How to Fix: Disable Thunderbird Update Notification

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Gary H. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I've come across an older article you wrote which explains how to disable Thunderbird 'new mail' notifications from popping up constantly in the tray bar. The issue that I'm having has to do with a barrage of notifications that tell me that an update is available for Thunderbird. Is there a way to stop this from appearing all the time? "

My response:

Mozilla Thunderbird releases updates once in a while, so I'm am not sure why you are receiving constant reminders to update the program.

There are two possibilities that come to mind:

  1. You've disabled automatic updates and have it set to a manual reminder, and/or
  2. Your Thunderbird is corrupt and you may need to manually update it.

I'll discuss both options below.

How to Enable Thunderbird Automatic Updates

Through social engineering, email is the number one way that malware and ransomware can infect a PC. From a security standpoint, it is not a good idea to defer updates - especially for Thunderbird - and especially when it comes to helping to protect your PC against such threats. Setting the updates to automatic should prevent the constant reminder that updates are available.

To do so:

  1. First, enable the Menu Bar in Thunderbird. You can do this by right clicking at the very top of the Thunderbird window, then place a check mark beside "Menu Bar". The menu bar should now appear.
  2. Next, click Tools -> Options; the Options window will appear. Use the search box at the top right and type in "updates" (no quotes).
  3. You should now see text that says: "Allow thunderbird to ..." then, select "Automatically install updates (recommended: improved security)".
  4. Below that, check mark the option that says "Use a background service to install updates".

That should keep your update reminders relatively quiet. If that doesn't work, try updating Thunderbird manually.

How to Update Thunderbird Manually

If Thunderbird is corrupt, it may not be able to update itself automatically. This may then cause you to see constant reminders to update the program.

Manually updating Thunderbird should hopefully fix the issue - you can grab the latest version directly from Mozilla's Thunderbird website. After you've manually updated Thunderbird, you should ensure that automatic updates are enabled (as discussed above).

I hope that helps.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If you're still having issues with constant reminders to update Thunderbird, there may be something else causing the issue. In that case, I can connect to your computer using my remote support service and look at the issue first-hand. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

About the author: Dennis Faas

Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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nospam_5346's picture

I get this, too. When I click on update, it says my version can’t be updated and I need to reinstall the new version.

Perhaps that’s what’s happening here.

boofunkin's picture

You did not answer he question! While updates in general can be good the latest Thunderbird update sucks!! I too am looking for a way to stop the annoying reminders to update the software. I have no intention of using the ugly hard to read and poorly designed latest version.

I wish these talent-less programmers out there would stop making software that you can only use an configure the way the want you to! It is computer software it should be flexible and configurable!! technology truly is going down he toilet!!

yrochard's picture

With all Thunderbird updates, we lose features provided by plug-ins. For example Gcontactsync is a good plug-in, used for a long time now. With the last upadate of Thunderbird it is no more supported.
Cardbook as well as TBsync do not sync groups from google contacts and are not providing the same good functionnalities.
I understand that Thunderbird support new interface for plug-in but either it must keep the previous interface so previous plug-ins can still run, or it has to provide the functionality lost by the plug-ins which are no more supported.
So I am stil running Thunderbird Version 68 becasue of these limitations, and I do not want to update to the last version.
So the real question is how to remove the notification to update thunderbird when we do not want the update.