Migrating from Eudora to Mozilla Thunderbird
I wrote this article after choosing the open-source mailer Mozilla Thunderbird
as an alternative to Eudora, which I stopped using after over a decade because
of its lack of support for UTF8 that is becoming prevalent in the non-English
It's unfortunate that Eudora OSE ("Open-source edition", a.k.a.
Penelop), which was an add-on to Thunderbird to make it look and fee like Eudora,
After a few weeks, I'm generally happy with it, although I still miss the
single Outbox (Thunderbird has three: Draft, Outbox, Sent), and the SDI windows
(ie. displaying child windows within the main application, while MDI windows
are shown as independant windows).
In the following section, I'll present what I did to make Thunderbird look
and behave more like Eudora.
For what it's worth, before choosing Thunderbird, I also checked TheBat!,
Pegasus Mail, and Essential PIM. Also, Thunderbird has no problem importing
data from Eudora, and emails will end in its own "Eudora Import" folder
so they are still accessible after migrating to Thunderbird.
Creating a new email account
A new account can be created through Tools > Account Settings.
An account is actually mix of the following elements:
- An Identity (Name, From, signature, etc.); The very first item in the
list is used when creating a new outgoing email; Confusingly, an item in
the left-hand list can have multiple identities, which are displayed in
the From field when creating a new email
- An Outgoing Server (SMTP): Multiple server identies can be created through
the "Outgoing Server (SMTP)" item; Oddly, items in the list contain
POP infos, even when the SMTP server requires no authentication
- The POP/IMAP settings to read emails
A new account must use a unique
After adding a new email account, and in case you only use the single Local
Folder option, this new account must be modifed through its Server Settings
> Advanced to tell Thunderbird where to save incoming emails.
- DONE How to change the default e-mail account used when creating a new
e-mail through CTRL+N? Tools > Account Settings; Select an account on
the left, click on the Account Actions at the bottom, and click on "Set
- DONE How to create an account with no POP3 settings, just for sending
e-mail? Tools > Account Settings > Outgoing Server (SMTP): Add a new
account : NO! SMTP items are linked to a POP3 accounts where name + e-mail
are. SIMPLE : just map this "send only" account with any of the
other POP3 accounts available; The POP3 mailbox will just be empty if that
SMTP-only account runs afterwards NO! TB checks if the POP3 account has
already been used with another email account. Just type anything for the
POP3 settings, and in the Server Settings, just uncheck the Check options
to prevent TB from actually connecting and downloading emails
- NO Can contents of Inbox and Outbox be displayed in two windows Ó la
- DONE File > Get New Messages for > All Accounts: Nothing happens,
while OK if downloading for given account. Why? Tools > Account Setings
> Select e-mail account > Server Settings > Advancedů : Check
"Include this server when getting new mail".
- DONE Keyboard shortcut to download emails from all accounts: Can it
be changed from SHIFT+F5 to Eudora's CTRL+M? By default, Thunderbird uses
CTRL+M to write a new email. Install keyconfig.xpi, disable CTRL+M, assign
CTRL+M to "Get New Messages for All Accounts"
- NOT POSSIBLE Make new message window MDI?
- DONE Send Again: Open sent email, Message > Edit as New Message
- DONE As an easier alternative to CTRL+F4, can the Escape key be configured
to close a tab, especially one that is currently displaygin an email from
the Inbox? CTRL+W
- DONE How to avoid showing "Thunderbird received X new messages"?
Tools->Options->General->When new message arrive
- DONE Make TB the default emailer? Tools > Options > Advanced >
- NOT POSSIBLE? How to add a new SMTP account with no matching POP3 account?
- NOT POSSIBLE? Can Draft/Outbox/Sent be combined into a single Outbox
- DONE Keyboard shortcuts for FROM (ALT+R), TO (?), and SUBJECT (ALT+S) fields?
- DONE Spam messages are moved to Eudora Import > Junk; It can be moved
into Inbox through drag 'n drop
- NO Can re-tagging a legit email from Junk
to Non-Junk move it to the Inbox?
- DON'T KNOW Doe moving an item from the Junk folder to the Inbox folder change its
Junk status accordingly?
