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 speaking population.

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, was abandoned.

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.

Post-install customizing

Creating a new email account

A new account can be created through Tools > Account Settings.

An account is actually mix of the following elements:

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.


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:

  1. Download keyconfig.xpi: http://mozilla.dorando.at/keyconfig.xpi
  2. Install through Tools > Add-ons > gear icon > Install Add-on from File
  3. Restart Thunderbird
  4. Tools > Keyconfig
    "New Message" : Disable
    "Get New Messages for All Accounts" : Hit CTRL+M, and select Apply
  5. Close (and restart TB?)

To upgrade the Portable version of Thunderbird:

  1. Check if a new release is available through Help > About Thunderbird, and download if necessary
  2. Close TB and run the updater