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2010, Jan 25

Thunderbird - Incoming Server Already Exists

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If you remove an e-mail account from Thunderbird, you may have trouble if you decide to re-add it later.

Thunderbird ErrorBecause Thunderbird saves e-mail accounts in a very inefficient way, if you don’t do a proper uninstall, it will still think that your accounts exist when you try to add them again. Thunderbird will complain “Incoming Server Already Exists”, even when you have no accounts created. This was a pain to deal with for me, so I thought that I would blog about my very specific problem, hoping that it helps someone else.

These instructions are specifically for Thunderbird 3 on Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala. I had originally installed from source, so I may be a bit redundant if you already know how to install Thunderbird 3 with apt-get.

Step 0: Before you delete anything, is to get the Message Filter Import/Export Add-On for Thunderbird which will allow you to export your message filters, and later import them into your fresh install. This step is not necessary for this fix, so I won’t cover it here, but you may be able to find instructions with the Add-On.

Step 1: Completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) remove Thunderbird. Now, this is a little harder than it sounds because there are files that you may not realize exist. Some of these steps may be redundant and not necessary, but it should ensure that everything is removed.

cd ~

rm .thunderbird -R

rm .mozilla-thunderbird -R

sudo apt-get remove —purge thunderbird

sudo apt-get autoremove

Step 2: Add the Mozilla daily repository. First you will need to edit your sources.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

At the end of the file add the following two lines. Replace “karmic” (in bold below) with your version of Ubuntu (gutsy, hardy, jaunty, etc.).

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa/ubuntu karmic main

deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa/ubuntu karmic main

Step 3: Install Thunderbird with apt-get

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install thunderbird-3.0 thunderbird-3.0-gnome-support

After this last step you will be free to add a new account without Thunderbird throwing a fit. Another advantage of these instructions is that adding the Mozilla daily repository should give you a bit more cutting edge Mozilla products than the regular Ubuntu repositories, meaning you will get the latest releases of Firefox, without installing from source or waiting for the repositories to update.