How to reorder mail accounts in Thunderbird

Thunderbird doesn't allow you to rearrange the order in which your email accounts are displayed. Neither does it allow you to set the default mail account (the one that is shown first and is used when you start composing an email after having clicked on an HTML link.) These have been pet peeves of mine for a while so I decided to do something about it.

I went digging in my profile folder and found prefs.js. In there, I modified the two lines shown below (my actual file has quite a few more accounts.)

user_pref("mail.accountmanager.accounts", "account4,account1,account3,account2"); user_pref("mail.accountmanager.defaultaccount", "account3");

Notice that although account4 is shown as the first account, account3 will be displayed first since it is the default account. Thus the actual order of accounts with the settings above will be account3, account4, account1, account2.

Of course, to know which account is which, you have to go through the list of servers. eg.

user_pref("", "");

A search for .name" speeds things up.

Finally, before doing all this, make sure that Thunderbird is not running or it will reset your changes when you exit it.

Now, if you'd rather not go through all this pain and suffering, you can also use the simple Folderpane Tools extension which provides a nice UI that allows you to reorder your accounts from within Thunderbird (although you do have to restart Thunderbird for the new settings to be loaded.)

Moral of the story: Google first before reinventing the wheel :)