Get Thunderbird to show remote images by default

In Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client, the default says that every email that has images from the web is going to have it’s images blocked, and you have to enable the remote content BY email address.


This can be really annoying. If you are pretty secure in your email manhood and don’t fear the web, you can disable this feature pretty easily:

Go to Tools > Options > Advanced > and click the Config Editor button


In the search box type in “mailnews.message_display.disable_remote_image and it should show a setting in the box below that is set to true. Double click the word true to change it to false and then close it.


Now you will always see remote images in emails. Easy!


  1. This is good up to a point, however, since a lot of spam tries to capture downloads, etc., I prefer to have the option to put email addresses in a list to prevent the spammers from getting the upper-hand on limited bandwidth – even broadband can be annoying as incoming messages are constantly using links and the like to cut back your efficiency – also clogging the internet with unnecessary and unwanted traffic…

    If you are going to post this comment, it would be valuable to everyone to have the other control option spelled out as well.

    Thanks for your post, it is quite interesting to at least know HOW to do it if the situation calls for opening up the intelligent blockage – I sort of doubt that “email manhood” or “fear the web” play strongly in the decision as to when to open or close the vent.

  2. Thanks! It worked.

  3. Thank you!!! Awesome. Since I “wash my emails” before Thunderbird “gets mail” I only have emails I want and it is annoying to have to click that for every email.

  4. This method doesn’t work with Thunderbird 3.1.8 on Mac OS 10.6.6

    I’m tempted to go back to Imail.

    While I love my Mac, their apps are disappointing.

  5. This has been frustrating me for a long, long while. I do not want to add every newsletter email address to my address book, but I DO want to see their images – thank you, worked a treat!

  6. Thank you!

  7. Suddenly yesterday, Thunderbird stopped showing the Show Remote Content box and I couldn’t access sites with coupons and images. Thanks to your fantastic tip to show images by default, the problem is solved! I can’t thank you enough. I googled a solution and not one of the many sites provided a solution; you’re the only one.

  8. You rock!!!!!!!

  9. I am having this problem with Thunderbird 14. Unfortunately your fix does not help. Any other ideas?


  10. Thanks!

  11. I’ve set that “mailnews.message_display.disable_remote_image” to True, and also have the email sender’s address book entry set to show in HTML, still no remote images. I’m running 17.0.2 Thunderbird. The messages are not junk, and all the HTML code is mine as I’m sending it to myself to make sure it looks right before sending the newsletter. The code displays fine in a browser, just like it should. Image links are to my own domain, so I know it’s all clean there, hence the good display in browsers.

    Perhaps something wrong here?

  12. Thank you *SO* much for this much needed tweek!

  13. You would only really want this option enabled if you don’t have a spam filter. These days most of your hosted mail is spam filtered anyway so you would want to display remote images.

    Thanks for this post.

  14. Perfect!
    Thank you.

  15. Do note however that when you start loading images on all emails you increase your risk of getting tracked. Eg. Spammers put an image in their emails which are actually trackers, if that one gets loaded its a signal for them that have read the email = more spam for you.

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