These days many people manage their email on the web using services such as Gmail or Hotmail. These services offer access to email accounts through any web browser. It is convenient because you can get your email from almost any computer. If you live in New York and you are backpacking in Thailand, just find an Internet cafe, log on to a computer, and check your email.

Another way to handle your email is to use an email client program installed on your own computer. A program like this offers many advantages over using a web email client. It lets you organize your email exactly how you want, it enables you to check email when you are not connected to the Internet, and you can manage multiple email accounts in one place. That said, desktop email clients and web email clients can coexist side-by-side. Using an email client at home doesn't preclude you from using web email when you want to check your account while you are on the road.


Mozilla Thunderbird is a feature-rich, reliable, and secure tool for managing your email. It's free and open source and it comes from the folks at Mozilla, the people who created the Firefox web browser. Thunderbird has been around since 2004, and is used by many people around the world. Best of all, it runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. You can connect to many email services with it, including Gmail, Hotmail, and GMX. Finally, Mozilla regularly releases new versions of the software that keep Thunderbird secure and up to date.

This manual shows you how to use Thunderbird to manage your email. It takes you through the steps of downloading, installing, configuring, and using Thunderbird. If you have problems using the program, there are chapters with help on how to resolve problems and that show where to get additional support.

Thunderbird's Features

If you're wondering why you should use Thunderbird, its range of features give the program a lot of flexibility. Here's a list of Thunderbird's main features:

  • Rich-text email composition
  • Email account set up wizards
  • Secure connection to email accounts
  • Password protection
  • Tabbed interface
  • Junk mail and phishing protection
  • Customizable look and feel
  • Smart folders
  • Add-ons for feature enhancements
  • Email search and filtering
  • Message archiving
  • Address book
  • Update manager