Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thunderbird Address Book

I'm getting a little ticked off at Thunderbird lately. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great email client and RSS reader. However, I've been running into a particularly annoying issue that has me on the brink of scrapping it.

You see, I just can't delete an entry from my "Personal Address Book". I know, I know, that's a pretty minor detail to be tossing a great email client. I'm a big fan of letting Thunderbird search your local address books for the person you want to address the message to. That's well and good when each person only sends you email from one address, but in the real world people have multiple email addresses.

My problem is my boss sent me an email from his home account a couple weeks ago. I replied no problem and everything was cool. The next time I sent him a message, Thunderbird automatically picked up his home email address and sent it there.

"OK", I thought to myself, "I'll just delete his home email and Tbird won't pick it up anymore."

So I deleted all occurrances from my address books, re-checked that it wasn't in there anymore, sent a test email, and he got it no problem. Shutdown Thunderbird and went home.

The next day I sent him an email again. Thunderbird picked his home email again. WTF? I know I deleted it, but sure enough, his home email was back. I tried deleting again, exiting Tbird and it showed up again. This was driving me crazy. After twiddling with it on and off for about 2 hours, I gave up and unchecked Tools>Options>Addressing>Address Autocompletion>Local Address Books.

Now when I address a message, I either have to know the person's email address or choose it from the address book. Maybe I'm just being impatient and this is one of those "doh" moments...


Beth said...

This one is about as counter-intuitive as it gets. The trick is that you don't delete auto-complete entries from the main Thunderbird window -- you delete them from the autocomplete cache as accessible from within a new email.
* Turn auto-completion on
* Open a new email
* Within the email window, click the Contacts button (should create a pane at the left with the list of addresses)
* Delete the entry you don't want.

I've done this successfully on my machine.

Good luck!

Ian Murphy said...

Hi Jeff,

I don't know if it's relevant to Thunderbird but in the last version of Netscape Communicator there was a "Saved Addresses" (either part of the local address book or separate, can't remember) that stored the addresses of anyone that sent you mail / any address you sent mail to that you didn't previously have in your address book. It could be that his home address is in there and you didn't delete that?



GreenAsJade said...

Beth, you're a saviour!

Thank you.

I've been looking for ages to find a way to

delete thunderbird autocompletion entry (keywords so someone else can find this helpful hint here too!)

and yours is the first helpful easy way I've read about that works.

Domboy said...

I have just started using Thunderbird. What attracted me is the built-in anti-spam feature. However, my problem is that I do not know even how to make a new entry into my address book. Help!

steve said...


You have preserved my sanity! This has been driving me crazy for ever.

Thanks so much for the answer


Frank said...

I've recently moved from Outlook to Tbird. When I imported Address Books it created a seperate book for each Outlook folder (no big deal I thought), until I had to search for something that is.

Does anyone know of a way (or an app) that will allow me to search across all address books at one time?

Anonymous said...

Thanks! This one was driving me nuts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! This one has been driving me nuts!

George Cook said...

This didn't work for me, Beth. There is an email address for my daughter from three years ago which keeps coming up in auto-complete when I address an email. That particular address does not show up in the sidebar or in the address book proper. So I can't delete it. Where could T-Bird be hiding it? I only have one address book that I can find "Personal Address Book", nothing in "Collected" or in "Outlook Express."

Anonymous said...

I also had the phantom email addresses in auto complete. I saw this fix on another site and it worked for me so here goes. I had the following files:

Personal Address Book
Address Book

Both had the same information
So I deleted the "address book" file. Then did the following:

1. create a new "address book" file.
2. after deleting all the addresses you don't need from the Personal Address Book file, copy the contents of your current address book to the new address book
3. Ensure you copied ALL the addresses!
4. Delete all the addresses in the "Personal Address Book"
5. Copy the addresses from the "Address Book" file to the "Personal Address Book" file.
6. Ensure the addresses were all copied.
7. Delete the "Address Book" file.

The best I can figure is that when you delete the entries they delete visually, but are not actually deleted from the file.

Not a super computer geek, just glad I found a solution to my problem and hope this can help someone.


Anonymous said...

Hi guys. I know this is a pretty old thread but I ran into a similar problem recently - an old email address kept popping in the auto-complete drop down despite my attempts to find it in the address book.

In my case I had three address books;
(1) Personal Address book
(2) Contacts
(3) Collected Addresses

The second address book "Contacts" is one I created when I imported my contacts from my Palm PDA years ago.

THE PROBLEM (and solution)
Several of the people in my imported address book had multiple email addresses - ie one record for that person with two different email fields. Whenever I performed a search in the address book, only the FIRST email address was displayed by Thunderbird. However, auto-complete picked up EVERY email address. Thus I had all these phantom email addresses appearing.

All I had to do is;
- Open Thunderbird's Address Book
- Click on the imported address book (in my case "Contacts")
- Find the individual who belonged to the bad email I was trying to delete.
- Double click on his record to open his details
- Delete the bad email address

Problem solved (for me). Such a simple error. It would be nice if Thunderbird improved the search facility in its address book to avoid this issue.