- DONE How to get TB to move emails marked as Junk to the Junk subfolder
automatically? Tools > Account Settings > Local Folders > Junk
Settings: Check "Move new junk messages to". In addition, Tools
> Options > Security > Junk: "When I mark messages as junk".
TWO JUNK FOLDERS!
- DONE How to back up data? c:\Users\fred\Downloads\ThunderbirdPortable\Data\profile\
- SEMI-DONE Possible to close current child window with ESC instead of
CTRL+W or CTRL+F4? Use Keyconfig to 1) disable Esc for the mysterious "key_qfb_escape",
and 2) reassign Esc for "Close" instead of CTRL+W. NOTE: "Close"
will close TB if hit while in the Inbox tab
- Configure to use CTRL-F to search messages instead of CTRL+SHIFT+F
- Search dialog: By default, should search Body instead of Subject
- keyconfig no longer has CTRL+M to download all emails, and won't let
me assign it back to that feature: Uninstall, reinstall? Tools > Add-ons
> Extensions: Disable, restart TB, restart: NOK. Uninstall, reinstall:
- Can't use same email address for two accounts?
- How to change default FROM field when creating new email?
- Keyboard shorcut to switch from Inbox to Sent?
- Can all email accounts be configured to download emails every 10mn,
instead of having to set this for every single account manually?
- Why do I often get this when checking emails? "Sending of password
for user pop.free.fr:frederic.faure14 did not succeed. Mail server 127.0.0.1
responded: [AUTH] Error logging in." Remove POPFile and see
- The icon sitting in the icon bar sticks to the Unread icon even though
the Inbox contains no unread email
- Tools > Account Settings > Outgoing Server (SMTP): Select default
server > Edit : It says "Port: 1, Default: 587", and "Connection
- Split screen horizontally to display contents from Inbox and Sent?
You can rename "Local Folders" through Tools > Account Settings.
Like other email clients, and unlike Eudora, Thunderbird has three "out"
folders: Drafts (emails you are working on but aren't ready for transmission
yet), Outbox (emails ready for transmission), and Sent (emails that have actually
been sent). Needlessly complicated.
By default, each POP3 account has its own folder; When importing e-mails
from Eudora, Thunderbird won't ask. To have a single Inbox ("Global Inbox"),
here's the procedure:
From Tools > Account Settings: For each POP3 account imported from Eudora,
select the account, click on Server Settings > Advanced, and select "Inbox
for different account > Global Inbox". Thunderbird will warn you that
"If you store this account's new mail in a different account's Inbox, you
will no longer be able to access already d"ownloaded e-mail for this account.
If you have mail in this account, please copy it to another account first."
After performing this step for the first POP3 account, notice that a new Inbox
is created in Local Folders. Perform the same procedure for the other POP3 accounts
that were imported from Eudora, and stop/restart Thunderbird: You should now
have a single "Local Folders" section. Restart Thundebird.
After configure each POP3 account, you must manually download e-mails from
each account once so that you are prompted by Thunderbird to type its password.
Once you've done this once, Thunderbird will be able to download e-mails from
all accounts in one go through File > Get New Messages for > All Accounts.
Make sure you check "Use Password Manager to remember this password",
or Thunderbird will forget them after it's closed.
Alternatively, each POP3 account can keep its own Inbox while having a single
Inbox through the use of Virtual Folder or Unified Folders.
Thunderbird includes a very effective anti-spam module. To mark spam messages, type J
in the message list or SHIFT-J to unmark. After a few days/weeks, it will have
few false negatives.
To disable Thunderbird's Junk feature and configure it yourself because you're
already running an anti-SPAM proxy (POPFile),
How to change keyboard shortcuts:
- Download keyconfig.xpi: http://mozilla.dorando.at/keyconfig.xpi
- Install through Tools > Add-ons > gear icon > Install Add-on
- Restart Thunderbird
- Tools > Keyconfig
"New Message" : Disable
New Messages for All Accounts" : Hit CTRL+M, and select Apply
- Close (and restart TB?)
To upgrade the Portable version of Thunderbird:
- Check if a new release is available through Help > About Thunderbird,
and download if necessary
- Close TB and run the updater