Thunderbird Recover Email Password

By | 2011/01/19

How do I recover saved passwords from Thunderbird?

Finding saved email passwords in Thunderbird is as easy as going to the Security portion of the settings:

Tools -> Options (Windows) | Edit -> Preferences (Linux) | Thunderbird -> Preferences (OS X) ->

Security > Passwords > Saved Passwords

There you are given an option to reveal email passwords. Eek!


Thunderbird stores account passwords in a database table with the text encrypted all inside your Thunderbird profile directory.

If you are curious, you can use SQLite Database Browser (Mac / Win / Linux) to open the database file which contains the login text.

Navigate to and open the signons.sqlite file located in your Thunderbird profile directory and it will contain a table moz_logins. Your base64 encrypted username and passwords are there.


Note: You can set a Master Password for Thunderbird for added security. I highly suggest this!

PS: There is an excellent Windows freeware tool here as well for recovering Thunderbird passwords which can read any profile directory (Mac, Windows, Linux).

2 thoughts on “Thunderbird Recover Email Password

  1. Clyde W. Stewart

    I needed to change one password for one account in the four accounts that I have. Documentation said to delete the entry in the password file, which I did. When I closed and opened Thunderbird I was asked for the password. I entered it but it was not stored. I was also asked for the password of another account. Sigh… Therefore I deleted all the passwords. When I tired to check email for my GMAIL account, an external logon screen was presented. I logged on to that gmail screen and was presented with an option to allow Thunderbird to use gmail. I clicked on that option. I can now access gmail through thunder bird. A long encrypted password was saved by gmail for that account.
    Now I had to logon to three remaining accounts manually but the passwords were not stored. I sure hope I don’t have to delete and reinstall Thunderbird. I have several hundred emails saved in various manually added folders! I don’t want to lose them!
    How do I get Thunderbird to save the missing passwords!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Clyde W. Stewart

    Eureka! When I deleted the saved passwords and restarted Thunderbird, I was asked to enter the password for the other three accounts. What I failed to realize was that the check box was for the password manager and NOT the Master Password for all accounts. So, I checked the password manager box the next time I was prompted to enter an email account password. This time the password was saved! Problem solved. I didn’t want to use a master password for Thunderbird. That’s why I didn’t check that password manager box at first. Now I’m happy. I don’t have to enter the passwords for my email accounts every time I start Thunderbird. Case closed.


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