How to save attachments

On the Mac, the default place that Thunderbird saves attachments is on the desktop, which can get messy pretty quickly if you get lots of attachments. You can easily change where Thunderbird saves attachments though, try this:

Attachments Tab

  1. Open Thunderbird
  2. Open Preferences
    1. On a Mac: go to Thunderbird > Preferences
    1. On Windows: go to Tools > Options
  3. Go to the Attachments tab
  4. Change the “Save all attachments to this folder” location by hitting the Browse button
  5. Pick a spot on your hard drive and hit the Choose button
  6. Now all your attachments should save to that new location from now on.

18 Responses to How to save attachments

  1. I cannot stop my email attachments from ending up automatically on my desk top. I have set the attachments in preferences to ‘ask me where to save’ and when that didn’t work I created a special attchments folder on my hard drive and tried directing the attchment automatically to this. But TB ignores all instructions and keeps on clogging up my desktop….. do you have any brainy solutions?

  2. Slushman says:

    Well, I was trying to find out if the Advanced Editor had any options, but I couldn’t find anything would help. Are you trying to open the attachments from the email or save them somewhere? I know that when I open an attachment directly from an email, it saves that file to the desktop. But when I save the attachment, it puts into my default folder. Hopefully, that’s something that Mozilla can work out before the 2.0 release. Does that help?

  3. Merryn says:

    I have the same frustration on Mac, and it is only when you open the email without saving as that it occurs. It is certainly a very annoying bug.

  4. Bruno says:

    I also am very disturbed with this behavior.
    I just Googled a little bit and found a trick I have yet to test.

    According to the trick, Thunderbird seems to save attachment by default in the same folder as Safari puts the downloaded files. So change the download file folder in Safari and the mail attahment should be put at the place you designated to Safari.

    You just have to take care of cleaning up the folder from tile to time.

  5. Ed says:

    Thanks Bruno.
    Can confirm that changing the Safari download folder cures the problem of downloads going to the desktop.

  6. Richard says:

    Changing the setting in Safari (Preferences –> General) did work!


  7. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the tip Bruno.. works perfectly. if people use Firefox for their main browser, this shouldn’t be a problem at all. Cheers!

  8. Gary says:

    On Tbird version on a Mac, changing the Safari preferences did not work for me. This is a very annoying problem.

  9. Blake says:

    I’m like Gary; it’s not working when I change my Safari preferences.

  10. Slushman says:

    I’m still not sure why these changes won’t make Thunderbird save correctly. I’m still looking for the answer on this one. Sorry these instructions aren’t working out for anyone. Helloooo Mozilla??!?!

  11. d. says:

    MOST ANNOYING BUG EVER! i have to spend 5 minutes on cleaning my desktop at the end of every day! other options would be to leave the desktop completely clean and only for the use of thunderbird downloads or to click “save as” instead of “open” on every attachment you open. the first is not an option and the second would take even more time in total. HELP!

  12. Michael says:

    I also was searching for a solution for a long time.
    Thank you for your hints in this blog!
    NOW I COULD SOLVE: If you also have Camino installed, you have to change Safari AND Camino preferences, then the attachments are stored in the selected folder.
    IT WORKED FOR ME, I hope it will work for all who are also annoyed by this behaviour.

  13. Ron says:

    d said it best “..MOST ANNOYING BUG EVER!..”

    Here is what worked for me so YMMV .. After setting your folder in Preferences, cruise over to the Advanced tab and open the Config Editor in the filter type download to narrow it down .. You should see;AAAAA … AA==

    or something similar
    below it you should see;true

    I flipped the setting to false and then exited the editor and thunderbird.

    I tried opening an attachment. I checked the destination folder I wanted and there it was ..

    I opened the config editor and the setting was flipped back to true ..

    Can’t find any reason for this behaviour but worked on Leopard and Shredder (t-bird 3.0)..

  14. Perrin says:

    The bug is discussed here:

    There are over 100 comments on that bug but the short version is it should be fixed soon, and as a workaround you can download Camino and change the setting there, as Michael said. (Changing the setting in Safari used to work but now it doesn’t.)

  15. td says:

    It worked with Camino.

    Thanks for the tips,


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