Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

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GS3
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Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by GS3 »

I kind of subscribe to the notion that "there is no such thing as 'the cloud', there is only computers under my control and computers I do not control".

Since it came out with Windows 95 I have been using Outlook Express with POP3. Almost 25 years now and I have all my emails safely stored and backed up in my computer. I can search and retrieve without problem. Never had to worry than any email servers were disappearing. No problem for me as everything resided in my own computer. I have gone though quite a few email accounts of different providers who ended up closing shop or I closed my account or whatever. Still, I have all the emails readily available in my computer.

these days I work more and more on my LM machine and if I want to send an email I either (1) go send it from the Windows machine or (2) log into webmail with the browser. Both are somewhat inconvenient and I am thinking it might be good to set up Thunderbird and start using it slowly while I learn it. Maybe I will ease into it or maybe I won't like it and will abandon it, in any case it would be a slow transition.

I have at least half a dozen email accounts I hardly use so I could just set up Thunderbird with one of those accounts. Should be fairly easy. I have a Gmail account I do not use. I could start with that one.

Also, this setup would allow me to send email from one computer to another as they each have their email accounts.

But, here is what I am thinking: I could set it up with POP3 and use it pretty much like I have been doing until now, but maybe it is a good time to rethink and maybe use IMAP which I have never used.

It seems IMAP is the opposite of what I want in the sense that the emails are stored in the server, which is exactly what I do not want. I want them to be stored on my computer and this for two reasons: (1) I will never lose them and (2) generally my internet connection is pretty unreliable.

With Outlook Express I can just copy to another computer the folder where the emails are stored and I have an exact duplicate of everything. Works very well for me.


I would like to hear experiences, advice and opinions on this topic.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by cliffcoggin »

I sympathise as I too want absolute control of all my data and emails etc. so I have nothing in the cloud, except perhaps my head.

By far the most difficult, time consuming, and expensive part of my transition from Windows to Linux three years ago was the transition from Outlook Express to Thunderbird. Having little understanding of Windows, and even less of Linux, I struggled to set up my Thunderbird POP3 account, and utterly failed at importing several thousand emails. I ended up paying for commercial software that would do the job for me. (It was a Swiss company as far as I recall. I can look it up if you want.)

Importing the address book from OE to TB was also a struggle but I managed it eventually. In summary, you export the OE addresses as csv files onto a USB stick, and then import them into TB. The problem comes if you have commas, as I did, in many of the addresses which have to be manually edited before import to avoid displacement of, for example, Street names into City fields.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by GS3 »

Thanks, that is why, before even thinking of importing anything, I am thinking of just setting up Thunderbird with a separate email account. That way I can practice and learn before taking the final plunge. Also, I like to have a certain amount of redundancy so that if my Outlook Express & Hotmail suddenly stop working I have something to fall back on. In fact, Outlook Express is on borrowed time already and the only reason it is still working for me is that I got some good help in this thread viewtopic.php?t=305780
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by cliffcoggin »

It might be worth setting up TB in Windows as an intermediate step. If you can import OE emails into TB-in-Windows it might take care of the format change, which would make the later transition to TB-in-Linux easier. I would have tried it myself but it didn't occur to me.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by RollyShed »

Are the emails on the web or on my machine? So I unplugged the internet cable, opened Thunderbird and there are the emails. I use it for an address I usually don't usually use or for those I don't really want them to know my usual address.

At work near 3 decades ago we used an email programme written in this country. Support stopped and most of us went to Thunderbird, a decade and a half ago. Outlook was unreliable and I know a few who had it stop working for no reason.

The other comment about addresses with commas needing removal. Could they have been put into LibreOffice Write and "Find & Replace" used. Put a comma in the first line and either leave the next line blank or a space or a stop. Hit "Replace All" (or Next" if you want to do them individually).

Then just copy & paste the result into the address book.

Gmail is "in the cloud" and it is handy if you often travel and take a different computer from the one use usually use.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by phd21 »

Hi GS3,

I just read your post and the good replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.

You can import your outlook data into Thunderbird (TB) in Linux or MS Windows. There could be advantages of converting to TB in MS Windows first. Pretty sure you can setup TB to read outlook email accounts as well.

