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Images Missing from Thunderbird Emails?

Missing imagesAre your images missing from Thunderbird emails? And is the text showing up in a strange-looking font with lots of bold? This, and other differences in email appearance, can occur if you accidentally change the display setting of emails. There’s a few settings that could have caused this. We’ll list the most common based on the specific issue you’re experiencing.

No images, strange font, and code

If your Thunderbird email message is displaying strange-looking code (tags) after each link, images are missing (it looks like images have been stripped out), and the font appears different, or bold, then you’ve most likely changed the message body view inadvertently. To switch it back, simply:

  • Browse to View -> Message Body As -> and select Original HTML.

Email message looks fine, but doesn’t contain images

If the rest of your Thunderbird email message looks okay, but is missing images, or they appear to have been stripped out, it’s very possible that you’ve changed a setting that won’t let attachments (ie. pictures) appear inline (within the message body). To change this back, simply:

  • Browse to View -> and select Display Attachments Inline.

I changes the above settings, but images still won’t appear

If you made the above changes to your Thunderbird settings and images still aren’t appearing in some of your messages, it may be that Thunderbird is blocking them because it thinks they are spam. To adjust your privacy settings and prevent the images from being stripped out, or not displaying at all (ie. being blocked), simply:

  • Click on the button to the above right of the email message asking you whether you would like to load images.
  • If the email message is from a trusted sender, you can click the link above the message specifying you would always like to load images in messages from this particular sender.

If you’re still having troubles, or your changes aren’t being saved (ie. next time you open Thunderbird the images won’t display again) you can directly specify the default format Thunderbird should display email messages as in the config editor. To access it, simply:

  • Browse to Tools -> Options -> Advanced tab -> Config Editor
  • Search for mail.default_html_action and make sure it is set to 3 (allow original HTML). If you would like messages to open as text only (more secure, but you won’t see images, change the setting to 1).

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About Alex Schenker
Alex bring a series of in-depth articles on search marketing and content management systems as well as troubleshooting tips to We Rock Your Web's collection. He is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs, Bella and Lily.
  • Medicalbird

    Problem solved by doing:

    – Go to Options > Privacy
    – Select Allow external content in messages

  • Dan Meek

    I followed all of the suggestions. I even created a new blank profile. Still, no images in messages. This just started happening when I updated to TBrid 38. So I went back to TBird 28. Still no images.

  • Dan Meek

    None of your suggestions work.

    • I’m sorry Dan, we will keep our eyes open for more suggestions for you.

  • Mike Moldenhauer

    Thunderbird is good for stuff when images don’t show.

  • Anonymous

    None of the suggestions above worked–only the change to “no proxy.” Thank you.

  • LP

    With Thunderbird 31.1.2 I had to go to Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy -> Tick “Allow remote content in messages”

    • Thank you for informing us of the steps to take for 31.1.2. It will be very helpful to our community.

    • Glen Paton

      Yes, yes, yes! How Exciting, this worked! I have tried many help sites and every fix suggested, but this was the fix that allowed emails with embedded images to be on-forwarded to other email addresses.

  • josephsteven

    Using TBird 24.6 on Mac, I cannot get images in signatures to appear for new or reply email messages (shown stripped out ‘broken’) although they appear as expected in docs and htm file. Please advise.

    • Hi Joseph, did you try this?
      Browse to View -> Message Body As -> and select Original HTML.

      • Alicia Katz Pollock

        When I’m in a reply, the View menu doesn’t have this option. When I’m in the original email, it’s already set that way.

    • Alicia Katz Pollock

      I have the same problem.

  • Joe B

    I tried every fix up here to get images to load and none of them worked. Ever since I upgraded to 24.1, I haven’t had any images showing. Truth is, if you want the images, reinstall 1.1 or one of the earlier versions. They seem to work a lot better.

  • Signature Switch plug-in user

    If you use images in saved T-bird signatures and the text displays while the images do not, check to be sure you haven’t accidentally broken the link between T-bird and the file on your hard drive where the signature resides. I use the Signature Switch plug-in and have multiple signatures with images.

    Thanks to a right arm injury, I was struggling to mouse left-handed. Accidentally started a “Move File To” sequence somehow that I discovered when I tried to find another file in My Documents. Had to find and move files back to their proper original locations. Luckily in this case, they were easy to find.

    And then the images showed up again in the signatures.

  • June

    I tried all of the above suggestions and still cannot view the image in the body of the email.

    Ugh, so frustrated!

    Viewing as original html, “mail.default_html_action is set to 3, no proxy – none of this worked! HELP!

  • Dr

    Thanks for the help with Thunderbird !!!

