Browsing without e-mail is like eating peanut butter without jelly, and I would be negligent if I failed to introduce Thunderbird, a first-class e-mail application that runs on your desktop. Thunderbird and Firefox serve two different purposes, but have plenty in common. Both are produced by the Mozilla Foundation, and both share the same goal: to make your life easier. And although they are two separate products, the experience is best when you use both because they integrate well.
Thunderbird is not an e-mail provider; it's an application you can use with your existing provider. If you use a Web-based e-mail program that you're satisfied with, it might not make sense to begin using Thunderbird. However, if you're currently using Microsoft Outlook, you should switch to Thunderbird because it offers superior search and spam-blocking capabilities. In this chapter, I walk you through the basics of Thunderbird and point you to additional resources should you decide to stick with it.
Like Firefox, Thunderbird is available both on CD and as a download. To order the CD, visit the Mozilla Store online (http://www.store.mozilia.org). To download the setup file, visit http://www.getthunderbird.com. The download takes just a couple of minutes on a high-speed Internet connection.
The installation process for Thunderbird is essentially identical to that of Firefox. If you're using Windows, a Setup Wizard just like the one from Firefox walks you through the brief installation process. If you're using a Macintosh, installation is the same simple drag-and-drop operation you use to install Firefox. (See Chapter 3 for instructions on installing Firefox from either the CD or the downloaded setup file.) Adapting the instructions to Thunderbird is easy, I promise, and if you get stuck, check out the list of online resources at the end of this chapter. The online resources offer step-by-step installation instructions.
Like Firefox, Thunderbird offers a simple Import Wizard to help you migrate your settings, address books, and old mail from your current mail application. Simply choose Tools Import to open the Import Wizard. In the first screen of the wizard, select what kind of information to import, and in the next, select the e-mail application from which to import. You can return to the Import Wizard multiple times if you need to import more than one kind of information. I don't include extensive import instructions here because I suspect that you're taking more of a trial run with Thunderbird, and you might not be sure if you want to switch yet.