Moving Outlook .PST emails to Thunderbird on Ubuntu Linux - Linuxsecrets
https://www.linuxsecrets.com/538-moving ... untu-linux

Ways to Import PST Files to Mozilla Thunderbird
https://www.nucleustechnologies.com/blo ... underbird/

migrate outlook to thunderbird | Thunderbird Support Forum | Mozilla Support
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1182258



linux ubuntu thunderbird setup outlook - Google Search
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ei= ... ent=psy-ab


Hope this helps ...
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by RollyShed »

In the Thunderbird Help there is -
"To see whether your account uses IMAP or POP, check the Server Settings page in the Account Settings."
Yes, mine is set up as imap.
Also under Account Settings -
Synchronization and Storage - the box is ticked and saying "Keep all messages in all folders for this account on this computer"
Trash - you can set it so things go to the Trash Bin but don't leave your computer, again another setup option.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by GS3 »

I started playing around with Thunderbird and it has been a slow learning curve but I am slowly making progress.

Setting up the email account is a breeze. I gave it the yahoo email address and password and it automatically set up all the server configuration, etc. Very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.

i have set it up with IMAP and I am still learning my way around IMAP because until now I had only used POP3.

I have not imported the address book as a whole as I prefer to enter contacts as I email or use them, that way all the old ones that have not been used for years will not be imported.

I like that it will spell check as I type and I can choose different languages. Very useful and convenient as I seem to make more spelling mistakes as time goes by.

There are a bunch of things that are different than what I am used to and I guess I will slowly have to get used to the way Thunderbird does things.

I prefer to use plain text rather than HTML text and I can set the email account to send emails in plain text but I don't like two things
(1) I cannot find a way to choose HTML format individually for selected emails
(2) It automatically breaks lines after about 70 characters.

Maybe there are ways around this and someone can tell me. Otherwise I might have to reconsider and give in to HTML.

I see it has some kind of Junk detector/filter but it scares me more than anything else. I will have to see how it works.

The calendar, task, events is not something I see myself finding useful but my wife says she likes it and plans on using it. ... Which means I will probably be asked questions and will need to know the answers which means I will probably be learning it and using it anyway.

I see it has some Chat function. I have no idea what that is about and I have no idea why it would be included in an email client.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by cliffcoggin »

I have used nothing but Thunderbird since migrating to Linux, though I refuse to use IMAP.

I too have a problem with lines wrapping at a ridiculously low number during composition, though the line length changes to what it should be after sending. I've got used to it. Check if your Sent messages have better line lengths.

The Junk Filter has surprised me at how effective it is. Tell Thunderbird (mark as junk) of any such emails and it will move similar messages to the Junk folder in future. It will learn rapidly to sort incoming mail. In three years I can only recall two emails that were wrongly filtered into Junk.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by ajgreeny »

One of the best moves I made before I ever considered moving to a Linux OS was installing and using firefox, thunderbird, gimp and many other open-source applications in my Windows XP, maybe even in Windows 98 that I used for several years prior to XP, but I can't remember now as it's too long ago.

I therefore had all my emails already on thunderbird, though when I made the change I suspect I did what others here mention and exported everything from Outlook Express to thunderbird, but again it is so long ago.

I use pop3 on one main machine only, meaning I have emails going back about 15 years, and imap on everything else, the imap machines all set to leave messages on the main email server so even if I've read them on imap I can still get them all on my pop3 account.

I do not use the cloud for anything else, other than all the emails left on the email server; no photos, documents, music, videos etc etc, as I much prefer to keep everything local on hard disks, and backed up to external disks.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by Portreve »

GS3 wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:38 pm
I kind of subscribe to the notion that "there is no such thing as 'the cloud', there is only computers under my control and computers I do not control".

Since it came out with Windows 95 I have been using Outlook Express with POP3. Almost 25 years now and I have all my emails safely stored and backed up in my computer. I can search and retrieve without problem. Never had to worry than any email servers were disappearing. No problem for me as everything resided in my own computer. I have gone though quite a few email accounts of different providers who ended up closing shop or I closed my account or whatever. Still, I have all the emails readily available in my computer.
"Back in the day" I used to use POP3. Of course, at the time, there was no alternative, and even when IMAP came out, it would still be many years until I had a broadband connection. IMAP is not very practical when you have a dial-up connection.

However, there came a point where I didn't want to have my email tied to my ISP. If I changed them, I had to give everyone a new email address. After a couple go-arounds of that, I'd had enough. My first step was paying for a mail forwarder, and at the time I used something called pobox. Anyhow, once webmail became a thing, I tried out a few and picked one I liked (Yahoo mail), and then I didn't switch until Gmail came along. It was too much of an upgrade not to, and so I standardized on that.

