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Allow Thunderbird 3 To Display Images Automatically [How-To]

Groovy How-To, Tips, Tutorials

The great thing about Thunderbird 3 is its speed, but you can quickly be slowed down (nice oxymoron eh?) by emails containing images.  Each time you open an email using Thunderbird you will see a Remote Content message stating that there is a security risk in displaying remote content from unknown sites.  The security risk is real. However, if you’re like me and use Gmail or have a good spam filter set up then you probably aren’t receiving any malicious emails to your main inbox.


If you’re sick of seeing a pop-up from Thunderbird saying that it protects your privacy, there is a way around it.  True you can click Always load remote content from But that can get annoying if you receive email from a lot of different people – since you have to repeat the process for every single one.

in thunderbird 3 there remote content popup can be annoying


Here is a quick guide for removing those pesky “privacy” pop-ups for remote content, it’s fast but may require a small sense of adventure!


How to Automatically Show All Images In Thunderbird 3


1.   From in Thunderbird version 3, Click Tools and then Select Options

access the thunderbird options menu


2.   Click the Advanced tab and then Click Config Editor

access the thunderbird about:config menu


3.   You’re alerted with a warning about how dangerous it can be to modify your config.  Click the I’ll be careful, I promise! button.

be warned by thunderbird in the about:config menu


4.   From the about:config menu, Find the mailnews.message_display.disable_remote_image entry.  The easiest way is to type it into the filter above.  Once found, Double-Click the Entry until it says Status = user set, and Value = falseOnce done you can exit, and changes will happen immediately.

change mailnews.message_display.disable_remote_image to false to disable remote content pop-ups in thunderbird 3


Now whenever you access emails using Thunderbird you should no longer ever be prompted by the “Protect Your Privacy” image blocking caption.  If later you decide that you want the extra security you can always go back in and set the value to “true” in the about:config menu, and everything will go back to default.



  1. nimeshgarg

    it really worked……….thanks a lot!!!!!!

    • Monmouth

      Brilliant tip, thanks very much :-)

  2. Vi

    I just had to reinstall TB after a bad virus knocked me out for a few days. The new TB v3.0 through me for a loop at first. Remote images not displaying automatically seems more like a step backward… Thanks a lot for posting this tip. I'm sure I'll be passing it on.

  3. MrGroove

    Excellent! Thanks for the feedback and welcome to the gP community!

  4. dave

    Thank you. You have done a really nice job in posting all the details. The screen shots with the highlights and other enhancements make it easy for everyone to follow along without additional searching.

  5. MrGroove

    Thnx Dave. Welcome to

  6. Mike

    Thank you!!

    • MrGroove

      Your welcome! Glad the tips were helpful!

  7. Paul

    Just didn’t work for me on Windows 7. Green activity bar on bottom right moves but no pictures.

  8. Imran Khan

    Nice one…thanks :)

  9. Andrea

    My problem is that they offer an “always show remote content” button but not a “never show remote content button” and I will forever have to see that annoying popup window at the top of every email from the ones I choose to no allow remote content for. It is mainly ads I am trying to block, not the text of the email. Adblock does not block the ads in emails, unfortunately. Any workarounds for that issue?

  10. mani

    but still i m unable to view can u solve this???

  11. Jezza

    You’re a champion!! That was really starting to shit me to tears!

  12. evidentress

    THANK YOU! I’ve looked for this answer for a whole day and this really worked!! I was tired of using gmail interface and I’m now going to give ol’ Thunderbird a chance again.

  13. Erika

    Thanks a lot! This point was one of the few ones causing me to stop using Thunderbird some time ago. I am now back to Thunderbird as I love its simplicity. And now I also can view emails much quickier.

  14. Heather

    I made the change, but my problem seems to be specific to viewing attached *.png image files. Is there an add-in I need to view these? Above change did not help!


  15. Jason

    Thanks so much, this was really bugging me.

  16. B&E

    Thank you!
    Is there way to get Thunderbird to take on my desktop apperance.
    I set it up threw Apperance Settings?
    I’m visualy impared and need to get rid of every thing white.

  17. Shadoglare

    Thank you!! I had TB3 installed for all of about 15 minutes before this started annoying the living crap out of me.

  18. Weng Lim

    Thank you very much! That paranoid remote content block was driving me absolutely nuts!


  19. Lisa Cratty

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This was killing me!

    • MrGroove

      Your welcome! Welcome to groovypost.

  20. hardabz

    Awesome, Dude! Thanks!

  21. Fairflow

    Great advice. I’ve just upgraded to 3.1.7 and the “always load remote content” link, which used to work intermittently, now doesn’t work, ever. It adds the sender to my address book sure enough but then fails to display the remote content. So I click on “display remote content” button and it gets displayed, but only while TB is running. When I start it again, the questions begin all over again. Definitely a bug and infuriating. I wouldn’t need to use your method (I’m happy to make that decision for new senders) if it weren’t for the bug…

  22. Gaston

    I’m using a Mac and that did not solve the problem. Besides I would like to have all photos opened automatically when opening an email.

  23. khaled

    Thank you. It really works

    • MrGroove

      I hope so :)

      I see this is your first comment here on the blog so welcome!

  24. IJ

    There is a very good reason why display of remote content is turned off by default.

    The reason display of remote images is turned off by default that many spams use so-called “web bugs” (or, euphemistically by companies that use or write them, “web beacons”) to find out who reads their messages. The instant you click on a spammer’s message which has a web bug in it, guess what, it has confirmed that you have a working e-mail address and it can then send you even more spam.

