Listen to this article now

The issue of Thunderbird not downloading messages occurs when users attempt to connect to a mail server and download their emails, but the client fails to complete the task. 

This problem can be caused by a number of things, such as wrong server settings, corrupt profile data, or an old version of the email client. If this is a recurring issue, it might be a good idea to switch the email provider. For example, you can run an automated Thunderbird to Outlook transfer to move your messages to Outlook. 

However, if you would like to keep using Thunderbird, then continue reading to find out possible solutions to your problem. 

Troubleshooting the “Won’t Download Messages” Issue

If Thunderbird doesn’t download messages, first try restarting it. If the issue persists, make sure that you have the correct incoming and outgoing mail server settings configured in your mail client. Finally, check if you are running the latest version of Thunderbird. 

If none of the above fixes work, look into the following solutions: 

  • Check your antivirus and firewall settings: make certain that Thunderbird or your mail server has internet access.
  • Check your email filters: make sure no filters block incoming messages.
  • Clear your Cache: clear and delete any old messages causing the issue.
  • Disable add-ons: disable any add-ons you may have installed in thunderbird to see if this resolves the issue.
  • Reset your account: this will set all the settings in your account to default and might help the issue.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of these to understand exactly what needs to be done. 

Check Your Internet Connection

This is the very first thing you need to do, as it is the most obvious yet often overlooked. Make sure your device is connected to the Internet and that the connection is working correctly. You can do a speed test to see if the bandwidth is really slow. If there seems to be trouble connecting to the internet, try restarting your router.

Update the Email Client 

Sometimes emails won’t download because there’s an update missing. Head over to Help > About Thunderbird to check the current version of the client. This will trigger the program to check for version updates. Install any available updates and restart the client. Now, check if the issue is solved.

Check Your Settings

Go to the Tools menu and select Account Settings. Make sure that the account is set to download messages from the server. And as already said, check the server settings to ensure the incoming and outgoing server settings are correct.

Try Resetting the Account

If you’re still having trouble downloading messages, try resetting the account. To do this task, go to the Tools menu and select Account Settings. Select the account you’re having trouble with and click the “Reset Account” button at the bottom of the window. This will reset the account settings and allow you to try downloading messages again.

Check for a Corrupt Message

Sometimes, a corrupt message can prevent Thunderbird from downloading new messages. To check for this, go to the Tools menu and select Message Filters. Select the account you’re having trouble with and click the “Edit” button. A list of filters will appear. Check the list to see if any filters are set to delete the message instead of downloading it. If so, try removing the filter.

Clear the Cache

If you’re still having trouble downloading messages, try clearing the cache. To do this, go to the Tools menu and select Options. Select the Advanced tab, and then click the Network tab. Click the “Clear Now” button to clear the cache.


If you can’t get Thunderbird to download messages, look at all the hotfixes and get rid of the most obvious problems first. 

Then, you can try resetting the settings. Go to the Thunderbird preferences, click on the Advanced tab, and select the Network & Disk Space subtab. Then, click on the Reset All Saved Settings button to reset the settings in Thunderbird. 

If this does not solve the problem, then a more complex technical issue is likely causing the problem, and you should contact the tech support team to get more help.