One of the things I absolutely hate is to have yet more stuff I have to worry about backing up. I've evolved my process of data storage and backup over the years, but back then I'd have to dig through folders and back up email data, or print important things out, etc. Hate, hate, hated that. With a passion.

To me, going back to a local email client and POP3 or IMAP would be like going back to using a PowerPC-based Macintosh and Classic Mac OS. The only time I use Outlook is for work, and then it's through a web interface because, well, obviously Microsoft doesn't make a GNU+Linux client, and even if they did I'm not about to put Microsoft's proprietary garbage on my computer.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by GS3 »

Portreve wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:05 pm
IMAP is not very practical when you have a dial-up connection.
I have a very limited connection as I use my phone's data. Since I have started using several email accounts with IMAP it seems to me Thunderbird is continually downloading stuff. At first I thought it would be a one time thing but it seems to be ongoing. I do not understand what it might be downloading any more.

It seems like it will send an email with an attachment and then download it from the server again to put into the "sent" folder. Seems wasteful, inefficient and stupid.

Since I have very limited data plan I am afraid I will be forced to forget about Thunderbird and IMAP. I will wait a day or two before I decide but I am pretty sure I am not completing the move.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by antikythera »

Open Account Settings followed by Copies and Folders. Untick Place a copy in. That will stop duplicates in Sent Items. For even more control over what is kept and synchronised click on Synchronisation and Storage. Untick Keep messages in all folders.... and then click Advanced. Configure the folders as you see fit.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by Portreve »

GS3 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:03 am
Portreve wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:05 pm
IMAP is not very practical when you have a dial-up connection.
I have a very limited connection as I use my phone's data. Since I have started using several email accounts with IMAP it seems to me Thunderbird is continually downloading stuff. At first I thought it would be a one time thing but it seems to be ongoing. I do not understand what it might be downloading any more.

It seems like it will send an email with an attachment and then download it from the server again to put into the "sent" folder. Seems wasteful, inefficient and stupid.

Since I have very limited data plan I am afraid I will be forced to forget about Thunderbird and IMAP. I will wait a day or two before I decide but I am pretty sure I am not completing the move.
The reason IMAP was not practical over dialup is probably connected to what you are seeing here. IMAP is essentially a continual connection between the email server and your local client (i.e. Thunderbird, Apple Mail, Outlook Express, etc.). Your local client will store something like a buffered amount of data but dynamically loads content from the server. That means you really don't have a full local copy of your email data.

POP3 is different in that it downloads your email in its entirety, and only steps and fetches after that if you receive new email while it's up and running, or of course if you send email. After that, the only traffic you'll get is whenever you open it back up in the future and there is new email to be downloaded.

POP3 does not keep copies on your email provider's server; it's deleted as it's downloaded.

Apart from making you locally back up that data, the other problem with this setup is that if anything should happen on your end (your system gets hosed, you suffer a hardware failure, etc.) anything you didn't back up is permanently lost.

Local ISPs back in the day didn't have server farms or near unlimited storage capacity, so POP3 was ideal because (unless you altered the setting in your email client) whenever their customers checked their email, it helped free up their server's storage space. It also meant it was possible for you to read and even author email without necessarily having a live connection at that moment.

Things have (obviously) radically changed since then. Unfortunately, your situation is what one might refer to as an "edge case" and honestly I don't know if there's any particularly good solution. Any one you pick is going to have some kind of associated downside. Perhaps you should consider only dealing with email on your phone except in those cases where a permanent copy of a given email is absolutely necessary, or where there's an attachment which you need to have on your computer.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by SMG »

While I use IMAP with Thunderbird, I make extensive use of "Local Folders" to minimize interactions with the server.

Local Folders is, as the name implies, local to my hard drive. That does mean that I have to make sure I have back-ups, but have an extensive hierarchy of folders to organize my saved mail and I can easily find what I want even when I am offline.

The ability to do work offline is one of the reasons I like Thunderbird, especially when I was travelling and internet access was minimal and/or slow.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by GS3 »

Portreve wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:47 pm
The reason IMAP was not practical over dialup is probably connected to what you are seeing here. IMAP is essentially a continual connection between the email server and your local client (i.e. Thunderbird, Apple Mail, Outlook Express, etc.). Your local client will store something like a buffered amount of data but dynamically loads content from the server. That means you really don't have a full local copy of your email data.

POP3 is different in that it downloads your email in its entirety, and only steps and fetches after that if you receive new email while it's up and running, or of course if you send email. After that, the only traffic you'll get is whenever you open it back up in the future and there is new email to be downloaded.

