I'm using Thunderbird for quite a while now and have successfully ported all my emails - some of them several years old - from my Windows7 setup to Ubuntu. My Thunderbird contains five different email accounts, one of which is a GoogleMail account using two-step-verification.

Now here's the problem: ever since updating to Ubuntu Precise 12.04, Thunderbird keeps forgetting my passwords. When trying to retrieve mails it states: 'login or password incorrect' for every single one of my accounts. I then chose to 're-enter password' and ticked the option to 'Use Password Manager to save password'. While this always worked, it never survived a logoff or reboot. I always had to reenter the same passwords after every logon again and again.

How can I force Thunderbird to actually remember my passwords forever?


Scouring the internet for answers didn't help. I had the idea to purge-remove my thunderbird installation but I feared losing at least parts of my email archives in the process.

Luckily, I found a solution that went almost hassle-free:

  • open Thunderbird
  • go to Edit -> Preferences
  • open tab Security -> Passwords
  • open Saved Passwords
  • WARNING: The next step will erase all your passwords from Thunderbird Password Manager, so be sure to have all of your email passwords written down somewhere or saved by another password safe like KeePass!
  • click on delete all
  • close the window
  • in the main window, click retrieve all
  • when asked for your password, enter it and tick Use Password Manager to save password
  • send yourself an email from every one of your accounts and repeat the previous steps when prompted for passwords

That's it, your passwords should be all set again. Reboot (or logoff-logon) to test if they really stick.

  • you don't have to remove ALL passwords! – Rigel Jan 3 '17 at 19:24

I tried your recipe but didn't work. Instead, I did like the following:

  • Went to my internet provider website (where I paid my internet connection), in my case (in France) it is "www.free.fr".

  • There I login with my "client account" identification + password. This client account is the account where I could see all my subscription to my provider i.e: internet, mobile phone consumption, tv cable etc.

  • After login with my "client account", there is a section "manage my email accounts", so I went to the email account where I have this problem, and login with my email+password.

  • After this 2nd login, I can see several options such as 1) manage your spam filter, 2) modifiy your password 3) increase email stock capacity, and.... 4)manage SMTP authentification

  • So I click that option number 4) above, then it asked me if I want to activate this SMTP authentification, and I click "YES".

And that's it. I didn't even have to restart my thunderbird, because this works instantly. I could now send email without being asked any password, and I didn't have to change me smtp to pop.

I hope this help.


I had the same problem (in linux mint 18.3), however I could't locate any retrieve all button. Here's my workaround: to paste in /home/username/.thunderbird/*.default all the content of the corresponding directory from windows, except for the file pkcs11.txt. Everything worked fine.

I hope it could help someone.


I had this problem for recent load from Win7 TB to new Mint19 install. Successful in getting emails when I typed password, but would not remember it even after trying numerous other remedies. Renamed pkcs11.txt file, reloaded TB and it now works. I can see the saved password/account under Edit|Security|Saved Passwords. Yeah! Now on to the the other 10 email accounts and typing all them passwords.

Thanks for this!

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