbird/all/

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re. I did not need to use "search. I misunderstood your instructions so resorted to old school. Using Trouble Shooting Information is much easier.

I uninstalled Thunderbird and reinstalled from a fresh download, but that did not fix the problem. Since I'm the only one who uses the computer, I'm just going to live with it for now until I have time to dig further.

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Is it possible that the problem is with my ISP? I'm not sure exactly how the authentication works, but shouldn't an ISP reject the connection without a valid password?

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unimp2 said

Is it possible that the problem is with my ISP? I'm not sure exactly how the authentication works, but shouldn't an ISP reject the connection without a valid password?

That's possible, and at this point we should know who your ISP is, assuming your ISP is also your email service provider. Some ISPs, unfortunately, require no authentication, just a username. What are your current server settings for Connection security and Authentication method?

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My ISP is also my email service provider, but I have been with them for years and never had this problem.

The Connection security is STARTTLS; Authentication method is normal password.

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Who is your ISP?

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The ISP is Spectrum. I did call Spectrum support and was told they couldn't be the problem, in not so many words they are just the conduit.

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According to https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/mobile-email-setup you need a username and password, that is, authentication is required, so if things are as they should be on Spectrum's side, then it's impossible for Thunderbird to authenticate with their server using invalid passwords.

Let's see if you can reproduce this on a new Thunderbird profile. In the Troubleshooting Information page, click the about:profiles link at the bottom of the Application Basics section. This will open the About Profiles page where you can manage Thunderbird profiles. You'll get to see which profiles are currently loaded/in use, create and launch new profiles etc. Create a new profile and give it a suitable name that distinguishes it from the rest, e.g Test. Launch it and you will be presented with a new Thunderbird window/instance that doesn't have any accounts added yet. Add your Spectrum account, but omit supplying a password then try sending a test message to another email address that you own. Let's see if you can send without authenticating with the server.

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If you have a spectrum email address and use Spectrum smtp then Spectrum server will not allow you to use their server without authentication. So, if those emails really are being sent - I presume you have confirmation they really have been sent then you have to consider whether something else is intervening and providing the authentication. Are you using some kind of 3rd-party password manager of the kind that is part of some security suite such as ESET password manager or some addon like StickyPassword ?

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The emails are being actually sent. I called Spectrum support, was told password isn't required to send; the password prompt is only for the email client to prevent someone from sending email from your computer.

As for authentication, that is done when an account is created in Thunderbird and you input the account name and password. After that Spectrum recognizes the account as valid and that's why messages send. I asked why no password or incorrect passwords don't work when I retrieve incoming email, but works when I send; the stock answer is don't know, they aren't familiar enough with 3rd party email clients to diagnose and troubleshoot, they only support their web client. Later it occurred to me that the reason why sending works without a password but receiving doesn't; might be that incoming messages are retrieved from a Spectrum server, but sent messages just pass through Spectrum to the recipient and never reside on a Spectrum server.

As suggested I created a new profile without a password. At the point where install checks for the server name, mobile.charter.net is usually detected; but instead of manually changing the server name to my account's actual server name as I do whenever I add an account, I left it at mobile.charter.net to see what would happen. Even though I never input a password during set up, and my account isn't with charter.net; a test message was sent without password. I called Spectrum back and asked why would a message send even though I don't have an account with charter.net; I was told that charter.net is a valid domain for Spectrum, so my account name is recognized as valid; Charter is one of multiple domains they have because of acquisitions.

Re. a 3rd-party password manager that is part of a security suite; I don't have one installed in my security suite. But having said that; months ago when I updated the virus signatures on my security suite; there must have been an option listed in addition to virus signatures that I didn't notice and when I clicked OK, an add-on toolbar was installed into Thunderbird that apparently had a bug; received messages would automatically be marked as "Read." Uninstalling the add-on fixed that problem. I suppose it's possible that some remnant from that add-on could still be there causing the password problem; but probably not since the add-on problem happened months before the password issue.

