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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

    December 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm

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

    • Monmouth

      July 10, 2011 at 7:06 am

      Brilliant tip, thanks very much :-)

  2. Vi

    December 22, 2009 at 10:18 am

    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

    December 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm

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

  4. dave

    December 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    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

    December 28, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Thnx Dave. Welcome to

  6. Mike

    March 12, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Thank you!!

    • MrGroove

      March 12, 2010 at 5:39 pm

      Your welcome! Glad the tips were helpful!

  7. Paul

    March 16, 2010 at 1:36 am

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

  8. Imran Khan

    April 10, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Nice one…thanks :)

  9. Andrea

    July 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    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

    August 13, 2010 at 12:18 am

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

  11. Jezza

    August 13, 2010 at 2:25 am

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

  12. evidentress

    August 17, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    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

    September 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    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

    September 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    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

    November 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks so much, this was really bugging me.

  16. B&E

    November 19, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    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

    November 25, 2010 at 8:05 am

    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

    November 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

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


  19. Lisa Cratty

    December 11, 2010 at 9:01 am

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

    • MrGroove

      December 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      Your welcome! Welcome to groovypost.

  20. hardabz

    December 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Awesome, Dude! Thanks!

  21. Fairflow

    December 16, 2010 at 5:01 am

    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

    January 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    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

    January 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Thank you. It really works

    • MrGroove

      January 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      I hope so :)

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

  24. IJ

    February 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    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

    March 13, 2011 at 7:26 am

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

  26. TG3

    March 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm

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

    • RH

      March 9, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      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

    March 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm

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

  28. glenmaps

    July 7, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Thank you so much, this really helps.

  29. glenmaps

    July 7, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Thank you so much, this really helped me.

  30. B&E

    July 10, 2011 at 8:01 am

    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

    August 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    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

    November 8, 2011 at 10:24 am

    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

    November 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    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

    January 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks for posting this, it really helps!!

  35. dan

    January 19, 2012 at 9:20 am

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

  36. John

    February 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

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

  37. Claudiu

    March 1, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Thanks a lot; it worked like a charm!

  38. No-Lifer

    March 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks finally i could make it.

  39. Anastasios

    April 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm

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

    • JME

      February 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

      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

    April 16, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Thank you!

  41. jerry rig

    April 21, 2012 at 9:36 am

    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

    April 26, 2012 at 4:19 am

    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

    May 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you! This was annoying me to no end!

  44. Maisie

    May 15, 2012 at 11:47 am

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

  45. Edson Campari

    May 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

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


  46. David

    June 11, 2012 at 9:26 am

    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

    June 21, 2012 at 4:36 am

    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

    June 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

    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

    August 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    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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    March 6, 2013 at 8:56 am

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  51. Mark

    March 13, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Thanks man

  52. LarryOh

    September 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    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

    September 9, 2013 at 11:53 pm


  54. Mark

    November 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Thank you

  55. Savvy

    December 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Thanx a lot

  56. N-MAN

    February 16, 2014 at 9:54 am


  57. Curls

    March 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    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

    March 16, 2014 at 8:29 am

    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

    July 16, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    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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