There are several types of e-mail management software out there. Most Microsoft Windows users are familiar with Outlook and may have used it or are currently using it. There are alternatives to using Outlook that do not require you to login to a website.
Mozilla’s Thunderbird is an e-mail client that was developed by the same guys who developed the popular Firefox web browser. It is an open source project and can be fully customized to do just about anything you want with your e-mail, RSS feeds and newsgroups.
An Introduction to Thunderbird:
Mozilla Thunderbird was first released in December 2004. It functions as an e-mail, news group and RSS feed client. It is available for Windows and Mac platforms. It has some really nice built-in features, like tabbed browsing, multiple layouts, a pseudo-conversation view, and easy account adding procedure. Some other features of Thunderbird include customizable message management, a trainable spam filtering system and the ability to add features with user-created add-ons, themes and plug-ins.
Thunderbird is also compatible with new Mozilla software called Sunbird which manages your calendar. Mozilla Thunderbird can give you the opportunity to ditch logging in to web sites or using Outlook for something with more functionality.
How to install Mozilla Thunderbird:
The first step to installing Thunderbird is to download it from Mozilla’s web site here. Once you download it, you want to double-click on the installation icon to start the installation process. You want to click next after reading the welcome message from Mozilla.
Now you want to choose whether to do a standard or custom installation. If you choose custom, this allows you to select options for creating icons for Thunderbird and what the folder is called in your Start Menu. You can also choose from the get go if Thunderbird is your default e-mail client. If you plan on using Thunderbird to manage your e-mail, check this option.
Next, you want to choose the installation destination. Most users installing Thunderbird will just leave the default location alone. If you want the install to occur in a more specific directory, you want to input that before moving forward.
Once you have completed all the installation steps, a summary window will appear. This will list the installation directory and prompt you to install. Hit the Install button to continue with the process. If you wish to make any changes, you can hit the back button and navigate to section where you want to make the change.
Now, you are ready to use Mozilla Thunderbird. Just click on the “Finish” button to complete the installation.
How to setup your Email address in Mozilla Thunderbird:
Once you have finished installing Thunderbird, you want to open up the program and begin using it. The first step is to add an e-mail address. You will be prompted to do this as soon as Thunderbird loads.
You will want to enter the name you use with your e-mail address, the address itself and your password. Your password will be hidden from sight. You also want to choose whether Thunderbird will save your password or not. If you do not select this option, you will be prompted to enter it every time the program accesses your online mailbox to download the e-mails.
Thunderbird will query the servers associated with your e-mail address to automatically fill in the incoming and outgoing mail servers. If it cannot find them, you will have to manually enter the information. You can get this from most e-mail providers in the help or troubleshooting sections (search for IMAP and POP3 access in your email providers help section). Once you have the green light from your username, incoming and outgoing servers, you can click the Create Account button.
The next box that pops up will ask you what you want to use Thunderbird for. You can choose to use it for e-mail, feeds and newsgroup services. Click the ones you will use and if you did not already designate Mozilla Thunderbird as your default e-mail client, you can do so now and then hit Okay.
Once your first e-mail account is set-up properly, it will display on the left side of the client. It will begin downloading e-mails immediately from the server. In the case of Gmail which utilizes folders server side to organize e-mails, it will also download the folders with the contents intact if you have enabled it do so.
Since each e-mail provider is different, you want to check out what type of POP3/IMAP settings they use to configure them to use with Thunderbird.
Now, you want to tinker with the settings of the e-mail address you added in Thunderbird. In the main panel, you will see links to various settings. You want to navigate to View settings for this account.
You will see the e-mail you added and several different categories to begin setting up. The first one you want to check out is your Account Settings. These pop up when you simply click on your e-mail address. You can change the account display name in Thunderbird, the name on your e-mails, the reply to address and even add a default signature to the account.
The next settings to take a look at are the Server Settings. This area lets you change the incoming server information as well as how often you check the e-mail server for mail as well as what happens to deleted mail. You can also change the local directory where your Thunderbird settings, archives and cache are stored from here.
The last group of settings you should take a look at on initial installation of Thunderbird is the Copies & Folders ones. This is where you can change how mail interacts with Thunderbird once it is downloaded to the client. By default, a set of folders are created account-wide to archive e-mails. If you want each e-mail address to have its own set of folders, this is where you change those options.
In order to do that, you want to check the “Folder on” option for the e-mail address you added. Make sure it points to that e-mail address, and you are good to go. If you want global e-mail archive folders, simply keep the Other option checked.
What else can you do with Thunderbird?
Once you have set up your first e-mail account, you can do so much more with Thunderbird. You can add additional e-mail accounts, you can begin tinkering with the adaptive spam filter or you can find themes and add-ons to do more with the client.
Thunderbird can be fully customizable and integrated with whatever you do on your computer. Why are you still reading this post? Get to know Mozilla Thunderbird and find out everything it can do for you.
Check out Thunderbird add-ons and themes at Mozilla’s web site.