The primary reasons I like T-bird at home are 1) it works well for my more basic home email needs and 2) I recommend it to family and friends -- well except Dad who insists on using Outlook -- as their email client so it is “muy fácil” to walk them through support when they have issues.
Only for the past several months I have noticed that my T-Bird was getting slower, and slower, and slower.
After I would open it up, and started managing the emails that were dropping into my Inbox, it would
- hang up while opening messages in the preview pane,
- hang up while dragging messages out of the inbox and into message folders in my sidebar,
- hang up whenever the heck I needed to do something really important when trying to compose a new message.
It kept getting slower and slower. I use very few add-ons for Thunderbird and even disabling them and running in “safe” mode didn’t help.
Before chucking it all I decided to try one last time on the Interwebs to see if community knowledge could help.
Contextual note: As I post this, I am running Mozilla Thunderbird release version 24.4.0 on a Win 7 x64 system with ample system RAM and i7 core processor. Also had previously “compacted” all my folders as part of regular maintenance and ran SpeedyFox to optimize the databases. I recommend both as part of a regular T-Bird user routine.
After some web-searching I found the following article with tips that seemed promising based on user feedback in the comments:
It listed a number of tips but the second of these made an almost immediate difference.
layers.acceleration.disabled = true
gfx.direct2d.disabled = false
and restart Thunderbird.
To get to these settings in T-Bird 24.x.x, you need to get into a different editor than described in that post.
Go to “Tools” --> “Options” --> “Advanced” (the gear icon) --> “General” tab
…then select the “Config Editor…” button.
Click “I’ll be careful, I promise!” button.
…then (one at a time) type the preference setting shown above into the search bar line and change the preference value to as shown above after the “=” symbol.
In my case, the layers.acceleration.disabled was already set to “true” but I did change the “gfx.direct2d.disabled” value to false.
Next I downloaded and installed the “NoGlass” add-on for Thunderbird. It installs under the “appearance” section rather than the “extensions” but it went on with no issues and the visual difference with no Aero glass for T-Bird was negligible for me compared to the possible performance gain.
Finally, installed and ran the freeware utility ThunderFix as was recommended.
- Fix Slow Or Hanging Thunderbird Email Client - gHacks Technology News
Yes, the utility is pretty old but it does still work just fine with the latest versions of T-bird. Be sure your T-Bird program is not running when you run the tool.
Tip: It is an “installable” program, but if you know how, you can use other tools to “unpack” the installer files and just be left with a single portable exe file to use if you would like.
After all that housecleaning Thunderbird is fast and responsive again.
One more note: after running Thunderfix, you may find your email folders are just a slow to open initially (first time accessing only) due to T-bird having to rebuild the msf files it cleans up. Once you get past that, they are back to normal.
PS: That “W6161X” is a reference I learned about this week to the federal insurance billing code for “bitten by duck” as spotted in this great legal info post. --cheers!