Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Minimize Thunderbird to System Tray in Mepis 8

edit: be sure to read Paul's comment below! His way is easier. Thanks Paul!

After having recently moved all my mail to Thunderbird from Kmail, I was dismayed to discover that Thunderbird will not "minimize to tray," meaning that I would get no new mail notifications and no "Lightning" calendar reminders without TB being open on the desktop or minimized to the taskbar. A little Googling provided the following answer.

  1. In Konsole, login as root and type the following: apt-get install alltray
  2. Find Thunderbird in the KDE menu and RIGHT click on it. Select "Edit Item."
  3. The KDE Menu Editor will open. In the "Command" field, type the following: alltray -s -l thunderbird %u
  4. Click the save button on the KDE Menu Editor and close it.
  5. Start Thunderbird and follow the instructions that Alltray provides.
  6. Enjoy!

Thanks to Techthrob for this tip!


  1. Hi Les,
    I came by your blog after reading a comment on Pastor Ron's. As an easier alternative (rather than installing alltray), simply edit the Thunderbird entry in your kmenu, and make sure the "Place In System Tray" box is ticked. Make sure you save the menu changes before exiting the entry! Next time you run TBird, the icon automatically appears in the tray. To miminise to the tray, simply click the icon in the tray. The nice thing is that you can do this with any app that you want handy - as long as it has an entry in your kmenu.
    PS - I see you're using Mepis 8. Hopefully we'll see you at the MepisLovers Community forums some time.

  2. Thanks Paul!

    Simpler is better. I did not know that feature was there in the KDE Menu Editor. Thanks for sharing.

    By the way, my username at MepisLovers is "eyemeansit" I believe. Haven't posted there for awhile, but I've been lurking again recently!

    I will edit this post to point to your comment. Thanks again.

  3. One final comment... with Paul's method, I do have to use the tray icon to minimize TB to the tray and restore it. If I use the "close window" button, guess what? closes the window (and the entire application).

  4. You can also use an extension called Firetray that will allow the close button to send Thunderbird back to the system tray. Just another option to think about.

    Check out My Take!

  5. Note: further comments on this issue can be found at my new blog: