The first thing you need to do after you download Thunderbird is set up your e-mail account. This is where you provide Thunderbird with a bunch of technical gibberish like your POP or IMAP server so it knows where to find your e-mail. When you first start Thunderbird, the Account Wizard opens to walk you through this process, as shown in Figure 10-1.
Figure 10-1: The Thunderbird Account Wizard.
To set up a Thunderbird e-mail account, follow these steps:
Open Thunderbird by clicking the icon on your desktop.
Thunderbird opens and launches the Account Wizard.
In the first screen of the wizard, select an account type and click Next.
Thunderbird offers three account types. The first option, Email Account, is used to receive and send e-mail. The second option is an RSS News & Blogs account, which allows you to subscribe to RSS-enabled Web sites (such as many blogs and news sites) and receive the latest articles in an e-mail-like interface. See Chapter 5 for a discussion of the RSS technology. The third option is a Newsgroup account, which allows you to participate in online forums about every topic imaginable.
On the Identity screen, enter your name and e-mail address.
The Identity screen asks for your name and e-mail address so it can display this information in e-mails you send to others.
On the Server Information screen, enter your current account server information and click Next
To receive and send e-mail, Thunderbird needs to know certain technical details about your e-mail server, including account type (POP or IMAP — see the sidebar elsewhere in this chapter), incoming server (for example, mail.earthlink.net) and outgoing server (for example, smtp.earthlink.net). Your e-mail service provider typically offers this information on its Web site. Figure 10-2 shows how I set up Thunderbird to use my own e-mail provider, but of course, your settings are different.
Figure 10-2: The Server Information screen of the Account Wizard.
The Use Global Inbox check box is offered for people with multiple e-mail accounts. By default, Thunderbird combines e-mails sent to each account into a single Inbox for your convenience. If you intend to use multiple accounts and want to keep them separate, deselect this check box.
On the User Names screen, enter your current account login information and click Next.
In addition to your account server information, Thunderbird also needs to know your e-mail account name for both incoming and outgoing mail (these are usually identical for most e-mail providers). Usually, but not always, your account username is the part of your e-mail address before the @ sign. For example, if your e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, your username is probably jennysmith.
In the Account Name screen, enter a name for the new account and click Next.
People you e-mail cannot see this Account Name. It's for personal purposes, to allow you to identify this account if you create additional accounts in the future. By default, Thunderbird names the account by using your e-mail address.
On the Congratulations! screen, verify the accuracy of the information you entered, decide whether to download messages now, and click Finish.
This screen provides an overview of the information you entered. If any information is wrong, click Back until you return to the screen where you entered the information, and then correct it. (You can modify account information in the future by choosing Tool Account Settings.) Otherwise, you're finished with account creation. By default, Thunderbird downloads all the messages from your e-mail provider's server when you click Finish. If you'd rather download them later, deselect the Download Messages Now check box.
If you allow Thunderbird to download your messages here and you have a POP account, your messages will be removed from your e-mail service provider and will exist only in Thunderbird on your current computer. If you're just giving Thunderbird a trial run, this may not be the best idea. To instruct Thunderbird to leave the messages on the server, uncheck Download Messages Now and visit the Account Settings window, as I discuss in the sidebar "POP versus IMAP."
|TECHNICAL STUFF|| |
I generally ignore the technical nitty-gritty when possible, but you should understand an important distinction between POP and IMAP accounts.
With a POP account, your e-mail remains on your e-mail provider's servers until you choose to download it to an e-mail program. After you download it, the e-mail is removed from the server and exists only on the computer and in the program to which you downloaded it. You would generally use this kind of account only if you use a single computer and e-mail program.
By contrast, with an IMAP account, your e-mail remains on your e-mail provider's servers until you manually delete it. This kind of account is a good choice if you need to access your e-mail from multiple computers because anywhere you go, your e-mail is available. As the world grows more connected and more people need this kind of access, IMAP accounts are becoming the clear favorite. If you use a Web-based mail server, you already enjoy the benefits of IMAP.
Unfortunately, not all e-mail service providers offer IMAP accounts. If that's the case with yours, you can still turn your POP account into a poor man's IMAP by instructing Thunderbird to leave your POP messages on the server even after you download them. Follow these directions:
If you choose to download your messages now, Thunderbird prompts you for your e-mail account password as soon as you click Finish. Otherwise, it waits until the first time you try to receive new e-mail by clicking Get Mail on the toolbar. If you don't want to be prompted for the password every time you send or receive e-mail, select the Use Password Manager to Remember This Password check box, and Thunderbird remembers it for you.
After your password is accepted, Thunderbird downloads your messages from your e-mail server. If you have a POP account, there might be messages to download only if you have new mail, so don't worry if Thunderbird doesn't find any. If you have an IMAP account, Thunderbird needs to download every last message — and there might be thousands, depending on how frequently you delete mail. It might take a bit of time.