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SOLVED - Gmail vs Thunderbird on Windows XP

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John Dulak

May 2, 2022, 10:41:14 AM5/2/22
SOLVED - Gmail vs Thunderbird on Windows XP

Gmail has announced that they will be ending access to the service with "Less
Secure" applications on May 30. From that date on POP3 access will no longer
work and Gmail will only accept connections via IMAP using oAuth2.0.

This causes a problem for those of us using older software and operating systems
like Thunderbird running on Windows XP.

I have spent considerable time looking into this and I have finally found
something that WORKS!

Older versions of Thunderbird know nothing about IMAP and oAuth2.0 so I had to
find a version of T-Bird that could do both. The last version of T-bird that ran
on XP was version 52.9.1 available here;

T-bird is good at not messing with your old accounts and emails when upgrading
so I just installed over the old version and everything except one add-on was

Since I already had a Gmail account in T-bird that used POP3 I created a new
account to use IMAP/oAuth2.0. (The accounts must have different names or T-bird
will complain) I managed to create a new Gmail account which defaulted to
IMAP/oAuth2 and the servers and port numbers agree with what I could find on the

HOWEVER it would NOT connect to the Gmail servers. I get a "sign in with Google"
window and enter Email and PW but it goes into some sort of endless loop!! After
some searching I found out that Gmail has an idiotsyncrasy in its oAuth2
implementation!!! The good news is there is an easy fix.


It appears that google has just changed their oauth process and started
rejecting oauth requests based on the User-Agent header.

Changing "general.useragent.compatMode.firefox" preference to true fixes the
issue, google authentication works again.

There is unfortunately no switch in the program's settings to change the user
agent in Thunderbird. What you need to do is add a hidden parameter to the
advanced configuration to do that.

In T-bird click on Tools > Options > Advanced > General tab > Config Editor
button. You may see a warning message - Click on "I'll be careful" to continue.
Right click somewhere in the parameter list window and choose New > Boolean from
the pop up menu. Into the name field paste;


Then click OK. It should now appear in the parameter list window with a boolean
value of "True". If not you can change it by right clicking on it and choose

When you FIRST check Gmail with this account you will have to enter your Gmail
address / password and choose to "Allow" T-bird to access Gmail.

If you have emails in an old T-Bird Gmail POP3 account you can now copy then
over to the new Gmail IMAP/oAuth account's inbox.

If you want to Download emails from Gmail to your local machine so you can view
them without network access do this;

Select Tools > Account Settings from the menu.
Select the Synchronization & Storage category for the desired IMAP account. ...
Click Advanced.
Check Download for the Inbox folder and any others you want available offline.
Click OK > OK.




'' Madness takes its toll - Please have exact change. ''

Jay M

Nov 19, 2022, 8:24:49 PM11/19/22
On Monday, May 2, 2022 at 9:41:14 AM UTC-5, John Dulak wrote:
> SOLVED - Gmail vs Thunderbird on Windows XP
I just have to tell you THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this fix. I can't begin to tell you how this fix has saved my sanity. It got me out of the endless loop of signing in and getting nowhere. After 4 days of no access, all my new mail loaded and send works too!

John Dulak

Nov 20, 2022, 10:54:58 AM11/20/22

Glad it worked for you!
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