Thunderbird Explained: A Tutorial
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Download and Install

Navigating Thunderbird

Adding Email Accounts

RSS Reader

Using Filters

Spam and Junk Mail

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What is Thunderbird?  Why should I use it?

Thunderbird is the email client portion of Mozilla, an open-source suite of applications that can be downloaded for free over the Internet. Using a full-featured email client like Thunderbird offers several advantages that web-based mail interfaces like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo mail, and UT Webmail cannot.  Thunderbird allows a user to access and manage multiple email accounts simultaneously.  For a student at the iSchool, this means that you can access your iSchool email, your utexas email, and even your email from work, all using the same program. 

In addition to these features, Thunderbird is an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader that lets the user take advantage of RSS feeds, sites that distribute information using the RSS format.  Downloading news and information directly to your inbox is quite easy; Thunderbird can access multiple websites that are updated on a frequent basis, including news sites and blogs (weblogs).  Another facet of Thunderbird service encompasses the realm of Usenet (or Newsgroups), as Thunderbird can also access and manage multiple Newsgroup accounts. 

Fortunately, the capabilities of this program do not stop with the above.  Thunderbird also gives increased spam or junk mail controls. With this program, you can access government grade security features and the ability to easily parse large amounts of mail using customizable mail filtering.  Thunderbird is less susceptible to email viruses than Outlook, or other commonly used mail programs.

Finally, Thunderbird offers extensibility and the ability to customize.  You can customize the way the program looks, alter viewing areas, and add themes.  Extensions are available to add to the Thunderbird experience. For example, you can add increased security by downloading an extension that allows for PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) keys or add a feature that incorporates a dictionary search within the mail client. New extensions are coming out every week, so the ability to expand and customize this program is limitless.

This tutorial assumes Thunderbird version 1.0 running on Windows XP but other operating systems and versions should look and act similar.


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