POP3 does not keep copies on your email provider's server; it's deleted as it's downloaded.

Apart from making you locally back up that data, the other problem with this setup is that if anything should happen on your end (your system gets hosed, you suffer a hardware failure, etc.) anything you didn't back up is permanently lost.
I have no problem backing up my emails and, in fact, have all my emails since the beginning of time, over twenty years worth of emails. I take the Outlook Express files from my main computer and copy them to my other computers and have several backups and all my emails accesible instantly from any computer, no need for Internet. It seems POP3 is better suited to my situation.

Furthermore, Hotmail does not really delete emails as I download them, it just moves them to another folder, so, in an emergency I can use webmail to access all the emails sent and received. And I can set my client to not even delete the emails when I download them


I just do not understand why IMAP needs to continuously download stuff. I would think each message only needs to be downloaded once but it seems like it is downloading the same data over and over. I do not understand it. Not necessary.

In my Windows POP3 client if I send a 10 MB file to someone the client puts a copy in the "sent" folder and that's it, but with Thunderbird/IMAp it seems like the same data is being sent up and down the pipe several times.

Another thing I really do not like about Thunderbird is the very poor handling and support of plain text email. I am used to easily choosing whether I want plain text or HTML but in Thunderbird plain text is a pain.

I am very discouraged with Thunderbird. I may keep playing with it for a while, probably changing over to POP3, and maybe I will get the hang of it but for now my main client will be my old trusty Outlook Express with POP3.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by ajgreeny »

Portreve wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:47 pm
POP3 does not keep copies on your email provider's server; it's deleted as it's downloaded.
Not if you setup your email account to keep messages on the server.
I use gmail pop3 on one main desktop machine, imap on all other laptop computers, and have done so now for many years, probably from just after it was released, and I have it set to keep all my emails on the server until I manually delete them using a webmail GUI.

This means I can see all the important emails I have sent or received since then which, as I thought them important, are all still on the gmail server.
I can therefore read them directly in my pop3 thunderbird system, or by using a webmail GUI "All Mail" folder using imap.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by Portreve »

GS3 wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:59 pm
I just do not understand why IMAP needs to continuously download stuff. I would think each message only needs to be downloaded once but it seems like it is downloading the same data over and over. I do not understand it. Not necessary.
Again, POP3 and IMAP are two different standards with two very different use cases in mind. With respect, you're trying to treat them as if they're the same thing, and they're not.
Another thing I really do not like about Thunderbird is the very poor handling and support of plain text email. I am used to easily choosing whether I want plain text or HTML but in Thunderbird plain text is a pain.
As I recollect, there's a toggle so you can switch a given email you're authoring between plain text and HTML formatting, and also you can go into preferences and tell it which way you'd prefer it to default. Way back when, I had my copy set to default to plain text, and then if I actually needed more formatting capabilities (for example, to do an in-line embedding of an image, or because I wanted to be able to boldface and/or italicize text) I would then use the toggle for that specific email.

I used to send and receive a lot of email (in the sense of correspondence; I still receive a ton of email, but 95% of it is junk); however, I just don't use it much any more. Voice and texting (whether some form of instant messaging or SMS) are much better suited to my needs these days.
ajgreeny wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:11 pm
Not if you setup your email account to keep messages on the server.
If you read a bit further down in my response to GS3, you'll see I made mention of that fact. It's just that the default behavior of POP3 clients is to move, not to copy, mail to the client from the server.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by antikythera »

To be fair to GS3 Thunderbird by default treats IMAP like POP3 and downloads everything in IMAP folders unless you tell it not to in Account Settings as I alluded to above.
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Re: Setting up email client (Thunderbird?)

Post by Kirara »

In case you don't need to access your mailbox from various computers I'd go for POP3 instead of IMAP.

Around one year ago I fully moved to Thunderbird from an Outlook setup containing a considerable amount of emails as well.
Thunderbird is a more than appropriate replacement in my eyes.

In order to keep things simple I would recommend to migrate your existing Outlook data to Thunderbird so you don't have to deal with two data sets.

As for your question regarding plain text/HTML, I only was able to to find these:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1110272
https://addons.thunderbird.net/en-US/th ... html-temp/

On a separate note.
If your intention to keep mails locally is because of privacy reasons, there might be more privacy friendly mail providers than Hotmail.
(not all of them support POP/IMAP clients though)
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