I start thunderbird after login, using sytemd service unit file for user:

Description=Email Service

ExecStartPre=sleep 300


Is it possible to start it minimized! I don't want to change focus to the Thunderbird window when it starts. Note: --headless CLI option is not suitable for this purpose.

OS: Fedora 38 (Gnome), Thunderbird 115

1 Answer 1


It appears that without the help of external programs, this might not be possible.

  1. Thunderbird itself doesn't offer any additional options for this purpose.

The following commands did not work, which were supposed to be an alternative to --headless like --tray.

thunderbird --tray

thunderbird --tray &

MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1 thunderbird &

nohup thunderbird &

thunderbird &

Thunderbird always starts in the foreground.

  1. It also doesn't seem feasible through direct bash commands.

Minimizing windows is typically a function of the window manager or desktop environment. In a standard bash environment, you usually don't have direct control over window manipulation.

Starting Thunderbird or another program in the background without focus is typically not achievable through direct bash commands, as it is a function of the desktop environment. The startup behavior of applications can vary from one desktop environment to another and is often influenced by system configurations.

To start or minimize programs in the background without relying on external programs, it may be necessary to use specific desktop-specific commands or configurations that can influence the behavior.

Other possibilities:

You can achieve this by using external tools like wmctrl or xdotool to manipulate the window after it starts.

The package xdg-utils contains the program xdg-open.

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