How To: Thunderbird – STMP Error

Thunderbird server settings

How To: Thunderbird – STMP Error


When sending emails from a GMAIL account in Thunderbird, there is an STMP error and the message can not be sent. This has been working for some time, then suddenly stopped working. It can be intermittent and logging into the GMAIL account directly works perfectly find.

This seems to have popped up in build 91.5.1 and may be related to the relatively new feature that automatically adds the GMAIL settings.

How to fix:

In Thunderbird go to Tools -> Account Settings. Choose the impacted account then click on Server Settings.

In my case it looked like this:

Thunderbird server settings

Note the problem is the “Authentication Method”. OAuth2 was a legacy setting from a previous automatic setting, although it is the more secure setting and really should be the default. Change that to the preferred (by Thunderbird) ‘Normal Password’ setting, then close the window and test it out.

Thunderbird fixed authentication settings

This should work without even restarting Thunderbird! Although it is possible the password might need to be re-entered and saved. Thunderbird will have a pop-up asking for this information.

How to fix: Failed due to unexpected error 80004005. No description is available

Google Less secure app access

How to fix: Failed due to unexpected error 80004005. No description is available

Background: This error message comes up in Mozilla’s Thunderbird when using an Google hosted email account (Gmail, or a Google hosted domain/mail server that piggy backs off go Gmail,). “Failed due to unexpected error 80004005. No description is available” is technically either a password or security error message.
Various forums have tried to troubleshoot this error message but failed in my case.

In my case, this is actually a common error message. I have 8 email accounts setup through Thunderbird. When I travel or work remotely Google frequently kicks back this error message when I connect to a new, unknown, wireless network for the first time. 95% of the time just waiting five or ten minutes “fixes” the error message. The other 5% of the time I have to go into the security settings for that specific email address, and tell it that yes, that is indeed me logging in.

What you need to do is instead turn on “less secure app access.” Occasionally Google will flip this as it tries to make your account more secure (which is good,) but it breaks Thunderbird.

To do this go into Security settings:

Google Security Setting Menu

Then go to Less Secure App Access:

And turn it to “On” despite Google’s warnings.

This fixed for me!

Other troubleshooting steps I took:
– Re-entered the account password a billion times
– Told Gmail security that this is indeed my device
– Deleted (multiple) saved passwords for the account in Thunderbird’s Password Manager
– Changed the smtp server from to
– Deleted the recreated the account in Thunderbird

Thunderbird RSS Feed Fix

Thunderbird RSS Feed Fix

I love Thunderbird for reading emails, and keeping track of my RSS feeds.

But for some reason RSS tends to become corrupted. I don’t believe it’s necessarily Thunderbird’s fault, although it seems a bit pickier about feeds that are correctly crafted then other RSS readers.

A clue that there is a problem is RSS feeds simply stop receiving any new messages. When looking at the feed it appears that it is no longer subscribed. Deleting the feed and resubscribing fails with a message stating that the feed is already subscribed.

In cases like this the only fix seems to be to manually delete the feed.

In Windows do this by going to: C:Documents and SettingsUserNameApplication DataThunderbirdProfileswsfdfsgb.defaultMailFeeds

The part after profiles, in this case wsgjbxgb.default, will be different on each machine. In some cases there might even be two files that both have .default in them. If so, the newest one is usually correct.

On Macintosh, these files are located in /Users/username/Library/Thunderbird/profiles/wsfdfsgb.default/Mail/News & Blogs/

Once in the correct folder, simply delete all files with the name of the site that you’re pulling feeds from. Note that this will also delete any saved articles you might have kept, so be sure to back those up within Thunderbird.

After deleting the files, restart Thunderbird and re-add the feeds. Everything should be working now!


How To: Change Default Mail Client on OSX

How To: Change Default Mail Client on OSX 

When I moved away from Entourage to Thunderbird I had a huge issue with mailto: html links still attempting to open Entourage to send emails. OS X itself simply does not provide a simple way to change this default behavior.

So, the trick is to open OS X’s Mail Client and use that. Simply create a dummy account, it doesn’t matter what info you put in as you won’t be using it. Once Mail is opened, go to Preferences then click on the General Tab. There will be a “Default Mail Reader” drop down menu. Choose your default client (even Firefox or Safari if you have something like Zimbra or another web mail) and exit the client.

The other, and possibly better trick if you’re going to make this change across multiple computers such as an entire Enterprise setup is to edit one of the plist files.

In ~/Library/Preferences/ look for



Just under

Options for mail client would be com.mozilla.firefox or or the preferences name of any other mail client. These can easily be found in the same folder. Once this is done, mailto: links will then open in your preferential mail client!

How To: Create and Import vcf VCards

How To: Create and Import vcf VCards

VCards are simply virtual business cards used to exchange contact information. They are easily recognizable with the .vcf file extension. Vcards have rapidly become a universally excepted way of transferring contact information between devices. They can be sent to most phones such as Blackberries and iPhones, or to all the popular Email programs and multiple contact collection programs.

The first step in creating a VCard is actually the hardest. Below is an example of my own VCard:

FN:Rick Hamell

As can be seen it shows all the important contact info that would be found in any contact program. In addition to Email addresses it includes my phone number and URL to my website.

Many programs such as Apple’s Address Book, or Microsoft Outlook will allow exporting a contact to a VCard file. They can also be edited with a text file as long as the conventions in structure are observed. The easiest method is to use an online generator. I prefer but the one at is more streamlined and compatible. Keep in mind that while MOST programs should read all the fields in a VCARD, some will drop fields such as second and third email addresses.

After creating a card the next step is to import it in to the preferred Contact Program.

Microsoft Outlook:

  • Click on File menu, then choose Import And Export.
  • Click to select the Import a vCard file (*.vcf) check box, and then click Next.
  • Select the vCard file, and then click Open.

Microsoft Entourage:

  • Open Entourage
  • Click on Address Button
  • Drag .VCF file to upper right hand window of Entourage

Apple Address Book:

  • Simply Double Click on the .VCF Card

Mozilla Thunderbird:

  • Attach VCard in Email to self
  • Click on VCard
  • Click OK in “New Card for” Dialog Box

Keep in mind that VCards only really work well with one contact at a time. This is not the way to export or import a fully populated address book. Also, it’s best to be careful where the file goes as it could be used for malicious purposes. Only send the file out to people known to you.