I followed the directions at:

How to update Thunderbird 78 to 91 on Ubuntu 20.04?

to install Thunderbird 91 in Kubuntu 20.04:

Remove the apt version, and install the Thunderbird 91 snap, by choosing the "candidate" channel instead of "stable". This is a very safe way to upgrade, and recommended.

I then tried to point Thunderbird 91 to my existing profile on a second drive by starting Thunderbird from a terminal with the -p switch.

$ thunderbird -p

The error message:

Could not read the contents of /mount Error opening directory /mnt: Permission denied

and in the terminal:

GTK_FILE_CHOOSER_ACTION_SELECT_FOLDER is not supported by GTKFileChooserNativePortal because portal is too old

Unfortunately, moving the profile folder to a different drive isn't an option for me.

3 Answers 3


Applications installed as a Snap are confined, and cannot access hidden files in the home directory of the user. Instead, user configuration is stored in folders in the "snap" directory in your home directory.

Quit Thunderbird and move your ~/.thunderbird folder over, to replace the .thunderbird folder created under your ~/snap directory. On next startup, your old profile will be used.

  • Thanks for the feedback, vanadium. If I understand you correctly, this would require moving the current profile folder to ~/snap ... which is to say, to another drive. I'm afraid that this would be a 'deal breaker' for me.
    – Timoteo
    Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 19:40
  • For most users, the snap folder will be on the partition where their home resides, so your case becomes very specific. Perhaps you could move the top level folder of Thunderbird to the drive you want and link that trough, or mount-bind that trough to the location expected by snap.
    – vanadium
    Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 16:44
  • For those that just want to get it to work: sudo mount --bind $HOME/.thunderbird $HOME/snap/thunderbird/common/.thunderbird
    – dannyw
    Commented Jan 24 at 11:09

I ended up in this thread because I had a similar problem for a shared Windows/Ubuntu computer, where my Thunderbird folder is on the mounted Windows drive. After installing the snap version of Thunderbird (currently 91.3; the other Ubuntu version was 71.x and was not updated), the profile manager told me that the desired drive cannot be accessed (permission denied). This thread gave me the right direction. After changing the snap permissions with

snap connect thunderbird:removable-media

I was able to link to my previously used Thunderbird folder on the Windows partition. Thunderbird works now as before.

  • 1
    This worked for me after updating Ubuntu to 24.04. My profile is stored outside of my home folder at /mnt/btrfs/mail/thunderbord/<profile> and would fail each time with the lock error. Thank you.
    – markrich
    Commented May 27 at 13:51

I decided that I can't do what I want to do with the Snap install of Thunderbird 91 in Ubuntu 20.04, and followed these instructions:


to transition to Impish Indri 21.10.

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