Cherryfield.net
PC Tips - Thunderbird

There's nothing much to installing Thunderbird. Download to your "Downloaded Software" folder (whatever you've called it on your machine) ... then double-click on it to install. The first time you start Thunderbird you'll get something like:

Thunderbird

If you really use Outlook Express (or one of the other programs it lists) as your eMail program, go ahead and import your settings. If that's not where your address book really is, don't import anything. Instead see the eMail Account Setup screens (at the bottom of this page).

Each time you start Thunderbird, until you make it your default eMail program it's going to ask you ...

Thunderbird

If you imported everything from Outlook Express (or whatever program you were using) be brave ... just click on YES and never look back.

When you first open Thunderbird you'll see a screen like this (if you didn't import anything) ...

Thunderbird

Or if you imported your current mail and have some mail in your Inbox it will look more like this when you start Thunderbird ...

Thunderbird

On the screen above you see three windows they show your eMail folders on the left (window 1), to the right of that a summary list of the messages in the selected folder (window 2) and below that is a preview (window 3) of the selected (highlighted) message.

Since I didn't import anything, when I click on Address Book (screen above) I get an empty Address Book ...

Thunderbird

If I click on New Card, I get the screen below. Here I've already typed my first name and am in the process of typing my last name ... note how it is filling in the Display Name at the same time ...

Thunderbird

The Display Name is the name that shows up as the addressee on the eMail message if it is received by someone using Outlook Express. In the screens below you'll see how Thunderbird will either show just the Display Name or optionally the eMail address as well.

In the screen below you'll see I included an alternate eMail address ... you might want to avoid that. Instead, if someone has two eMail address, I usually use two different cards with different display names ... one with something like "John Jones at Home", and one with "John Jones at Work". Also you should usually leave the "Prefers to receive messages formatted as" choice as Unknown unless you know what kind of eMail the person prefers ... this allows your default to control. (Although personally I like "Plain Text" so a note to the wise if you are adding me to your address book).

Thunderbird

If you leave that choice "Unknown", you can choose what kind of eMail you prefer to send people under the Composition and Addressing tab for your eMail account (under the Tools menu, Account Settings) ...

Thunderbird

By default the choice is "Compose messages in HTML format" which allows you to format your messages (change fonts, make text bold, etc.). For most that's probably the better choice, but personally I like "Plain Text" ... guess I'm just like everyone else, change is difficult, I been sending eMails for almost 40 years and plain text has always been just fine. (The real reason I don't like HTML messages is that I archive my eMail and HTML messages are about 3 times as long ... and usually people don't take advantage of the HTML features.)

The other important choice on the screen above is "Automatically quote the original message" ... normally I choose this, but I like to start my reply ABOVE the quote. If you don't want to include the original message in your reply you can always delete it.

Below is an example of an Address Book entry without a Display Name ... this will often happen if you have imported your address book. In the screens below, note what happens with this entry. Sometimes the part of the eMail address before the @ sign is used, in other cases no display name appears at all.

Thunderbird

Here's another entry I added just to show what happens when the Display Name (Computer Dummy) is different from the person's first and last name ...

Thunderbird

You have three choices when displaying your address book: first name and last name (as below)

Thunderbird

Last name, first name ...

Thunderbird

Or Display Name ... note that when we didn't fill in a Display Name it uses the part of the eMail address before the @ sign.

Thunderbird

If you close the address book and go back to the initial Thunderbird screen and click on "Write" you get this screen which lets you compose a message ... here I have just type the letter "w" ... it give me several choices of first, last, or display names beginning with that character ... I could choose one with a mouse (or some keystrokes) ... or if I had just hit the Tab key it would have filled in the current guess.

Thunderbird

Here's another example of clicking on "Write" and typing the letter "c" ... you'll note the Choices in this case are based on last name and display name ...

Thunderbird

Another choice is to click on "Contacts" ... that brings out the window on the left with a list of contracts ... highlight one and then either click on either the ""Add to To:" or the ""Add to CC:" button ... another choice is to double click on name which adds it to the "To:" list.

Thunderbird

You'll also notice that to the left of each addressee there is a pull-down on which you can change whether they are on the To, CC, or Blind CC list ...

