Thunderbird & no email associated error - Another fix

Updated: February 7, 2024

Greetings readers! Roughly 2.5 years ago, I wrote an article with the exact same title as above. It was a short guide on how to solve a rather annoying and cryptic error in the Thunderbird mail client: that there is no email program associated to perform the requested action. 'Twas an error that suddenly happened with the 91.x upgrade. In that article, I showed you several methods on how to fix this annoying little issue, so you wouldn't need to click and dismiss a harmless yet pointless popup on every Thunderbird launch.

Well, since, I received a handful of emails from my readers, and they all had new, different suggestions. They all revolve around the same basic concept - support for certain protocols. Well, in this article, I'd like to present another possible solution. Take a look, and if you're plagued by this wee annoyance, perhaps the new method outlined here may help. Provided the other ones didn't, of course.

Program association

It's due to LDAP, what

Trawling the Thunderbird bugzilla yields a bunch of interesting findings. Namely, there's this bug, which says the error stems from the addition of the Evolution Data Server (EDS) functionality settings in Thunderbird, mostly a Linux thing, but even then, not always needed or useful. Indeed, if your system does not know what to do with these preferences, it will throw the startup error.

All right, so this could potentially be the source of the problem, so then, how do we fix that?

Solution

You will need to manually edit the prefs.js file in your Thunderbird folder. The location is:

"profile folder"/prefs.js

The location of the folder will depends on your Thunderbird version (say portable) or the installation path. Just as a reference, in Windows, this could be:

C:\Users\"username"\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\"profile folder"

Close Thunderbird. Back the file up - create a copy. Next, open the file in a text editor, like say Notepad++. You will find the relevant entries roughly half way down the file. For example, usually, they will be listed under a line that reads: user_pref("layout.css.devPixelsPerPx", "1.0"); - but that's just a guideline, not a strict rule.

The "offending" EDS entries in question are:

user_pref("ldap_2.servers.eds.description", "EDS Address Book Bootstrapper");
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.eds.dirType", 3);
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.eds.filename", "eds.mab");
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.eds.position", 1);
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.eds.uri", "moz-abedsdirectory://");

You can comment these lines out. Just add // before each one, e.g.:

// user_pref("ldap_2.servers.eds.position", 1);

Save the file. Close it. Launch Thunderbird. The error should be gone. Now, if you open the prefs.js file in a text editor again, you will notice the entries should be gone. In two test examples, I noticed that Thunderbird will automatically sanitize and remove preferences that have been edited out. In any case, you have a backup, so you can easily restore the entries, should the need arise.

Conclusion

Tidiness and OCD are powerful forces in the world of computing. They make up for sloppy UI design and other programming mistakes that turn the user experience unnecessarily difficult. The EDS error is simple, even trivial, and it causes no harm. But the extra popup, the extra mouse click, they are oh-so annoying. And thus, they must be resolved.

Well, you now have tons of possible ways to handle and fix the problem. The latest one, EDS config in the prefs.js file. Based on the Thunderbird bugzilla, it seems to be still relevant, and it still affects the mail client. If you encounter the issue, you can try this workaround, and see what gives. Hopefully, this will finally bring peace to your system. Until the next bug, that is. Many thanks to everyone who sent in their ideas and suggestions. And we're out.

Cheers.