Thunderbird : Java Glossary
©1996-2017 2009-03-11 Roedy Green of Canadian Mind Products
The email program, formerly known as Mozilla, formerly known as Netscape. The most recent version is 52.7.0 Last revised/verified: 2018-05-06. If you upgrade, your
various plug-ins will stop working. It may be a while before upgraded plug-ins are available. It is the premier
mail program and it is free.
- built-in Baynesian spam filters. The spam filter comes pretrained, able to detect most spam
- spell check
- indexed search
- imports from many other email programs including Eudora and Outlook.
- S/MIME (Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Exchange)
encryption but not yet PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). However, the Enigmail
add-on does support it.
- The address book records whether that person prefers HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
or plain messages. This is a feature I have been begging for, for over a decade.
- Some IAPs (Internet Access Providers)
block you from sending mail through any mailserver but theirs. Thunderbird has a feature where you can direct
all you outgoing mail through a single IAP (Internet Access Provider)
mailserver, but marked as if it were coming from your various other servers. You still can pick up mail from
your various mail servers.
- It can handle Gmail, but not other webmails, without an add-in.
- It has all kinds of add-on/extension applications and
themes. The problem is Thunderbird is updated so frequently, most of them no longer work. At the of writing
none work but the official default. Last revised/verified: 2013-01-08
- It is difficult to navigate. For example to re-find a message you were composing.
- If you send a message in text rather than HTML, your
recipient will not see any embedded images. Further the images will be discarded from your copy too.
- The place you configure your outgoing SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)
server(s) is hidden in a peculiar place where you would not think to look. Look in the left panel on the
Account settings. Scroll down past all your accounts to the very bottom. This will reveal a line labeled
Outgoing Server (SMTP
). You can then select add or edit. Thunderbird
recommends using a single server for all your outgoing mail, usually the one provided by your
IAP. This speeds up sending mail since
only one server has to be contacted and means only one server has to be correctly configured.
- It will install the executable in X:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla
- The import mail from Eudora failed. I deleted all of Thunderbird’s
*.msf mailboxes and tried the import again, this time successfully. When it is done,
check over the files in the
You will see it littered with the remains of your earlier attempts to import. You can delete these.
- Thunderbird will not import your signatures from Eudora. Further, it lets you have only one signature for
each account. You don’t select the signature manually on each message. You must copy the Eudora signature
files to a separate data directory, rename them to *.html and then attach them to your
various email accounts.
- The logo is somewhat baffling, looking more like a dove than the terrifying black thunderbird of West coast
- The junk icon toggles. This drives me nuts. Sometimes it means this is spam and other times
this is not spam. Instead, use the keyboard shortcuts J and Shift-J.
- You can write your own custom extensions called add-ons. You write these by writing and modifying
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
- You must be careful not to mark items junk or delete them too quickly or it jams. To clear it, run the junk
mail processor on the folder.
- It is hopeless at finding messages. It loves you show you messages decades old in preference to recent
ones. It nearly always misses the message you are looking for.
- The address book does not work properly. You type names in the address book and it pretends it has never
heard of them.
- It will not export selected messages is some vanilla format for further processing. It keeps it data is a
proprietary database format, so you cannot process it with ordinary tools.
- To edit or add a contact, click the star beside a sender or recipient name.
- The command to remove all formatting is not in the right click menu where you would expect. It is under
Format on the menu bar and called discontinue
formatting. It changes into a remove formatting when you click it.
- Install Header
Tools Lite. Then you can edit the headers of messages people send you. Often people send you messages with
mindless or missing subject lines. Now you can change them so you can find the message later.
- Click the star icon next to an email address to let you edit the address book details for that person.
