How to Change an Email Password in Mozilla Thunderbird

How to Keep Your Email Account Secure

Mosler Safe
Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

Changing your email password every once in a while is a simple way to ensure that your digital communications remain secure. It also prevents your account from being accessed automatically with a previously saved password. 

Mozilla Thunderbird, for instance, will return an error when it tries to fetch mail or deliver an email you have written. You can update your expired password in Mozilla Thunderbird through its Password Manager store, and you can also delete old passwords that have been saved for your account:

Change an Email Account's Password in Mozilla Thunderbird

To update the password Mozilla Thunderbird uses to log on to an email account (using POP or IMAP for receiving and SMTP for sending):

  • Change the password to your email account in the email service's web interface.
  • Close Mozilla Thunderbird.
  • Open Mozilla Thunderbird.
  • Now click Get Mail in Mozilla Thunderbird's main toolbar.
  • Click Enter New Password under Login to ___failed.
  • Type your email account's new password under Enter your password for ___:
  • Make sure Use Password Manager to remember this password is checked.
    • If Use Password Manager to remember this password is not checked, Mozilla Thunderbird will not retain the old password or save the new one.
  • Click OK.
  • Now click Write in the main toolbar.
  • Compose a brief test message to yourself.
  • Click Send.
  • Now click Enter New Password under Login to server ___ failed.
  • Type the email account's new password under Enter your password for ___ on ___:.
  • Make sure Use Password Manager to remember this password. is checked.
  • Click OK.
  • If a Send Message Error message appears stating The message could not be sent because the connection to SMTP server ___ timed out.:
    • Click OK.
    • Now click Send again.

Remove a Saved Password from Mozilla Thunderbird and Store the New Password

To change an email password in Mozilla Thunderbird you'll need to delete the old password that's saved in Password Manager and enter a new one:

  • Select Tools | Options… (Windows), Edit | Preferences… (Linux) or Thunderbird | Preferences… (Mac) from the menu in Mozilla Thunderbird.
    • You can also select Options or Preferences from the Thunderbird menu.
  • Go to the Security category.
  • Make sure the Passwords tab is selected.
  • Click Saved Passwords….
  • Highlight the account whose password you want to change.
    • You can use Search to narrow the choices.
    • IMAP accounts will appear with "imap://" in front.
    • POP accounts will appear with "mailbox://" in front.
    • SMTP accounts will appear with "smtp://" in front.
      Typically, you will need to change the SMTP (sending) mail server password together with the corresponding IMAP or POP (incoming) mail server password.
  • Click Remove.
  • Now click Close.
  • Click Close again.
  • Close and re-launch Mozilla Thunderbird.
  • If Mozilla Thunderbird does not check for new mail automatically, click Get Mail or press Shift-F5.
  • Type the new password for the email account under Enter your password for ___:.
    • To save the password, make sure Use Password Manager to remember this password. is checked.
  • Click OK.
  • Now click Write in Mozilla Thunderbird's main toolbar.
  • Compose a test message addressed to yourself (or a reply to another recipient).
  • Type your email account's new password under Enter your password for ___ on ___:.
  • To have Mozilla Thunderbird remember the new password, make sure Use Password Manager to remember this password. is checked.
  • If a Send Message Error message appears with The message could not be sent because the connection to SMTP server ___ time out. as its explanation:
    • Click OK.
    • Click Send again in the toolbar for the message you composed before.