Mozilla Thunderbird is, in my opinion, the absolute best free e-mail program available. It doesn’t have the vulnerabilities found with Outlook, primarily due to the fact that it is not an “attack target” like Microsoft products. Even when vulnerabilities are found, they are quickly patched by the community of developers that support Thunderbird. We’ve put together a list of tips to make your use of the Thunderbird email application more enjoyable.
If you have a specific question regarding how to do something with Thunderbird, post a comment below and if we have a solution we will include the answer on either this tips page or in a separate tutorial.
Where do I find the download for Thunderbird?
You can find the most current version at the Mozilla Thunderbird download page. Installation is pretty simple. If you are using Outlook, Eudora or another e-mail client, you can easily import your address book and messages during the installation.
How do I include the previous message text when I forward e-mails?
We found this to be one of the annoying default features with Thunderbird. Unless you change the settings, when you forward a message with Thunderbird it will include the forwarded message as an attachment. I personally prefer that the forwarded text be included in the body of the message that I send.
This is easy to change.
- Click on the Tools menu
- Select Options
- Select Composition
- Select the General tab
- At the top change Forward messages: “As Attachment” to “Inline”
- Click OK
Your forwarded messages should now include the text of the forwarded message in the body of the email just below any message text that you add.
How do I upgrade Thunderbird?
If you selected the default settings during the installation, Thunderbird will automatically download updates and let you know when they are ready for installation. You will find the settings for this under Tools, Options, Advanced and then select the Update tab.
How do I set up mailing lists?
Check out our tutorial about setting up Thunderbird mailing lists. This is really simple to do, but like many things with open source software, the solution is not always intuitive.
How do I eliminate spam?
This is an area where Thunderbird excels. We did a separate post on that called Thunderbird spam and junk mail filters. We tried several different methods to eliminate spam and this was the only system that eliminated it almost completely and at zero cost. We were very impressed. 😀
Where does Thunderbird store my e-mail messages?
They are hidden, but you can find them using the tips we offer in Thunderbird file location. This is very useful information if you wish to move the location to a Windows folder that can be easily backed up.
How do I change my passwords?
Ah-h-h, grasshopper. Passwords used to access your e-mail accounts are easy to change if you follow the instructions we offer in Changing Thunderbird Passwords.
How to I add a signature to my messages?
That is also very easy to do if you just follow the steps in our creating an email signature tutorial.
How do I make Mozilla Thunderbird my default e-mail client?
When you set up Thunderbird as the default email client, it will automatically open whenever you click on an e-mail address on a web page that uses the HTML mailto: protocol. To configure Thunderbird as the default email client, simply Open the Tools menu, select Options and click on the General icon. Under system Defaults, check the box that says, “Always check to see if Thunderbird is the default email client on startup.” Click OK to save the setting. From now on, whenever the PC is booted it will check to see if Thunderbird is the default email client. If one of the Windows programs tries to change the setting to Outlook or if another program changes it to something else, a message will be displayed that will allow you to change it back.
How do I permanently delete e-mail messages in Thunderbird?
Most people are not aware of this, but when you delete an e-mail message with most e-mail clients, you do not actually delete the message. The message is simple flagged so that it does not appear in the e-mail list. Thunderbird never actually deletes a message unless you take some extra steps. First, select File, Empty Trash. Second, select File, Compact Folders. This deletes all of the flagged messages in the data files.
Can I use Thunderbird with my Yahoo e-mail account?
Yes and no. This issue keeps coming up. It looks like you can use Thunderbird with a Yahoo account if you subscribe to Yahoo Mail Plus. The standard freebie Yahoo account does not offer POP3 access. See the following articles. You will find all of the proper configuration information posted there.
How do I prevent Thunderbird from embedding attachments in incoming e-mail?
This was a feature that was turned on by default in older versions of Mozilla Thunderbird. I think the default is turned off in newer versions. It is something that is not only annoying, but also presents security issues.
Turning the embedding feature off is easy. Just select the View menu. Make sure that Display Attachments Inline is unchecked.
How do I prevent Thunderbird from embedding attachments in my outgoing e-mail?
Changing Thunderbird’s behavior with outgoing e-mail attachments is easy to do, but is buried in the Config Editor. Make sure that you are using a current version of Thunderbird. The location of the Config Editor has changed several times with different versions.
Select the Tools menu, then Options, select the Advanced button, then the General tab and click on the Config Editor button. Scroll down until you find mail.content_disposition_type. If the value is not set to 1, double-click on that line and an Enter Integer Value dialog box will pop up. Change the value to 1 and click OK. Shut down Thunderbird and restart it for the change to take effect.