Thunderbird

Below you see the first eMail I just sent myself. Notice how it just displays the recipient's names, not their eMail addresses.

Thunderbird

I like to also see the eMail addresses. To change this, go into options under the Tools menu. Click on the Advanced tab on the left, and then under the General Settings un-check "Show only display name for people in my address book". (If these options aren't shown, there will be a little plus sign next to "General Settings", click on it to expose them.)

Thunderbird

Also I un-checked the "Automatically add outgoing eMail addresses to my" box. June found these made a real mess of her address book ... if you do want to collect them, at least change the little pull-down to add them to your "Collected Addresses" book.

Below you see the second eMail I sent myself ... notice that now is also shows the eMail addresses (only the eMail address in the case of vinglo1 because there was no Display Name in the address book when this message was sent.

Thunderbird

On the screen below, you see that you can control which fields display in the summary of names in your by clicking on the mini-rolodex to the right just above the pull-down menu ... for example you might not want to display "Work Phone" (but if you put Northern phone numbers in as Work Phones, maybe you do).

Thunderbird

You'll see there are two address books (or three if you imported one). The Collected Address book is where it puts addresses of people (not in your Personal Address Book) that you send eMails to. Move (drag-and-drop) good address from these other address books into your Personal Address Book ... this will prevent eMails from these people being tagged as junk (more on that below).

The screen below is after I sent myself the first test message ... you see it appears in bold type indicating that I haven't read it. You'll also notice the Inbox folder appears in bold with a (1) after it ... this indicates that folder has one un-read message.

Thunderbird

As with every program you install, it's worth reviewing the options you can control (both soon after you have installed it and then again every so often as you use it ... you'll often find settings that will make it work better for you). Here's what Thunderbird's Advanced Options screen looks like ...

Thunderbird

Notice that under General Setting above I un-checked "Show only display name for people in my address book". I like to see people's eMail addresses, not just their name. One of my peeves with Outlook Express is that it only shows names, not eMail addresses. If you have a dial-up line you should also click on the "Offline Settings" button shown above, you'll get this screen ...

Thunderbird

If you have a dial-up line you probably want to choose "Ask me for online state at startup", since I have a cable connection I choose "Always start up online". With a dial-up connection, if you want to read your eMail, connect to your ISP first; then start Thunderbird and choose "Work Online". If you want to write eMail before connecting, start Thunderbird, choose "Work Offline" and write your messages (the Send button will have turned into a "Send Later" button). When you're ready, connect to your ISP and choose "Work Online" under the File menu.

Another recommendation is under the Tools menu, choose "Run Junk Mail Controls on Folder" (be sure you are in the Inbox folder). The defaults are fine, later you can make changes and even automatically delete junk mail (once you have "trained" Thunderbird and it is identifying you junk mail correctly). Here are the options you see if you choose "Junk Mail Controls..." under Tools ...

Thunderbird

Once you start running Junk Mail Controls, you'll see little waste baskets next to some of your messages, review all of these ... if it's not junk mail click on the waste basket to turn it off ... if it is junk mail and doesn't have a waste basket click on the dot to turn on a waste basket. This process "trains" the junk mail filter.

Thunderbird

Once you've identified the junk mail correctly choose "Delete Mail Marked as Junk" under the Tools menu ...

Thunderbird

You'll notice in the screen below that the highlighted message (partly shown in the window below the list of messages) is flagged as junk mail.

Thunderbird

If you double click on a message (or press Enter after highlighting one) you see it full screen ...

Thunderbird

Note the message that says Thunderbird thinks it is junk mail, and not much is displayed (this is because Thunderbird is protecting you from all the HTML references contained in the message which go out to the internet). If you click the "Not Junk" button on this message you get ...

Thunderbird

Now you see more of the message, but it still doesn't go out to the internet and pull in all the images. (If the image is actually part of the eMail message, you would see it.) If you click on the "Show Images" button you would get ...

Thunderbird

Here's another nice little feature; notice in the screen shots above there is a little minus sign to the left of the Subject of the message. If you click on it, the subject, sender and date are all displayed on a single line as you see below ...

