In the past, I’ve always skipped email-centric programs like Mozilla Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook. It wasn’t until I had multiple accounts - work, personal, shopping, etc - on several different providers that I began to understand why these applications are so popular.
Briefly, an email app like Thunderbird allows you to send emails, read emails, delete emails - basically, whatever you would do using the interface your email provider gives you. However, Outlook and Thunderbird and their like allow you to gather all your email from various accounts into one place - a service that, until recently, you couldn’t get from standard email servers.
Mozilla Thunderbird is free and it’s been around for awhile, so you’re not wasting money on an untested program. But do you need it?
Download and Installation
Both of these went lickety-split on my machine. Download was just over one minute on my midrange DSL connection, and installation was just under the one minute mark. The setup process - which initially turned me off from other email programs - was as simple as filling in a few questions. Altogether, we were up and running in about 5 minutes with no glitches.
User Interface, Performance, and Support
The user interface for Mozilla Thunderbird is likely to feel familiar. It’s a combination of tabs and columns, with a couple of large windows. Drag the lower window down, and you’ll get a generous area for your inbox. All functions worked as I expected, and support - found on Mozilla Thunderbird’s website via forums and articles - is extensive.
One thing that worried me about this program was its open-source roots, which raises security concerns in my mind. However, Mozilla has added some features to protect user information, such as encryption, authentication measures, and privacy settings.
Overall the program worked well, but I did have one major gripe: I wasn’t able to access my email aliases, which I use to separate work emails from personal. But if you have multiple accounts and you haven’t set up email forwarding to your main email account, Mozilla Thunderbird does offer a convenient solution.