Thunderbird: Disabling an ISP Email Account

For reasons that probably make sense to them, Optimum Online (the ISP part of Cablevision) uses totally insecure password-in-the-clear user authentication to the POP3 and SMTP servers. That’s marginally OK for access through their own cable network, but, should you access those servers through a different ISP, you’ve just exposed some sensitive bits to the Internet at large.

Disabling an account in Evolution requires removing one checkmark:

Edit → Preferences → Mail Accounts tab → uncheck the account → done!

Doing the same in Thunderbird, however, requires arcane knowledge and deft surgery, documented in the usual obscure forum post containing most of the information required to pull it off:

Edit → Preferences → Advanced tab → Config Editor button

Search for server.server and find the .name entry corresponding to the ISP account. Note the digit identifying the server, which in my case was 1: server1.

Search for server1 and find the number of the mail.account.* entry with that string in the value field. In my case, that was account1.

Search for accountmanager to find the mail.accountmanager.accounts entry and remove the account you found from the Value string.


Make a note of all that information, because you must un-futz the accountmanager string to re-enable the account. Of course, if you add or remove any accounts before that, all bets are off.

There, now, wasn’t that fun?