February 19, 2017 | 3:00 am
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[HOWTO] Remove Bing and Amazon search from Mozilla Thunderbird

This was annoying the first time I saw it. You select some text in an email message, and what does Thunderbird do now? Start an automatic search on Bing! for the selected text. So, I went to about:config and removed the names of all the search engines they had in there. Namely, Bing! and Yahoo. Restart Thunderbird and guess what? Now it defaults to Amazon Search!

Searching in about:config for amazon reveals nothing! No “official” way to remove it.

I got frustrated enough that I finally said “screw it” and downloaded the Thunderbird source tree and decided to make some of my own changes and just use the one I build locally.

Well, turns out there’s a much easier way to accomplish removing these. I chose to replace it with Google search since it’s what I normally go with.

Simply navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Thunderbird\searchplugins

Delete everything you see in there, and create a new file called google.xml

Put the following contents into the file:

<SearchPlugin xmlns=”http://www.mozilla.org/2006/browser/search/”>

<ShortName>Google</ShortName>
<Description>Google Search</Description>
<InputEncoding>UTF-8</InputEncoding>
<Image width=”16″ height=”16″>data:image/x-icon;base64,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</Image>
<Url type=”application/x-suggestions+json” method=”GET” template=”https://www.google.com/complete/search?q={searchTerms}”/>
<Url type=”text/html” method=”GET” template=”https://www.google.com/search” rel=”searchform”>
<Param name=”q” value=”{searchTerms}”/>
<Param name=”ie” value=”utf-8″/>
<Param name=”oe” value=”utf-8″/>
<Param name=”aq” value=”t”/>
</Url>
<SearchForm>https://www.google.com/</SearchForm>
</SearchPlugin>

That should do it. Restart Thunderbird and viola! You’ll have a useful search function in your email client now.

By the way, all those seemingly random characters in the file above is just an encoded version of the google search icon. (notice it’s between <image/> tags.

However, be warned! If you simply delete all the files in the searchplugins directory, when you right click on something in Thunderbird, you’ll get every menu option possible. Even if it doesn’t work. Since it can’t parse a plugin xml file, it will just display everything instead.

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