How to manage your email accounts.

How to manage your e-mails.

This is about the email manager application called Thunderbird which is produced by Mozilla, the company that also produces the web browser Firefox.

If you have 2 or more email accounts then this will be beneficial for your use.

If you only have one account then this application will probably not be of use to you.

Where can you get it?

It is available in a bunch of languages and can be installed on Linux, Mac or Windows. Just select your language and operating system and then click on the Download link.

This site will also tell you how to install and use it, which may change over time so I will let them tell you the latest information.

Now that you have it downloaded and installed what can you do with it?

Organize all of your email accounts in one place. (I currently have over 30.) These accounts can be email, chat, newsgroups, feeds or move mail.

When you start it for the first time it will ask you some questions such as those below.

  1. Would you like a new email address? I just click on the button “Skip this and use my existing email”
  2. It will ask for your name (as shown to others). Mine came prefilled with my name.
  3. It will ask for your email address and password. There is also a check box to remember password. (I generally check this.)
  4. Then just click “continue“.
  5. It will then look up common server names and if your address is found it will show you the incoming and outgoing servers for your email. Just click on the Done button to continue. If it can’t find your information then you can click on the Manual config button. After clicking Done it will check your password. If the password is correct then your account will be created.

It will create the following folders for your account.

  1. Inbox. This is where all of your messages are stored.
  2. Drafts. When you are composing a message it will automatically store it in this folder after a certain amount of time. You can manually store it here yourself if you need to stop for a time.
  3. Sent. This will be where your messages that are sent are stored.
  4. Trash. Some messages are automatically sent to the Trash and some are messages that you can send there manually.
  5. Junk. This folder will be created on accounts where you have set up junk filters, this will be covered later.
  6. If you have Gmail accounts it will create additional folders under your main account folder, which can not be deleted unless you delete them from your Gmail account.

It will also create 1 additional file and 1 folder on your system. The file is “.thunderbird.ini” and is located in your home folder on your system as a hidden file. This file is read by Thunderbird when it starts to locate your profile directory. The folder is where your profile is stored. You generally don’t need to do anything with these files/folders except if you plan to move/copy Thunderbird to another computer or system.

Create new folders and move mail from specific persons into their individual folders.

This is very easy to do: Just right click on the folder (generally the Inbox) and a drop-down menu will appear. Near the middle of the list will be an option New folder. Select this and it will ask you for a name for the folder and where you want this folder as Create as a subfolder of:. It will be prefilled with the name that you selected above. If you don’t enter a name it will ask if you want to make it a parent folder, so be sure to enter a name for the new folder.

Using your accounts.

  • Email

Select account you want to use by clicking it in the list of accounts on the left side. In this list will be a number after the account name with the number of new messages in that account, so if there is NO number then there are NO new messages. At the left of the name will be an arrow that when clicked will drop down the folders within the account.

A new window will open on the right hand side. In this window there will be a number of options for you to do.

*Read messages

Click on this and it will show you all of the messages in that account. The new messages will be in the bold font and the read ones will be in a normal font.

*Write a new message

This is where you can send a message to one or more persons. It will have the From: field filled in with your name and email address as was entered when the account was created in Thunderbird. At the right side of this field will be arrows that you can click to scroll up or down to select another address to be in the From section of the message.

There will be 3 fields that you can send the message to. Just start entering the first few letters of the recipient’s name and it will fill the box with the rest of the name and address that is pulled from your address book. As these three lines are filled up, more will open so you can add more recipients.

You will then enter a subject just like in most other email programs. Below this will be a box to enter the body of the message, which you can format using the buttons at the top.

At the very top of the screen will be the following options: Send, Spelling, Attach (where you can attach a file to be included with the message), Security, and Save.

If you use the words Attach or Attachment in the body of the message a box will pop up reminding you to actually attach the file. There have been a lot of emails in the past that were sent without the attachment so this is a good reminder to make sure the file is attached.


*View settings for this account

Here you can view and change settings for this account on the Account Settings page.

  1. Change account name
  2. Change the default Identity
  3. Enter additional information
    1. Reply-to address (Recipients will reply to this other address)
    2. Organization
    3. Signature text (A big multi-line box)
  4. A group of check boxes
    1. Attach the signature from a file
    2. Attach my vCard (with a button to edit the card)
  5. Set up the Outgoing Server
  6. Manage Identities

*Server settings

Here you can change your server settings. The top text boxes should be kept with the defaults. The Server Settings check boxes can be changed depending on your preferences. Mine are set to check for new messages at startup, check for new messages every 10 minutes, and when I delete a message it is moved to Trash. Other options are to just mark it as deleted or remove it immediately.

Message Storage has 2 additional boxes which can be checked or not depending on your preferences. One that I don’t know what it means is to Clean up (“Expunge”) Inbox on exit. The other check box is to Empty Trash on Exit. I have this checked on some accounts and off on others. This probably would be a good option to have checked ON.

  • Copies & Folders This option is where you can specify where messages can be stored. I have just accepted the defaults, but you can change them as you prefer.

  • Composition & Addressing This option I just accepted the defaults but you can change them as needed. They are self explanatory.

  • Junk Settings

Here you can set your junk settings such as:

  1. Enable adaptive junk mail controls for this account. This is a check box and mine is checked.

  2. Next will be a box with 2 items where you can tell Thunderbird to not automatically mark mail as junk if the sender is in your Collected Addresses or Personal Address Book.

  3. Next will be a check box “Trust junk mail headers set by: ” several spam fighting applications.

  4. Destination and Retention. This will have several options on what you want done to junk messages. You can move the new junk messages to the Junk folder on the account or to another folder that you specify. You can also tell Thunderbird to automatically delete junk mail older than X days. The default is set at 14 days so you can check and verify that it really is junk and NOT mis-labeled.

  • Synchronization & Storage The first check box will be “Keep messages for this account on this computer.” There will be an “Advanced” button that when clicked will open a box with a title of “Items for Offline Use”. In this box will be a list of folders from each account where you can select which folder(s) to keep on your system. Just click the “OK” button when done.

There also options to be set to save Disk Space. I have accepted the defaults.

  • Return Receipts You can either use your global return receipt preferences for this account. There is also a button that when clicked will bring up your Global Thunderbird preferences. That is why it is called the “Global Preferences…” button.

  • And Finally the Security Options This has to do with Digital Signing, Encryption and Certificates. I have not made any changes on this form.

There is another button outside of the list labeled “Account Actions” which has a drop down list of additional actions such as:

  1. Add a new mail account. This will take you back to the add account as described above.
  2. Add a chat account.
  3. Add a feed account.
  4. Add other account.
  5. Set the current account as the default account.
  6. Remove account. Will delete the current selected account.

Create a new account

Here you can create the following accounts:

  1. Email
  2. Chat
  3. Newsgroups
  4. Feeds
  5. Movemail

Create a new calendar

It will ask if you want to store on Your computer or on the Network where you can access it remotely or share with friends or co-workers.

It will then ask for a name and an email address.

Advanced Features

Here will be where you can:

  1. Search messages. This will open another window where you can enter your search criteria.
  2. Manage message filters. You can create filters as explained above to move messages from specified senders to specified folders.
  3. Manage folder subscriptions. I do NOT use this and do NOT know what it would be used for.
  4. Offline settings. This brings up the Synchronization & Storage screen as described above.

Address book

Clicking on this will open a new window where you can:

  1. Add New Contact
  2. Create new list
  3. Set properties/Edit selected item
  4. Write to selected address
  5. Delete selected item

Now that you know everything about Thunderbird, I hope you enjoy using it for managing all of your email accounts.

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