    However, many reputable companies put these in e-mails as well.

    Mine is and is staying off.

  25. AphroMania

    Oh yeah, this is some sweet, sweet advice. Thunderbird ain’t gonna be like dis witout dat!

  26. TG3

    For those who reported that this did not fix their problem, a restart is required under Windows 7 and possibly other environments.

    • RH

      Thunderbird 3.1.4 (and likely later): not needed to restart. Clicking “OK” in Options window then reselecting an email-in-question was enough.

  27. TG3

    To be a bit more explicit…that would be a restart of TB not W7.

  28. glenmaps

    Thank you so much, this really helps.

  29. glenmaps

    Thank you so much, this really helped me.

  30. B&E

    Is there way to get Thunderbird to take on my desktop apperance.
    I set it up threw Apperance Settings?
    I’m visualy impared and need to get rid of every thing white.
    Thank you for your help!

  31. Charles R Gaush

    I’ve tried all of the above but I still can’t see images in TB on Vista Home Premium. I also no longer see the “show remote images” button either. I’ve upgraded to Firefox 7 and TB 7 but it makes no difference – there are NO images.

  32. Dragovian

    I’m having the same problem as Charles: upgraded to TB7 (and then TB8), on a WinXP system, and no matter what settings or fixes I try, no images appear in ANY email. Even enabling the “load remote content” button (which only appears intermittently) doesn’t actually load content. It just makes the button vanish.

    Frankly, I miss TB 1.5.

  33. Khoc.Vn

    It is really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Kevin

    Thanks for posting this, it really helps!!

  35. dan

    Thank you so much! That was really annoying the heck out of me!

  36. John

    Thanks Austin!
    A profile move & update made the button disappear.
    Now it’s gone forever thanks to you.

  37. Claudiu

    Thanks a lot; it worked like a charm!

  38. No-Lifer

    Thanks finally i could make it.

  39. Anastasios

    On mac there is no such option.
    Anyone knows the solution ?

    • JME

      There is, I just did it. You need to go to Thunderbird preferences, advanced, then general. Config editor is in bottom right of the box. From there it’s exactly the same as in the original instructions.

      And I would like to thank the author, I don’t know why TB suddenly started doing this but it was driving me demented. Thank you so much.

  40. svg

    Thank you!

  41. jerry rig

    this is really stupid – messing up with config just to change my settings? this is a goodbye for this email client, it’s like telling someone smoking is bad for them every time they light up a cig….

  42. Jonas

    Hi. On linux TB need to open Edit->Preferences->Advanced-General->Cinfig Editor->mailnews.message_display.disable_remote_image->User set | boolean | false

  43. Michael Walden

    Thank you! This was annoying me to no end!

  44. Maisie

    I’m not sure, but I think I love you! What a time saver!! Thanks!

  45. Edson Campari

    Thank You VERY MUCH
    You are best very easy after you help me
    Best regards
    Keep up the good work


  46. David

    Thanks so much. I’ve looked for an answer to this several times & came up with nothing.

    This worked for me using XP and TB 12.0.1.

    Thanks again,


  47. Rob

    Well, this is my second go at Thunderbird 3. The first time I dumped it and went back to Version 2; but lately I thought I would give it another go. Yep, the reason being that it won’t display images in emails (nearly all of my emails). With Th3 I don’t have the display giving me the option to “show remote content” above, and when I reset the config editor flag as above – it does . . . . . . . . . . . nothing.
    So the version is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike for me.
    I’m going back to version 2 again . . . . . . . pity
    I don’t want to, but Outlook is tempting me.

  48. Andrew Lea

    It worked for me on TB 12.0.1 and Windows 7 Ultimate, but I had to close Thunderbird AND kill thunderbird.exe process in Task Manager then re-open Thunderbird before the change came into force

  49. Tom Sisson

    From MozillaZine (
    “If you can never see remote images because the “Show Remote Images”
    button is always missing check that permissions.default.image is set to 1
    using the config editor.”

    If the Preference Name does not exist, right click and select New > Integer and enter the number 1.

    Also from the same article: You may also add domains to mail.trusteddomains and separate the domains with commas. A domain is, not; this could also be It can also be or or any such valid domain extension combination. Do not use www, an asterisk (*) dollar signs ($), or other regular expressions.

    If it is missing, mail.trusteddomains is New > String. See the website for further details.

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  51. Mark

    Thanks man

  52. LarryOh

    tried the fix for showing remote content using Options,advanced,config editor and setting mailnews etc to False but with no luck, also checked permission and it is set to 1. i have tried four different versions of thunderbird including the latested, with no luck. this thing used to ask me if I wanted to load remote content but no more.

  53. Yair


  54. Mark

    Thank you

  55. Savvy

    Thanx a lot

  56. N-MAN


  57. Curls

    Me too – THANK YOU!!! This is what I needed, and wasn’t finding.

    Why is it so hard to find a list of stuff in mozilla to search through, to find this stuff yourself? But thank you for posting it!!!!!

  58. Bob Forrest

    My wife and I started signing up for different offers which block remote content , I didn’t want to remove all the safety so here’s what i did . I went to address book and created an address book called allow remote content I then found the messages in my trash opened them , clicked on the always allow , which opened my address book to the default , changed address book location to the always allow remote address book and then ok . This way I can review and change my mind about a web site later

  59. Fernando

    Hello Austin!
    Thunderbird shows images when I send an email but when I want to send a RSS post images are not displayed, just the link.
    Thank you.

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