Mar 3, 2008

FAQ about Gmail IMAP Account Setup

I have been asked many questions about Gmail IMAP Account Setup. This post shows frequently asked questions and answers. Please read them before you ask me. The extension set up by following the Google's recommended settins. So, I strongly recommend that you refer to the page, too.

Q1. Why does the extension set the delete model to "Mark it as deleted", instead of "Move it to the Trash folder"?

To mark a message in a folder as deleted means remove the label from the message. On the other hand, to move it to the trash means remove all labels attached to it and move it to the trash. If you set the option to "Move it to the Trash folder", messages will be completely removed even if you only want to remove the copies of the messages. It is very risky setting.

Q2. Why do you recommend not to enable the junk mail control of Thunderbird?

The junk mail control download and analyzes a message to judge the message is a spam or not on IMAP. This will slow down Thunderbird. Moreover, I think there are only a few cases when Thunderbird's spam filter is need to classify a message because Gmail has a smart spam filter. It is not worth lowering the performance of Thunderbird for such cases.

Q3. Why does the extension set not to save a sent message to a sent folder?

A sent message is automatically saved in Gmail and it appears in the Sent and All mail folders when you send it by Gmail's smtp server: or So, Thunderbird should not save a sent message.

Q4. Is it possible to synchronize Gmail's labels and Thunderbird's tags?

Gmail's labels are converted to folders and are passed to Thunderbird when Thunderbird accesses to Gmail by IMAP. In order to synchronize labels and tags, Thunderbird should find folders where a message is saved for all messages. Moreover, it should be done periodically because labels may changed on Gmail. I'm not going to make such extension because this will slow down Thunderbird.

Q5. Is it possible to synchronize colors of Gmail's labels and ones of Thunderbird's folders?

By the same reson of Q4, Thunderbird cannot retrieve any color information from IMAP data. It is not possible to synchronize them.

Q6. I already have an account set up by not using the extension. How do I set a star icon to the starred folder?

Please set up by following steps:
  1. Install Gmail IMAP Account Setup and restart Thunderbird
  2. Right-click on the starred folder and select "Copy Folder Location"; it copies the URI of the folder to a clipboard
  3. Open Config Editor
  4. Create "mail.server.serverXXX.gmailimap_starred" key and paste the copied URI to its value
  5. Restart Thunderbird
Please note that you should rewrite the serverXXX by the server key of your account.

Q7. A message said it failed to set up folders. What should I do for it?

Set up the drafts, send, and spam folders by refering to the Google's recommended setting page. For setting up the starred folder, see Q6. For the trash folder, create "mail.server.serverXXX.gmailimap_trash" key and set the folder URI by the same way for a starred folder in Q6. In addition to that, search "mail.server.serverXXX.trash_folder_name" and correct the value by the trash folder name.

This message is shown when a locale for your language is not included in the package. If you are interested in translating the extension, please contact me.


Martijn said...

I have followed your directions in Q6, but without succes. My Gmail is dutch. Any solutions?

h.ogi said...

Do you set correct server key? That is a solution for adovanced users who can find server key and modify pref.js.

Another solution is removing the account and setting up the account by using the wizard.

Martijn said...

Sorry, not your fault. I discovered that my Mail Tweak add on conflicted with yours. Thanks for your help.

Anonymous said...

Bug Report:
TB 2.16, Google Imap 2.100, WinXP SP2

when I change the setting of delete to "move it to the trash folder", it breaks the icon for my [gmail]/trash. when I change it back to "mark it as deleted", the icon returns.

Anonymous said...

sorry, the I used the google contact version 2.100 in place of gmail imap version which is 1.4.50.

Thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

the above problem is solved. I set the trash_folder_name to "[Gmail]/Trash", closed TB and then erased [imap]/Trash from gmail ui. :)

Andreas said...

I am a Seamonkey-Mail (on Puppy Linux) user and came across your add-on on seamonkey's official website. But the add-on seems to be incompatible with seamonkey (1.1.11) since I didn't succeed in installing (tells me "missing script" or similar). Is there some way of installing this fabulous add-on also an seamonkey?

h.ogi said...

Sorry, Seamonkey is not supported. The page is wrong.

Will said...

I have Gmail IMAP installed for two accounts. Thunderbird keeps asking me for passwords to the accounts on a sporadic basis, despite using the password manager. Any ideas?

h.ogi said...

It happens on my PC but I don't have any solutions so far. It seems that it is a problem in Google or Thunderbird and maybe both.

Anonymous said...


How hard would it be to modify this plugin to support a different IMAP setup ? My university has an IMAP server with SSL and whatnot, and needs a maildir specified - maybe you can suggest a better way to do this?

There is new autoconfig code promised for Tbird3 - havent seen any for imap yet. LDAP addressbook setup would be great too.

A general plugin framework to support this for ISP's and universities would be pretty cool.


h.ogi said...

To: Matt

You can customize the account without using an extension scheme. Please refer to the following link:

I made Gmail IMAP Account Setup because Gmail's settings are different in each languages and the configuration does not match for Gmail.

Olivier said...

Hi, your extension is very useful. It allowed me to setup my G-Apps mail on both my laptop and desktop, which I did manually at first. Unfortunately, the autoconfig somehow "removed" TB's ability to check folders for new messages. I verified mail.check_all_imap_folders_for_new is still "true", and it is. Do you have any idea ? Thx

Anthony said...

I love your Gmail IMAP extension but there's a couple of small issues I noticed with it...

1. It wants to use a new mail.server.server#.gmailimap_trash pref to store the [Google Mail]/Bin path (this is so that it can style the Bin icon correctly) - I think it should use the standard mail.server.server#.trash_folder_name pref and default to "Trash" if it doesn't exist - that way it follows standard Thunderbird behaviour and there's only one preference governing Bin behaviour and styling. See:

2. The mail.server.server#.gmailimap_starred pref doesn't seem to get set by the extension, hence no star on the [Google Mail]/Starred folder.

3. In terms of server/folder settings, there needs to be a UI to apply the following settings to all "Identities" on a configured Gmail IMAP account:
(a) Settings/Outgoing Server (SMTP)
(b) Copies & Folders/When sending messages/Place a copy in
(c) Copies & Folders/When sending messages/Place a copy in/Other/[Selection]
(d) Copies & Folders/When sending messages/Place a copy in/Other/[Selection]
(e) Copies & Folders/Drafts and Templates/Keep message drafts in/Other
(f) Copies & Folders/Drafts and Templates/Keep message drafts in/Other/[Selection]

Changing these settings manually is OK when you only have two or three identities, but it's quite a task when there's more involved and you usually miss a couple.

Thanks for your great work!

Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read that blog. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Lindsay said...

I have Gmail IMAP installed for two accounts. Thunderbird keeps asking me for passwords to the accounts on a sporadic basis, despite using the password manager. Any ideas?

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