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Mon 19 Nov 2012

How to Stop Thunderbird Showing 'Me' or 'You' instead of Your Own Email Address

There's this annoyingly patronising habit that I blame Microsoft for, where items on your computer are labelled using possessive pronouns e.g. 'My Computer', or 'My Documents'. It's annoying because it is your computer, there is no need to label it, and it is patronising because the computer has no idea who is reading the label - it could be your girlfriend, dog, or even a laptop thief, in which case it should say 'Absolutely NOT your documents'. But it doesn't, it just says 'My' all the time, because you're just a stupid dribbling moron who appreciates being spoken to like a child.

A few updates ago, Mozilla started doing a similar thing with the Thunderbird email client. Since then, messages in your inbox no longer show the email address they were sent to, and just show 'Me' (previously 'You'). This is such a bad idea on so many levels. To begin with, many people have multiple email addresses, and need to easily see what email a particular message was sent to. It's also sometimes useful to know what email alias the sender used, e.g. did they send it to Richmal Crompton, or R Crompton, or none at all. This information is hidden in recent versions of Thunderbird, and you have to ask what possessed them to think this could possibly be a good idea. I suspect they were blindly copying some other email client's behaviour.

Stop Ranting, Tell Me How to Do It

Luckily, it's pretty easy to stop this behaviour. Open up the Thunderbird Preferences dialog in the Edit menu (it may be in the Tools menu on Windows), go to the Advanced section, then click the 'Config Editor' button that appears at the bottom of the General tab. Find the setting called mail.showCondensedAddresses by typing part of this name in the search box. Double click it when it appears to set it to false. The new setting takes effect instantly.

Thank god for that. Can't believe I've put up with this silly behaviour for so long!

How to Fix if Thunderbird is Really Laggy

Thunderbird stores messages in various files within the profile directory inside folders named after the mail folder (e.g. Inbox, Sent etc). Each of these mail files has an associated index file, with the extension *.msf. Sometimes, these index files can become corrupted, which makes Thunderbird lumber along with the speed of an old steam traction engine. To fix this, all you need to do is close Thunderbird and delete the *.msf files. When Thunderbird is reopened, it will recreate the indexes and run along with its usual silky smoothness. Here's how you can delete the *.msf files on Linux (remember to run this only when Thunderbird is closed):
find ~/.thunderbird/w421gy9h.default -name '*.msf' -delete
On Mac, you need to use a slightly different path:
find ~/Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/w421gy9h.default -name '*.msf' -delete
Of course you'll also have to replace the profile folder name shown here (w421gy9h.default) with the actual name of the profile folder on your system - it shouldn't be hard to find.


8:26 pm, Friday, 12 July 13

thanks for the great howto. The "Me" misfeature was driving me crazy ...


12:41 pm, Tuesday, 5 November 13

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It was driving me bonkers!! Followed your clear, simple instructions and now I feel like a grown-up again.


10:09 am, Wednesday, 25 June 14

Thank you !!!


12:40 pm, Friday, 31 October 14

Thanks for the rave, saved my blood pressure which was about to boil. Great explanation Thanks a lot


7:04 pm, Wednesday, 25 February 15

Perfect! I also was about to swear at Mozilla. GNOME3 and all other Microsoft followers on Linux need to stop switching us into into their lame paradigms and even removing the option to easily switch back. This shouldn't be a hidden option in some corner of their configuration parameters, but instead THE DEFAULT, or at least an easy and conspicuous checkbox in the setting tab! Thank you so much for the info!


6:48 pm, Saturday, 12 December 15

Awesome. Thanks for this. One less nuisance item to piss us off.


8:07 pm, Monday, 11 July 16

Thanks for the tip to get rid of this 'me/you' menace.


10:00 pm, Tuesday, 30 August 16

Thanks, good advice. Both about the silly me/you thing and the mailbox index.
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