Thunderbird

Also note that in this message since the picture was part of the actual eMail message itself, it appears in the message without having to do anything special. At any time you can view a message in it's own window instead of the little preview window at the bottom by either selecting a summary line and pressing enter or double-clicking on the summary line.

In the screen-shot below, you'll notice that I have gotten rid of the partial display of the highlighted message (the third window) ... I did this by grabbing the horizontal line between the two windows and dragging it to the bottom. You can still see the line at the bottom, to get back the message preview window just drag it back up ...

Thunderbird

As you can see, I get lots of junk mail. The mail from Betty Ulbright is incorrectly identified as junk ... I need to click on that little trash basket so it doesn't get deleted. The "Mail Delivery Problem" message without a trash basket probably is junk mail, but I need to look at it to verify that. The mail from eCost.com is obviously junk mail, but it's mail I requested ... I like to look at it quickly before I delete it ... being able to look at it without all the pictures (as we saw above) is great when you're on a dial-up line.

Also beware, that mail which looks real might be junk ... the screen below shows mail that looks like it came from me (but of course I was a little suspicious since I hadn't sent myself anything). If you get an eMail, even from someone you know, beware of attachments ... don't open them unless you are expecting them and know they are safe.

Thunderbird

Another trick of the people who try to invade your machine is to include links to click on in a message. Often these links show one address, but if you click on them you will be taken to a different website. In the example below it says "Click here: Message" which immediately makes you suspicious, but often it might have what looks like a perfectly safe URL. Don't trust it! Move your cursor (not shown here) over the message and in the status window at the bottom of the screen it shows exactly were it's going to take you ... in this case some punchbaby website.

Thunderbird

Below I've moved my cursor (not shown) over the "Add FUN to your email - Click Here" message, notice how the status window at the bottom now shows an incredimail website. This is another way Thunderbird helps protect you against linking to weird websites and installing software you don't want.

Thunderbird

The screen below shows one of the ways to move messages between folders. Here I've highlighted the messages I want to move and have selected Message / Move / Local Folders / Read which will move the messages into the Read Folder. (Note that I have previous created additional folders by right-clicking on Local Folders and choosing New Folder.)

Thunderbird

A second way to move messages to another folder is to highlight and drag-and-drop ... in the screen below I'm doing that, when this screen shot was taken my cursor (which wasn't captured in the screen shot) was over the Read folder (which is why it is highlighted) ... as soon as I let go of my left mouse button, the highlighted message will move there.

Thunderbird

Another way to move mail is using filters. Here's an example of a very simple filter (it moves mail I've already read, but haven't deleted, from my Inbox into my Read folder) ...

Thunderbird

I'm sure there's probably a way to run these filters automatically, but so far they only seem to run when I choose "Run Filters on Folder" under to Tools menu.


Back to PC Tips Summary


eMail Account Setup:  Since my eMail program was not listed I didn't import anything and got the following few screens which walked me through the process of setting up my eMail account ...

Thunderbird

Thunderbird

You'll notice that for name I put in my full name, if you just put something like "Bob" people getting eMail from you would probably think it was junk mail and delete it without ever opening it. If you and your spouse both use the same eMail account, use something like "Bob and Jane Jones". For the eMail address, but the one you want people to see and use ... for example, I would use cherryfield.net address instead of my weird Comcast user name.

Thunderbird

On the screen above the setting depend on your ISP, for example, if I was using highstream.net I might have used "pop3.highstream.net" and "smtp.highstream.net". If I was using Comcast, it would be "mail.comcast.net" and "smtp.comcast.net". Because my "real" mailbox is on the cherryfield.net server and I use coast to send my mail I needed to specify servers on two different domains.

Thunderbird

On the screen above most people would put the same thing on both lines ... the part of your eMail address before the "@" sign.

Thunderbird

On the screen above you probably want use the name if your ISP in the account name, for example, "Highstream Account". Each time you start Thunderbird, until you make it your default eMail program it's going to ask you ...

Thunderbird

If you imported everything from Outlook Express (or whatever program you were using) be brave ... just click on YES and never look back. The first time it's going to ask you the password on you incoming mail server. Once you enter it and tell it to remember it you'll never see this again.

Thunderbird


Sunrise Line Home Cherryfield.net WCRR Home Page