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Troubleshooting Mail/News

These are tips on troubleshooting mail/news problems and suggestions on necessary information to include in a bug report if you are filing one. If you have more to add to this page, please email me!

Compose | Send | General | IMAP, POP, NNTP, SMTP Protocol Logs


When you encounter a bug in mail compose, try the following to narrow down the bug further and include your findings in the bug report.

  • Does the problem occur in plain text compose? Does the problem occur in HTML compose? You can change to a different compose window by bringing up the Account Setup dialog under the Edit menu.
  • Does the problem occur in the Composer (outside of the mail application)? Mail compose uses most of the same code as the Composer. To use Composer, access it from the Tasks menu. If the problem occurs in Composer, file the bug under the "Browser" product in the "Editor" component.


If you have trouble sending a message, you may want to check your preference for authentication as described in bug 47524


Some general things to try before reporting a bug:

  • If you had migrated your profile and encounter a bug, try creating a new account or a new profile to see if the bug occurs. If not, there may be a preference that was not migrated over correctly.
  • If you see a bug with a control (ie. drop-down list, pop-up menu, etc), try accessing a similar control in another area of the product. If the bug still exists, then file the bug under the "Browser" product in any of the appropriate "XP Toolkit" components.

IMAP, POP, NNTP, SMTP Protocol Logs

If you report problems which occur when using these protocols, it's often useful to include a log attached to the bug report you file. Here are the instructions for capturing a log.
For IMAP, POP, NNTP, or SMTP, replace protocol with IMAP, POP3, NNTP, or SMTP respectively.

Unless you really like to lose your logs, you should never set the variables in the system global environment. Doing so risks other applications accidentally honoring your request and destroying your logs. Note that you should rename your logs after mozilla quits, otherwise they will be destroyed the next time you run mozilla.


There are various ways to set the environment variables for logging mozilla. One is to create a batch file e.g. "runmozilla.bat" with the following lines:

set NSPR_LOG_MODULES=protocol:5
set NSPR_LOG_FILE=c:\tmp\filename
start mozilla

Note that this will select mozilla based on your path or apppaths (registry). If you want to use a specific mozilla then you should enter the full path to it instead (put it in quotes). An easy way to get the full path to mozilla is to start a command prompt and drag and drop mozilla.exe onto the command prompt. This is how I would do it:

copy con runmozilla.bat
set NSPR_LOG_MODULES=protocol:5
set NSPR_LOG_FILE=%TEMP%\log.txt
start drop mozilla.exe now

When you want to run mozilla with logging, just run the batch file. (You can double click it, create a shortcut to it, move it into your start menu, or run it from a command prompt or the start>run dialog.)

Another is to enter the same lines in a command prompt:
On Windows 9x: Start>Programs>MS DOS Prompt
On Windows NT: Start>Programs>Command Prompt
On Windows 2000, XP, 2003 Server: Start>Programs>Accessories>Command Prompt


Create a text file that contains the desired commands in a text editor such as BBEdit:

export NSPR_LOG_MODULES=protocol:5
export NSPR_LOG_FILE=filename
/Applications/ &

Save this file with a filename ending in .command, then double-click it.


run the following commands before running mozilla, or add them to the proper rc file (like ~/.cshrc for csh)

# (for tcsh / csh):
setenv NSPR_LOG_MODULES protocol:5
setenv NSPR_LOG_FILE /tmp/filename

#(for bsh):
export NSPR_LOG_MODULES=protocol:5
export NSPR_LOG_FILE=/tmp/filename

The filename can be defined by you

Logging level

The 5 in the first variable above specifies the level of logging you want - a lower number reduces the amount of information that is logged to the file.

The numbers are supposed to have the following meaning:

PR_LOG_NONE = 0, /* nothing */
PR_LOG_ALWAYS = 1, /* always printed */
PR_LOG_ERROR = 2, /* error messages */
PR_LOG_WARNING = 3, /* warning messages */
PR_LOG_DEBUG = 4, /* debug messages */

On all platforms, the log is written over every time you re-launch any application which uses mozilla components.