Thunderbird Email Client

While many people enjoy “web-based” email through providers like Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail (or even through our hosting plans on Interpool-hosting.ca or CobourgCloud.com) many businesses or heavy email users require or prefer to use a local email program (or “email client”) instead.

If you are a Microsoft Office user you most likely use the included Outlook email program or perhaps Microsoft Mail which is included with Windows 10.

On Linux there are a handful of free email clients available but you’ll have to forgive my ignorance of what is available on MacIntosh computers.

I decided not to renew my yearly Office 365 subscription to save money. I believe it was $110 each year for up to 4 installations and some extra One Drive storage space and an hour of free calls on Skype. For home use we didn’t need the full Office suite, but I still needed something to handle my Email (and I switched to Libre Office for Word processing and Spreadsheets).

Mozilla Thunderbird

Remembering back to my Ubuntu craze from a few years ago I quickly decided to utilize my already installed copy of Thunderbird Email. I had installed it to be able to assist clients setup their emails. Now it was just a matter of adding my other email accounts and giving up Outlook.

Much to my delight this process was rather easy. Adding new email accounts is quite simple and the program attempts to figure out what the correct settings are for you. If that doesn’t work it is quite easy to complete the setup using Manual Settings.

You have a choice of setting up a POP3 or IMAP account. I suggest you use POP3. It will ensure your emails get deleted from your remote server (which you can configure, but by default Thunderbird uses 14 days which is plenty). This way you can still see the emails on your other devices (for up to 2 weeks) but know that eventually they will disappear from the remote server but still exist on what I like to call the machine you designate as your “master” email station.

I did find I had to change the way things were sorted and arranged in my email folders. I clicked on the hamburger icon, View, Sort By and sorted by Date (New to Old) and I wanted the Threaded view. I think I had to do this on each individual folder but I didn’t have a lot so it didn’t take much time.

Mailstore Home

So that is all nice but what about all of the emails that were in Outlook? Well, I wanted to have them in Thunderbird too, and didn’t want to end up searching for old emails in Outlook. I searched and found quite a few programs, both free and paid, that said they would export my Outlook Emails and make them available in Thunderbird. That said, many didn’t do the job, until I found Mailstore Home!

This software is described as a program that lets you archive your private email from almost any email source ensuring you never lose emails again. This really wasn’t what I was after but it did allow me to Archive all of my emails from Outlook (which uses PST files/format) and then Export them into Thunderbird (which uses Mbox files/format) with just a few clicks!

I’m no expert on how Mailstore Home works, so I ended up having all of my messages (over 39,000) imported into the Local Folders section. This went extremely well and was very easy to do! Some of the folders I dragged up into my new email account so they were right there, but you could just as easily leave them in the Local Folders area.

I uninstalled Mailstore Home after I was done but you could keep using it to archive your emails if you like.

What about my Google Calendar?

Next up was to figure out how I can integrate my Google Calendar into Thunderbird, as I see they have a very nice built-in Calendar (called Lightning) which I’d like to use too.

(Just a note – I was using another utility program to integrate Google Calendar with my Outlook Calendar too.)

I came across this article “How to Integrate Google Calendar Into Thunderbird” and was again delighted to see that this wasn’t difficult to do either.

In Thunderbird, make your way to Extensions and make sure you have Lightning and Provider for Google Calendar installed. Most recent installations of Thunderbird will already have Lightning so you should only have to install the latter.

Now you just Add a Calendar! While looking at the calendar in Thunderbird, I right-clicked on the white empty space below the top left box and selected New Calendar, On the Network, Google Calendar, logged into GMail and gave permission to Thunderbird to access my Gmail account, then checked off the calendars I wanted to see in Thunderbird.

Like magic, there were all my appointments and reminders! I didn’t fine tune anything, it just worked perfectly.

And just like that I was able to replace Microsoft Outlook with Mozilla Thunderbird.