Getting Thunderbird to open links in Firefox, not Konqueror

There seems to be some inconsistency of the preconfiguration of Thunderbird between distros, which becomes apparent to distro-hoppers like me.  That is, some of them  automagically open Firefox when you click on a link from your e-mail, and others open something else.  In the case of using KDE, this is usually Konqueror.  I wouldn’t mind this, but there are two factors that in my mind make Konqueror the lesser product.  Konqueror doesn’t properly handle some multimedia, and more importantly, it doesn’t display a page until almost all the images are loaded.  This latter feature contrasts with Firefox, which seems to place a priority on displaying the text as soon as possible and filling in images as they come in… all the sooner I can stop twiddling my thumbs and start reading.  (In case you’re wondering, yes I do have broadband – I’m just impatient.)  I say why wait for the cosmetic stuff when I can start reading now?

There are other ways to do this, but this is my favourite.  All you have to do is make the changes and restart Thunderbird.

Steps 1 & 2 are optional, since most of the time the path to Firefox will be


but this unfortunately can vary from distro to distro.  So in the unlikely event that this process doesn’t work the first time, try again including these steps.

1.  Open a Terminal window by going to to K menu -> System -> Konsole

2.  In the Terminal, type

which firefox

This will tell you the path to Firefox, since it can vary from distro to distro.

g33kgrrl@home ~ $ which firefox
g33kgrrl@home ~ $

in this illustration it’s the usual path.

2.  Now, in Thunderbird, go to Edit -> Preferences

Click Advanced, make sure you’re on the General tab and click the Config Editor button

Thunderbird Preferences

Thunderbird Preferences

Go to the Filter box and enter:

Two results will appear under Preference Name (see screenshot):

Thunderbird Config Editor

Thunderbird Config Editor

Now, put your mouse over the first result and double-click.  A small dialogue window will appear prompting for the “string value.”  Enter the path to Firefox, which you obtained earlier in the Terminal window:

String Value prompt

String Value prompt

OK this and repeat for

Now your window should look like this:

Thunderbird Config Editor - modified

Thunderbird Config Editor - modified

Close the Config Editor, close Thunderbird Preferences, and close Thunderbird.  Then open Thunderbird again and click a link in one of your e-mails.  It should now open the link in Firefox.  Enjoy!



One thought on “Getting Thunderbird to open links in Firefox, not Konqueror

  1. Thanks!
    But this doesn’t work for me anymore using Thunderbird 3.1.6 on Kubuntu 10.10. The key you mention doesn’t even exist. Creating it as a new key didn’t change the behaviour of thunderbird.

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