Saturday, 19 December 2009

Thunderbird 3 - do NOT upgrade! Freezes, hangs, not responding…

If you are using the free open source Mozilla Thunderbird software for email, do not, repeat not, upgrade to the latest version i.e. Thunderbird 3!

I've had terrible problems since trying yesterday to upgrade from Thunderbird 2, with Thunderbird 3 freezing, not responding, hanging, taking several seconds to respond to every click or keystroke.

Still trying to figure it out but as far as I can see, Thunderbird 3 defaults to trying to synchronise all email in all your folders from all your e-mail accounts - which is a bad idea and a half (this default is only meant to operate for newly added IMAP accounts, but in my case it's doing it for all my existing accounts).

That means that the moment you open Thunderbird 3, it tries to download all your Gmail etc. All of it. Talk about taking up computer memory and processing time.

I've tried to untick most if not all of the mail folders (menu Tools > Account Settings > Synchronisation & Storage > Advanced button, untick everything but Inbox & Sent, and even those if you want, then OK and OK again).

But even the process of unticking is proving to be a nightmare, with every untick taking 10 seconds or so to "take".

And it's still downloading the ticked emails… maybe I should have unticked them all, but there we go, I'm going to let it carry on trying to do its stuff for the rest of the day & see if it's faster after it's got everything downloaded for offline use. Even unticked folders seem to be downloading, not sure why, once I make sure the OK has taken (which is literally taking hours) I'm going to kill Thunderbird & restart it.

UPDATE: it took about 10 hours to do, as mentioned it wouldn't let me OK the UNticking of folders until it had downloaded everything. So my tip is, if you are going to upgrade to Thunderbird 3, do it just before you're going to sleep or go out for 12 hours. Other apps on my computer were usable, just not Thunderbird. Then, as soon as you can, go change the Sync & Storage settings to untick what you don't need.


Matt said...

I recommend working offline (via the File menu) the moment you "sense" Thunderbird 3 doing this nonsense upon start-up. It should prompt you to download messages then; just say "No" and it should free up for you to change the settings of your accounts.

gwyn said...

Too bad I found your comment only after my upgrade to TB3. I installed right over the old TB2 and everything went smooth, even though indexing took a while as you described. For me it was only an hour or so and that was totally acceptable, after all it's only a one time thing. UI looks really awesome and has some nice features.

BUT: All the clicks in the user interface took a few seconds (sometimes up to 10 seconds!) and everything was extremely unresponsive. I had no choice but to revert back to TB2. :-( Lucky for me, the downgrade worked flawlessly, I just uninstalled TB3 and reinstalled TB2 and everything was as before.

I hope they fix those problems in 3.1, which is said to come out in a few months.

gwyn said...

Update to my previous post: After some more research I decided to give TB3 another shot, but this time with a new profile. And it worked!

I'm still uncertain why the old profile was messed up. Here's what I did: Made a backup of my old profile (IMPORTANT!) and completely removed the "Thunderbird" folder in my User settings under Application Data. On startup, Thundebird 3 automatically created a new one. Then I closed Thunderbird, copied prefs.js (account settings) from my backup into the new profile and started TB again. One thing to note here is that the global indexing was still disabled in the preferences from my last upgrade tries. Maybe this was the reason it worked now. Anyways, I then synced all my IMAP mail again, which took a few hours, but in the end everything worked and now TB3 is as fast as TB2. :-)

Maybe I'll even enable indexing again and see if it works this time... maybe.

Improbulus said...

Thanks for your thoughts Matt & Gwyn. Mine seems to be working now after the day and a half it spent indexing.. will certainly try making it work offline if it slows down again.

I've had problems with corrupt Mozilla profiles before, in Firefox at least

So for anyone who's not upgraded Thunderbird yet, try it Gwyn's way, it makes sense - and may save you lots of stress!

Anonymous said...

Thunderbird 3 sux, freezing all the time, fucking slow and my address book 3 times corrupt... is pathetic

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem, but I solved it by disabeling my network adapter so I had the time to uncheck Synchronize Gmail account.

Randal said...

I've experienced the same with T3.0 upgrade. One thing I'm not clear about, is the << ponderously slow indexing >> (IMAP?) also copying all those emails from our server to my hard drive, e.g. POP style? Confused about what the indexing does. I think I may have unintentionally clicked a "sync all" toggle, although profile is set up as IMAP, not POP.