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Simple Thunderbird POP Seed File

Thunderbird 3.* install Wizard has many limitations including its refusal to work unless connected to the internet. It also imposes unecessary restrictions on combinations of accounts and identities. Experienced users will know that Thunderbird can be started with a small set of seed files without invoking the Wizard. This page provides a set of POP seed files together with instructions on their use.

Please Note:

There are two versions: This simple single account version and a more general three account version. If you want two accounts it is easier the remove one from the three account version.

To use:

  1. Quit from Thunderbird
  2. Rename the directory containing your Profiles directory - on Mac this is: Users/user-name/Library/Thunderbird
  3. Download the set of seed files and unzip
  4. Replace the renamed directory with these files and check that the structure is the same as before
  5. Restart Thunderbird and adjust Account Settings as required

To revert to your original settings:

  1. Quit from Thunderbird
  2. Rename the downloaded directory
  3. Reinstate the original directory's name
  4. Restart Thunderbird

To modify seed files:

  1. Do this on a clean set of downloaded files before Thunderbird has used them or it will be very tedious
  2. Carefully edit the downloaded prefs.js file to add identities, accounts, servers and associated files etc - see the note
  3. Install as per 'To use' section
  4. Restart Thunderbird


The seed file sets up one POP accounts and one SMTP servers. If further accounts are required they can be added to an unused seed file or added within Thunderbird via the Wizard with its usual limitations but please see the note. See below for structure and file contents. The prefs.js file defaults to safe values - it does not delete, or automatically download mail from the server. You can change these settings easily within Thunderbird. As long as you don't hit the Get Mail button you will be able to put historic Thunderbird popstate.dat files in place to avoid downloading messages again. Please note that this files contains a line like the following which is critical and may need to be edited:


Directory structure:


The profiles.ini file contains:



The prefs.js file contains:

     user_pref("mail.account.account1.identities", "id1");
     user_pref("mail.account.account1.server", "server1");
     user_pref("mail.accountmanager.accounts", "account1");
     user_pref("mail.server.server1.hostname", "");
     user_pref("mail.server.server1.leave_on_server", true);
     user_pref("mail.server.server1.realuserName", "edit-me");
     user_pref("mail.server.server1.type", "pop3");
     user_pref("mail.smtpserver.smtp1.hostname", "");
     user_pref("mail.smtpservers", "smtp1");

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