  • Anonymous

    Thank You 🙂 “View message body as original HTML” worked for me.

    Must be my baby pressing all the buttons! lol 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I had this problem too. All the tips don’t help, but they give me a new idea: Check the firewall. And that’s the solution. Some weeks ago my firewall (Kerio) lost it’s configuration, so I generated new rules and forgot to open the ports 80 (http) and 443 (https) for Thunderbird.

    Hope that will help others also.

    • We Rock Your Web

      Excellent tip, thanks for taking the time to share with our readers!

  • Anonymous

    Just add the line and path in your html code. Ie:

    Good luck!


    GreenTree Information Technology

  • Anonymous

    This always appears now, but never used to. I use a Mac and there is no tool-option to click on. How do I stop this?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this. My problem with images started in November 2010 right after an update to Mozilla installed. I’ve tried a lot of other fixes and this is the one that worked.

  • Anonymous

    In Thunderbird version 3.1.4 I had images that were part of a link to a website not showing up in emails. I found that some how my Connection Settings (Tools->Options->Network & Disk Space->Connection->Settings) had been set to “Use system proxy settings.” Thing is I don’t use a proxy. Once I changed this setting to “No Proxy” and restarted Thunderbird my problem was solved. Hope this helps someone else.

    It works for me!

    • Anonymous

      My proxy settings were also changed mysteriously! Thanks for the tip — this worked for me.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks, proxy settings fixed mine too.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks – changing to no proxy let me see the images in my mail again. Thanks again.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, for the tip. This worked for me. Not sure how it got set this way.

    • Anonymous

      I have had this problem for months and tried dozens of fixes . . . only your “No Proxy” solution worked . . . Many thnx ++++++++++

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much!! I tried everything else but this was the only thing that worked.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the fix. After spending ages looking your suggestion worked. Yours was a great suggestion so thanks again!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks. “No Proxy” solved it.

      Had to restart TB, not refresh (F5)…

    • anonymous

      Yes, thank you, this solved my problem…I have been searching everywhere for an answer to this issue.

      • So glad your problem is solved! Thanks for telling us about your success!

  • Anonymous

    In Thunderbird version 3.1.4 I had images that were part of a link to a website not showing up in emails. I found that some how my Connection Settings (Tools->Options->Network & Disk Space->Connection->Settings) had been set to “Use system proxy settings.” Thing is I don’t use a proxy. Once I changed this setting to “No Proxy” and restarted Thunderbird my problem was solved. Hope this helps someone else.

    • Anonymous

      Worked for me. Thanks for the tip.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks…When I upgraded to 3.1.4 my settings were changed, too. Clicking No Proxy fixed it. Now I can see the images!

    • Anonymous

      Not sure how this setting got changed but glad you figured it out. Happily TB is back to its old awesome self. Thanks again.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I have been trying to solve this mystery of no images for a few weeks now and thought I had tried most solutions to no avail. You suggestion was the one that worked. I almost have tears in my eyes in gratitude of your helping me fix this annoying problem. Thanks so much for sharing. I hope others find this suggestion helpful….

      With sincere thanks,


    • Anonymous

      I think a virus did this to me. I had a similar issue with all the browsers programs. Anyway, checking no proxy was an instant fix.

      Never thought I’d be pleased to see an ad graphic but I was.

      Thanks very much

      3.16 on Windows XP


  • Anonymous

    Bottom line – it doesn’t work. If you want to see your images inline without having to click on every stinkin’ one, use a different client. Until Mozilla comes out with an add-in, everything you will read on the net does not work. This client is garbage.

  • Anonymous

    I followed these steps to get my Thunderbird images back. Now I hope there will be no problem with my pool store website anymore. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    My problem was not being able to insert inline images without an extra step of Options>format>Rich text only (listed when composing an email). Almost every time I composed a note with inline images, I would forget that last step and the images would not send. It has been maddening.

    The above fix, “mail.default_html_action is set to 3”, seems to have removed the need for that last step. Inline images are now sending. Still not as clean and easy as OE or Windows Mail, but I can’t use either with Windows 7.

    Thanks for posting the fix above.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve done everything listed in these threads, am using a brand new computer with no anti spam or virus protection yet installed. ‘might just break down and install outlook. pb

    • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I did all of the above (view inline is checked, and the mail.default_html_action is set to 3).

    What can I do next?

    • We Rock Your Web

      Are you using any third-party anti-virus or anti-spam software that may be filtering or screening your emails prior to you seeing them in Thunderbird? It could be that third party software, and not Thunderbird, is stripping the images.

      And of course, make sure you’re checking the “not spam” and “load images” button in the top right that Thunderbird brings up when you view the email.

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