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Last Comment Bug 447887 - HTML Messages are not displayed when View>>Message Body As>>>Plain Text is set ( multipart/alternative { null line only text/plain + text/html }, text/plain part is shown as requested )
: HTML Messages are not displayed when View>>Message Body As>>>Plain Text is se...
Status: NEW
: testcase
Product: Thunderbird
Classification: Client Software
Component: Message Reader UI (show other bugs)
: unspecified
: x86 Windows XP
: -- normal (vote)
: ---
Assigned To: Nobody; OK to take it and work on it
Depends on:
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2008-07-24 16:23 PDT by Cheech
Modified: 2015-09-26 22:02 PDT (History)
4 users (show)
See Also:
Crash Signature:
QA Whiteboard:
Iteration: ---
Points: ---

Sample email that is blank when viewed with body as plain text. (6.94 KB, application/x-mimearchive)
2009-11-12 02:44 PST, Rudiger Wolf
no flags Details

Description User image Cheech 2008-07-24 16:23:11 PDT
User-Agent:       Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20080623 Firefox/
Build Identifier: Thunderbird

The following is my post on the Mozilla forum for which I received no response.  I have managed to work around the situation but feel it still may be a bug.  It is similar to bug #232275 reported in 2004 but apparently was unable to be reproduced.  This situation still exists in many of my emails unless I take corrective action on each one. 

[Start Forum post]
I receive daily email notices from my bank on account activity and status.  For the last 2 days these emails have been blank.  Initially I thought it was a problem originating at the bank however, in checking further the problem is within my TBird system.  TBird is connected via IMAP to my gmail email account.  Not only are the 2 emails from my bank in my in box blank but all of the last 2 years of notices that I move to a different folders are also blank.  These emails are still on in my gmail account on Google's server and they are not blank.  All of the other emails that I checked so far in both the in box and in other folders contain data.  For some reason this has effected only my bank's email.  I've even done a print preview and they are blank.

What happened and how do I get the data to appear again?

[Update 7-23 4:00 PM MST)
After doing a View>>Message Source on these messages I can see that the data is there however, it is in HTML.  So TB hasn't lost the data it's lost the ability to format messages that are in HTML format.  Anyone have suggestions how to turn this back on?
[End Update]

[Update 7-23 6:45 PM MST]
Somehow the View>>Message Body As  had gotten set to "Plain Text". As I wasn't even aware of the setting it was not something I consciously did however, a very recent installation of the EnigMail addon (just about the same time as the problem occurred) possible set it.  Having this set to "Plain Text" handled new incoming HTML email by displaying them as plain text but did not handle the situation where previous HTLM formatted emails existed.  Setting the View>>Message Body As"  to "Original  HTML" allowed my previously received emails to be displayed.

Whether or not the Plain Text setting should correctly display previously received HTML emails should be categorized as a bug remains to be determined.
[End Forum Post]

[Update for bug report - 7/24]
As my system is now.  If I set View>>Message Body as>>Original HTML the messages prior to installing EnigMail still appear as empty.  If I change the setting to ...Original HTML or use the Show HTML addon which I just recently installed the messages are viewable.  If I compose and send (myself) a new HTML message the message appears as plain text (as it should).  If I forward myself a previously received HTML message which will not display the message comes as an attachment which, when opened still can not be displayed.
[End Update for bug report]

Reproducible: Always

Steps to Reproduce:
1.Explained in bug report
Actual Results:  
HTML messages that existed prior to changing the setting would not display as plain text.

Expected Results:  
All HTML messages should be displayed as plain text not just ones newly received. ones

I don't know that I can recreate exactly how the problem started.  At this time all I have are results of the problem as new HTML messages are being displayed as plain text.
Comment 1 User image Joe Sabash [:JoeS1] 2008-08-07 20:17:30 PDT
Cheech, can you attach a copy of a mail that fails to display as an eml.
Of course, be careful of sensitive data.
Comment 2 User image Cheech 2008-09-21 18:36:30 PDT
(In reply to comment #1)
> Cheech, can you attach a copy of a mail that fails to display as an eml.
> Of course, be careful of sensitive data.

Hi Joe:

Sorry for the late response as I was not notified of your posting a comment.  Any suggestions on how can I obtain a copy of a mail that I can attach to this bug report as Edit>>Copy is not enabled on a selected email and the other valid "Copy to" functions are to folders.  I presume I can get them from somewhere on my hard drive but I don't know where TB stores them and if they are available as a single message and not part of a database..

Comment 3 User image [:Aureliano Buendía] 2009-08-25 04:22:23 PDT
(In reply to comment #2)

> Any suggestions on how can I obtain a copy of a mail that I can attach to this
> bug report 

Go to menu-->File-->Save As-->File and save as "*.eml" (Mail file).
Comment 4 User image Rudiger Wolf 2009-11-12 02:44:13 PST
Created attachment 411933 [details]
Sample email that is blank when viewed with body as plain text.

I have the same problem on Ubuntu Karmic/9.10 with Thunderbird and Enigmail installed from standard repos.
Was using browser to read, switched to Thunderbird and noticed that some emails where blank although I knew that they should not be blank. By changing the view > Message body as > HTML the problem was resolved. Attached is an example of an email that has this occurring to it.
Comment 5 User image [:Aureliano Buendía] 2009-11-12 03:26:42 PST
Confirmed here on

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20091111 Lightning/1.0pre Shredder/3.0pre ID:20091111032510
Comment 6 User image Ludovic Hirlimann [:Usul] 2009-11-12 03:35:02 PST
New based on #c5
Comment 7 User image Ludovic Hirlimann [:Usul] 2009-11-12 03:35:38 PST
(In reply to comment #6)
> New based on #c5

Oups maybe I should have searched for duplicates first ....
Comment 8 User image Hubert Figuiere [:hub] 2012-12-01 16:31:01 PST
The software sending the email put an empty plain text alternative - in violation of all common sense and spec. 

I believe Thunderbird in that case just follow the spec and show the text alternative as requested.

A workaround could be implemented by checking if the content is empty. BUT there are still other bogus systems sending a "you must a an HTML compatible email client" instead.

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