Could there be something in the registry related to saved passwords that is causing the problem?

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unimp2 said

I called Spectrum support, was told password isn't required to send;

That settles it then. It's news to me, because all along I have known Spectrum to require authentication as stated on their own website I linked to, but it isn't a surprise because several other ISPs do the same, although they typically make it known that no authentication is required.

the password prompt is only for the email client to prevent someone from sending email from your computer.

I'm afraid that doesn't do much to prevent such from happening. It's a mind trick at best, and now that it's public knowledge that authentication isn't required and anything entered at the password prompt goes, it's pointless to even use "Normal Password" as the Authentication method in that outgoing server's settings in Thunderbird.

As for authentication, that is done when an account is created in Thunderbird and you input the account name and password. After that Spectrum recognizes the account as valid and that's why messages send.

Not only then, but authentication happens each time Thunderbird connects to the incoming server to check for messages. You will see this as a message stating "sending secure login information" on the status bar. For some providers, authentication with the incoming server is required first, before you can send using their outgoing server. In such cases, authentication is not separately required with the outgoing server, but sending won't work unless you've successfully authenticated with the incoming server first. This is, however, clearly not the case here as you observed when you created a new profile. You were still able to send without authentication with either servers!

I asked why no password or incorrect passwords don't work when I retrieve incoming email, but works when I send; the stock answer is don't know, they aren't familiar enough with 3rd party email clients to diagnose and troubleshoot, they only support their web client. Later it occurred to me that the reason why sending works without a password but receiving doesn't; might be that incoming messages are retrieved from a Spectrum server, but sent messages just pass through Spectrum to the recipient and never reside on a Spectrum server.

Typical low-tier customer support knowhow (or lack thereof). Didn't they just tell you a password isn't required to send? Doesn't that literally mean their outgoing server does NOT require authentication while the incoming server does!? It really has nothing to do with third-party clients, but it is easier for them to dismiss the subject because it mentions use of a third-party desktop client instead of their prized webmail client.

Could there be something in the registry related to saved passwords that is causing the problem?

Leave the registry out of this. At this point I think we've determined conclusively that Thunderbird is NOT malfunctioning when it prompts for the password while the Spectrum outgoing server doesn't do anything with the supplied/not supplied password because it doesn't require any. Thunderbird does NOT force the outgoing server to accept any password IF it doesn't require one in the first place. What you need to do to get rid of that password prompt is to set the outgoing server's authentication method to "No Authentication" instead of "Normal Password".

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re : I called Spectrum support, was told password isn't required to send;

It is not required to send IF you have already logged on to the webmail account and using their webmail server to send. You will already have used a password to access that webmail account.

re: the password prompt is only for the email client to prevent someone from sending email from your computer. This really tells me that the person you spoke to has extremely limited knowledge. IF the user has set up a 'Master Password' in Thunderbird (do not confuse this with any mail account password) then thunderbird will not send using the previously stored passwords nor allow access to see those previously stored passwords. The 'Master Password' has nothing to do with actual sending and the SMTP server still requires the account password in order to let you use that SMTP server. Examples where people should set up a Master Password

  • share their computer with others
  • do not have a password to access their User account
  • have a habit of allowing others access to their computer


I've just looked at : https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/mobile-email-setup

   Username: Your full Spectrum email address
   Password: Your Spectrum email password
   SSL: On
   Protocol: IMAP
   Port: 993
   Port: 587
   Requires Authentication: Yes, or checked

it mentions server name and ports and required authentications for incoming and outgoing. Even if using charter server settings. I can only find information which says Authentication required, it is either passed securely or insecurly.

Are you using IMAP or POP account?

Previously, you deleted all the files in Thunderbird that are anything to do with Thunderbird saved passwords.

Do you use Bitdefender ? It does have the ability to store and use passwords, so I would check it out and find out whether it has stored anything. https://www.bitdefender.com/consumer/support/answer/2700/

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