Navigate / search

Minimize to tray icon your Thunderbird (and anything) in Ubuntu Linux

I’ve been using Thunderbird for quite a while. When I was using Thunderbird on Windows, I’ve used this plugin called “Minimize to tray” which allows me to de-clutter my task bar and put Thunderbird into the Windows tray area as an icon. Now that I’m using Ubuntu, I’ve miss the plugin (it only works under Windows) and would want the same functionality in my Ubuntu Linux setup.

This morning, I tried searching for something that will give me the same functionality under my Ubuntu Linux. After a couple of Googling, I came upon a little Linux application which allows me to minimize my Thunderbird software into the Gnome panel notification area in Ubuntu. And guess what, not only can I minimize Thunderbird, I can also minimize any other application I want into the notification area. It’s a cool app to miss out on so I thought I’d write about it here and how to get it installed in your Ubuntu machine.

The Linux application is called AllTray by Jochen Baier. You can install in from the Ubuntu repository. Just type in the following command from a terminal window:

$ sudo apt-get install alltray

You’ll be prompted for your account password, so just enter your password to start the installation of the AllTray application. You’ll get a screen similar to the one below:

[sudo] password for kihbord:
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed and 0 to remove.
Need to get 59.5kB of archives.
After this operation, 229kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 hardy/universe alltray 0.69-1ubuntu1 [59.5kB]
Fetched 59.5kB in 1s (91.4kB/s)
Selecting previously deselected package alltray.
(Reading database … 163348 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking alltray (from …/alltray_0.69-1ubuntu1_i386.deb) …
Setting up alltray (0.69-1ubuntu1) …

Processing triggers for libc6 …
ldconfig deferred processing now taking place

After the installation, click the menu “Applications | Accessories” and you’ll find the AllTray icon. Click it to start using and you’ll get the following screen:


Just click on your Thunderbird window and AllTray will minimize Thunderbird into the Gnome notification


area complete with it’s own Thunderbird icon in place.

What’s so cool is that it also works with other Linux applications as well. You can minimize your terminal, Firefox applications and even Eclipse and Virtualbox into the Gnome notification area of Ubuntu.

Gerry Ilagan

Gerry Ilagan is into mobile apps and WordPress development at @speeqs. He loves to write about electronics, the Internet of Things, mobile phones, and #crazyideas.



Ubuntu 8.10 has thunderbird-traybiff. After installing this package, it’s possible to click on “Tools -> add-ons” in Thunderbird menu and set the extension to “Always show tray icon”.


Thanks jakson, great tip, thunderbird-traybiff works like a charm.


I too have used this, but everytime I clicked the x to minimize to the tray, it closes the program. clicking minimize only minimizes it to the app tray.


Thank you a lot for this tip


Thanks, I loved TrayIt for Windows – AllTray is awesome.


Tnanks you both 🙂 But will use alltray because it can dock *any* window, and I do want some more windows trayed.


Wow, this is excellent! Being able to minimize the email client out of sight is something I was missing… I just started using Ubuntu yesterday and having Thunderbird in the taskbar (or bottom panel) all the time was annoying. Thank you for the tip!


Thank you very much!! really very much. cheers


A system tray extension for linux. It can be added to firefox, thunderbird, sunbird, seamonkey 2 and songbird, allowing to set up custom icon, minimizing to tray instead of closing, display the number of unread messages in mailing applications, control playback using multimedia keys in songbird, and other features …

better to say thank you at least a quarter of a dollar)
moneybookers ID: 6636468

Leave a comment


email* (not published)


Blog Library