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Thunderbird: No automatic mail receiption with deactivated Lightning and after hibernation?

Since its last major release, the mail program Thunderbird comes bundled with the calendar and task add-on Lightning. Which I ignored at first, then recently disabled. Then I noticed that Thunderbird didn’t check for new mails from my accounts (all POP3) every X minutes, even though nothing was changed in those options. A manual check for new mails worked fine.

At first, I didn’t connect this to disabling Lightning, but apparently that was the cause since after reactivating it, the periodic mail download works again.

I couldn’t find a hint about this connection on the net, so maybe this post helps someone now who encounters the same problem…

Update: After Windows hibernation over night, it again won’t work. Grmbl. What could that be…? At least after a Thunderbird restart, it works anyway (which didn’t help with Lightning disabled)…

Update 5.10.: Version 38.3.0 is said to fix the hibernation issue. Let’s hope that’s true.

Thunderbird: Change Line Height in Folder Tree and Mail List

at-sign I thought I’ll briefly write down a tip that helped me yesterday when I upgraded from Thunderbird 3.1 to the new version 5 (which also applies to Thunderbird 6 and also 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and probably more, given this ridiculous version system) – on WIndows 7, by the way. (This problem might not exist on other systems in the same way.)

TB5 uses a slightly different display for the folder tree and the mail list with a slightly bigger line spacing (which might simply be a side effect of the Calibri font). This may result in slightly better readability, but it also means that there are less mails and folders displayed in the same screen real estate, and since I like to use quite a lot folders to organize my mail collection, this resulted in the fact that not all folders could fit on the screen anymore, and having to scroll is inconvenient – especially since it’s virtually guaranteed that the next incoming mail will be put in a folder that’s currently not visible…

So I quickly searched for a way to change the line height – which is of course possible with the userChrome.css file that’s located in the profile folder1, typically located in C:\Users\user name\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\profile name\chrome. By default, it probably doesn’t exist, so just create it. And restart Thunderbird to apply any changes.

This CSS code reduces the height such that the display is pretty much like in TB3:

treechildren::-moz-tree-row {
    margin-bottom: -2px !important;

Update 23 Jul 14: Surprise! A change in Thunderbird 312 – there were some pixels added somewhere, now it’s -4px instead of -2px for the same effect.

Since this causes ugly lines to remain between the items when moving the cursor across the tree or list, we also add the following which only applies to highlighted lines:

treechildren::-moz-tree-row(selected) {
    margin-bottom: 0px !important;

That’s it. If you like, you can of course use just -1px to reduce the height by only one instead of two pixel rows. (Alternatively you could also split the 2 pixels between top and bottom (margin-top and margin-bottom with each -1px), but then the highlighted line “wobbles” a bit when passing over it.)

Update 6 Dec 2016: Roger (see below) mentioned that this also affects other lists such as the mail address selection when composing a mail – and makes things too cramped there. Solution: Only select the elements you want to change, which are the folder tree #folderTree and the mail/news list #threadTree. Then the code looks like this:

#folderTree treechildren::-moz-tree-row,
#threadTree treechildren::-moz-tree-row {
    margin-bottom: -4px !important;
#folderTree treechildren::-moz-tree-row(hover),
#folderTree treechildren::-moz-tree-row(selected),
#threadTree treechildren::-moz-tree-row(hover),
#threadTree treechildren::-moz-tree-row(selected) {
    margin-bottom: 0px !important;

(The aforementioned mail address selection can be accessed with #addressingWidget.)

Update 2021: For Thunderbird 91, you can now reduce the values for the tree again…

By the way, by now Thunderbird offers an option for display density with Compact, Normal, and Touch settings, though Compact still is more spacious than I like.

And a little bonus tip, an entry that I already have for a long time to hide the folder pane header that switches between “all folders” and some other folder views which is useless for me:

#folderPaneHeader {
    display: none !important;

(And before you add this entry, make sure you switched to “all folders” because you won’t be able to once the header’s gone…)

Code highlighting with ixiter’s Highlighter

  1. more about its location in the mozillaZine []
  2. at least here with Windows 8.1.1 []

I already knew!


Dear Blogspot, apart from your having a somewhat stupid comment system – why do you send me a mail notifying me about my own comment on one of the blogs hosted by you?

Well, at least it’s better than having no mail notification at all…

Pre-order now!.

Sorry for yet another simple web/mail find, but this one just arrived…

Pre-order now!.

Translation: New delivery date – The Adobe CS 4 product family is expected to be available from 10 November 2008. Pre-order now!.

From the newsletter of a software shop on 13 Nov 2008.