- To create new local folders, right click the mother folder
and left click new
- You can configure your trash to automatically empty on exit. You must set it individually for each account
in Tools ⇒ Account Settings ⇒ the account ⇒ Server Settings ⇒ empty
trash on exit
- To configure a signature, go into Tools ⇒ Account Settings ⇒ the
account. You then have a box to configure a plain text or HTML
signature. You can also configure a vCard. Unfortunately, you must compose and maintain a separate mini vCard
for each account. You can’t just import a common proper one. Oddly when you view somebody else’s
vCard in Thunderbird, it shows a much fuller version of the possible fields, so it is not as though Thunderbird
is unaware of what a vCard is supposed to look like. My recipients almost never understand they can click the
vCard to get additional information, even when I tell them. I have to describe the icon and its position. It
needs a clearer IU.
- You must configure how junk mail is handled both on individual accounts and on the group of accounts known
as Local Folders.
- Thunderbird uses the term write where most programs would use the term
- On Vista, Thunderbird stores its files in:
The contents of the emails are stored in an enormous SQL (Standard Query Language)
It is not in a form you can examine at with a text editor. Make sure you backup the entire contents of both the
directory trees. When you restore and have to reinstall Thunderbird, it will use a different random id. If you
can’t recover profiles.ini, be sure
C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\profiles.ini points to
your files and prefs.js internally uses the correct the random id of where you files
are. If you backup and restore profiles.ini, it will automatically point to the
correct profile. To restore, reinstall Thunderbird, restore the two directory trees, and start up Thunderbird.
You can the delete the newly created unwanted profile directory trees. Using random IDs just causes confusion;
they should assigned names, with a mechanism to dynamically switch profiles and import/export profiles into/out
of the standard directory tree.
- In Win10, Thunderbird keeps its files in C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\ and C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Thunderbird\.
In particular C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\randompnofileid.default contain the data.
C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\profiles.ini controls which profile will be processed.
- In XP, Thunderbird keeps its files in
C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Thunderbird\
C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Local Settings\Thunderbird\. Make sure you back up both these complete
- Thunderbird keeps track of its accounts and mailboxes in
Unlike Eudora, Thunderbird ignores mail files in its directories unless there is a corresponding entry in
prefs.js. You may have to manually adjust prefs.js embedded
random id when you restore, especially if you backed up just the mail files not prefs.js.
- Thunderbird stores its address book an a quasi-human readable format in
Make sure you back it up too.
- You can recover by creating a dummy mail account with the separate option. Then you drop files into its
directory, start up Thunderbird, move them to one of the real folders and shut down Thunderbird and
- If you accidentally get two copies of Thunderbird installed, do not uninstall one of them. It will delete everything
including your email data.
- You can give your mail boxes more meaningful names than Thunderbird assigns if you rename the directories
and also rename them inside prefs.js.
- If you want to rename the random id to something sensible, you must rename it both in the roaming and local directory and all references to it prefs.js.
- To send mail to someone you have already sent mail to in past, click the to: field of a previous outgoing
- To customise your toolbar to add or remove buttons with View ⇒ Toolbar ⇒
Customise Unfortunately there are no icons for non-toggling is-junk is-not-junk.
- If you want to finish an unsent message, you must click edit as new, before it
will let you modify it.
- You can create a CSS
style sheet to control to formatting of messages, to do such things as use different colours for different
- Thunderbird sometimes shows inappropriate columns on the mailboxes, e.g. sender/receiver when it is you, or
sender/receiver missing when it is someone else. Click on the hamburger icon
on the far right to configure what is shown.
RFE (Request For Enhancement)
- Allow you to prune out spam while Thunderbird is still downloading mail.
- Allow you to declare a sender persona-non-grata rather than having to mark at least 1000 emails from them
as spam before Thunderbird gets the hint.
- Ability to mark all but a set of languages you speak automatically as spam.
- Allow you to test a URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
embedded in an outgoing message.
- Allow you to access any open window from a unified tab bar. As it is, an open window can easily disappear
and it is almost impossible to find it again.
- Allow you to apply multiple aliases/keywords to an entry in your mailbox so that you can type any of them
to bring up that person.
- Keep track of conversations so that you can follow the thread without having to track down each piece
- Integrate digital signing of mail more seamlessly.
- Let you edit incoming mail, particularly the subject lines which are often meaningless for future