Account Settings

After you initially set up your mail, if you need to change any account settings for an existing account, you can go to Tools | Account Settings. To change settings for an account, you need to select that account. Within each account, a number of settings can be adjusted. The screenshots shown next pertain to a POP account, but the screens for an IMAP account are almost identical, with only a few slight variations. I will note the variations in the relevant sections.

Mail Account Settings

Figure 10-11 shows the Main Account Settings screen, which is the area where you manage the creation and removal of your accounts. This screen also allows you to name your email account as well as configure your default identity, which is the information that people see when they read the messages you have sent.

Figure 10-11. Main Mail screen with a default identity.

Adding and Removing Accounts, Default Account

Click Add Account if you want to create a new email, RSS, or news account.

Click Remove Account to remove any of your existing accounts. You will receive a confirmation dialog box asking if you are sure you want to do this.

Tool Kit: Oops, I Accidentally Deleted My Account

Did you have a bad click day and delete your mail account when you didn't mean to? Thunderbird does throw up a warning dialog box asking you if you are sure you want to delete it, but heck, even I might hit the wrong button if I was having a bad mail day.

Actually, you may be in luck, because your mail has not been deleted from your profile folder. Assuming that you are not using Global Inbox, that mail is housed in your profile folder. If you are using Global Inbox, it is being stored locally. Refer to Chapter 9 to learn where your profile folder is stored in Thunderbird.

Here are the steps to recover from this seeming disaster:


Navigate to your profile folder to confirm mail still is there. See Chapter 9 for Thunderbird's profile locations.


To be extra safe, make a backup copy of your profile in case something goes awry. See the "Moving Thunderbird to a New Computer" Toolkit in this chapter to learn how to do this.


Fire up Thunderbird and create a new mail account. It is important that you use the same settings as the account that was accidentally deleted.


Close Thunderbird and go to your profile folder. A new folder should have been created.


Locate the folder for the deleted account and copy its contents, pasting them into the newly created profile folder.


Restart Thunderbird. You should see your new mail, and it should be a joyous day. Callooh! Callay!

Main Account Settings

Default Identity

In this section, you can make adjustments to your default identity:

  • Name

  • Email address

  • Reply-to address

  • Organization

  • Attach a signature or vCard to your outbound emails (see Chapter 13, "Customizing the Look and Feel of Mozilla Thunderbird," for a cool extension you can install to help you add signatures).

  • Manage Identities allows you to configure multiple names for your outbound mail. That way, when you go to compose a message, you can choose what account it is actually being sent from. This is a really handy feature if you are managing multiple accounts. Consult the "Creating and Managing Multiple Identities" section of this chapter for more about how you can use this feature to its fullest potential.

Server Settings

The Server Settings (see Figure 10-12) include the following:

Figure 10-12. The Server Settings.

  • Server Name

  • User Name

  • Port

  • Authentication preferences

  • Check for New Messages at Startup

  • Check for New Messages every X minutes

  • What to do when you delete a message

Probably the most important settings here are how often you want to check messages, whether you want Thunderbird to check mail on startup, and how you want to deal with trash.


If you are using IMAP, you will not see the following three selections on the Server Settings screen because they are relevant for POP only:

  • Automatically download new messages

  • Fetch headers only

  • Leave messages on server

Clicking the Advanced button leads you to a place where you manage the SMTP and IMAP parameters. Finally, this screen also lets you change the location of your local mail folders. If you click the Browse button, you can modify the local directory where your mail is stored.

Thunderbird Profiles

Thunderbird stores your mail in a profile folder along with all the other information related to your account. For more about profiles, see Chapter 9.

Copies and Folders

In Copies & Folders (see Figure 10-13), you can manage a number of preferences, including where you want copies of your "Sent" mail to be placed. You can also identify where you want copies of your draft messages and templates to be housed.

Figure 10-13. The Copies & Folders screen.

Composition and Addressing

The Composition & Addressing section (see Figure 10-14) allows you to set preferences as to how you want your emails to be composed and where you want your text to start when you are replying to a message, (my one pet peeveI always forget where this preference is, and I prefer to have my text appear above instead of below, which is the default). If you are using LDAP, there is also an option to select where you want Thunderbird to look for addresses.

Figure 10-14. The Composition & Addressing screen of Account Settings.

FAQ: What is LDAP?

LDAP stands for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. It is an Internet protocol that email programs such as Thunderbird use to look up address information from a server. LDAP is more commonly used in corporate settings where you might need to send someone mail who has never sent you mail (in this case your personal address book would be of little value), but LDAP servers can also be configured for smaller workgroups.

Offline and Disk Space

If you need to use Thunderbird in offline mode, you can manage your offline settings in the Disk Space area (see Figure 10-15). You can also set how large messages should be before they are downloaded for offline use.

Figure 10-15. The Disk Space area of Account Settings.


If you are using IMAP, you see additional offline setting choices that don't pertain to POP under this category.

Return Receipts

If you like to know that people have actually read the email you have sent, you can manage all your return receipt options on the Return Receipt screen shown in figure 10-16.

Figure 10-16. The Return Receipts area of Account Settings.


Figure 10-17 shows where you can manage your certificates as well as identify what kinds of encryption you want to use. There is also a certificate and security device manager. See Appendix F, "Security, Certificates, and Validation," to learn more about how to use certificates in Thunderbird.

Figure 10-17. The Security area of Account Settings.

A Quick Way to Access Account Settings

You don't necessarily have to go to the File menu to access the Account Settings section. If you right-click any of your mail accounts and select "Properties," you are taken to the Account Settings.

RSS Account Settings

If you have an RSS Account, you can change the name and also specify how often you want to check for new articles. There is also a button for subscription management. By default, Thunderbird displays the entire web page. If you find you just want to see the article summary instead, make sure to check the preference in this area.

Newsgroup Account Settings

Your newsgroup account has many of the same options as your mail account:

  • Server Settings

  • Copies and Folder

  • Composition and Addressing

  • Offline and Disk Space

Reference the "Mail Account Settings" section to understand how to use these settings.

    Firefox and Thunderbird Garage (Garage Series)
    Firefox and Thunderbird Garage
    ISBN: 0131870041
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2003
    Pages: 185

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