Enigmail Support

Common Problems

Here are some tips on troubleshooting Enigmail installation and use:

  1. "This item will be installed after you restart Thunderbird" shown in the Extension Manager

  2. Is Enigmail working?

  3. Enigmail cannot access my keys?

  4. Enigmail fails to access keyserver from behind a firewall?

  5. My own signatures are invalid!
    Enigmail replaces ">" in quoted messages with "|"
    Enigmail replaces leading spaces with "~"

  6. How to debug Enigmail or report bugs?

  7. How to uninstall Enigmail?

  8. I get an error message saying that Enigmail or Enigmime failed to initialize

  9. How can I use S/MIME and Enigmail concurrently?

  10. There is no Enigmail user interface (menu etc.) visible

  11. I installed a new extension and Enigmail stopped working

  12. I need to create a new profile. How do I transfer my mail and settings?

  13. I am using a non English Character Set and my signatures keep failing

  14. IMAP Messages greater than approx. 35kB are being displayed as broken


1. "This item will be installed after you restart Thunderbird" shown in the Add-ons Manager.

  • The Add-ons Manager checks to see if an extension is validated to work on the version of the application on which you are attempting to install it. If you have updated your application and are trying to install a previous version of Enigmail, it may be that Enigmail has not been validated against the new version.

  • You will need to remove Enigmail or use a version that is validated for your version of the application. The Add-ons Manager does not correctly remove extensions currently, therefore to remove Enigmail you will need to shut down Thunderbird and delete the Chrome and Extensions folders from your profile.


2. Is Enigmail working?

  • If installation was successful, you will need to restart the application. After restarting the application, launch the main Mail window, which should have an Enigmail menu on the menubar. Choose the About Enigmail option, which should display the version number and the GnuPG executable details.

  • Enigmail has only been tested with official releases of Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey. If you use a nightly build (or your own build), Enigmail may not work.


3. Enigmail cannot access my keys?

  • If you're using GnuPG 2.x and you get error messages like:

      Error - no matching private/secret key found to decrypt message
      Send operation aborted. Error - encryption command failed
      Send operation aborted. Key 0x....... not found or not valid. The (sub-)key might have expired

    then we recomment you read our Guide for resolving issues with GnuPG 2.x and gpg-agent.


4. Enigmail fails to access keyserver from behind a firewall?

  • If you are using HTTP proxy behind a firewall, you need to add the following line to your gnupg.conf file (where value is the proxy host):

    keyserver-options http-proxy=value
    

5. My own signatures are invalid!
    Enigmail replaces ">" in quoted messages with "|"
    Enigmail replaces leading spaces with "~"


  • These problems are caused by format=flowed (RFC2646).
    DON'T use it with OpenPGP signatures.

  • In Seamonkey, open a browser window to about:config, in Thunderbird, use the "Config Editor" button located on the General tab under Options --> Advanced and make sure that mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed is set to false. This is not really a bug, but a workaround that Enigmail uses to handle the text=flowed formatting used by Mozilla, which can invalidate signatures. You can avoid this replacement by setting the option mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed to false:

    • On Thunderbird: open the Config Editor (Tools > Preferences > Advanced)
    • On SeaMonkey: open the URL about:config

6. How to debug Enigmail or report bugs?

  • Check the Defects page, where you can find out how to turn on debug switches for Enigmail and generate log files containing debug information. You can also file a bug report using Sourceforge from there.


7. How to uninstall Enigmail?

  • Go to the menu Tools > Add-ons

  • Click on Enigmail

  • Click on the Uninstall button


8. I get an error message saying that Enigmail failed to initialize

  • Enigmail requires GnuPG to be installed and usable. Without this prerequisite, Enigmail cannot work. You can either use the Enigmail Setup Wizard to install GnuPG, or visit the downloads page of GnuPG to get it.


9. How can I use S/MIME and Enigmail concurrently?

  • You cannot mix S/MIME and PGP/MIME in the same message. This will fail as the two standards (and the implementation in Thunderbird) interfere with each other. If you want to use S/MIME you should not enable the Enigmail option "encrypt if possible" (nor the one from S/MIME).


10. There is no Enigmail user interface (menu etc.) visible
  • This is sometimes a problem after having upgraded Thunderbird/SeaMonkey. Check in the Add-ons manager if Enigmail is compatible with the version of your application.


11. I installed a new extension and Enigmail stopped working

  • Some extensions can cause conflicts with Enigmail, preventing it from succesfully signing/encrypting outgoing mail or decrypting incoming mail.
    Details for known extensions are available on the Exensions Compatibility FAQ entry


12 I need to create a new profile. How do I transfer my mail and settings?

  • Although this is not exactly Enigmail-related, we have been asked how to do this a few times, so we have put together this new profile howto as a guide.


13. I am using a non English Character Set and my signatures keep failing
  • When sending signed emails containing non English characters (such as å or ð) the signature fails to verify.
    On Mozilla go to Edit > Preferences > Mail & Newsgroups > Composition
    On Thunderbird go to Tools > Options > Composition
    Make sure the option For messages that contain 8-bit characters, use 'quoted printable' MIME encoding.is unchecked


14. IMAP Messages greater than approx. 35kB are being displayed as broken
  • When working on an IMAP server, it happens that bigger PGP/MIME mails fail to decrypt when viewing them.
    This is due to Mozilla loading IMAP attachments on demand and not knowing that the encrypted message isn't a true attachment.
    You can either click on the broken lock (reloads the mail in full) or disable the option Only download attachments when opened in the advanced preferences.