Thunderbird FAQ

What is Thunderbird?

Thunderbird is an e-mail client. An e-mail client is the program which you run to read your e-mail. There are many different types of e-mail clients out there, two of the most popular e-mail clients are Microsoft's Outlook and Outlook Express.

Thunderbird looks and feels very similar to Outlook Express, and is used to check your email in almost exactly the same way.

Why should I use Thunderbird?

Because Thunderbird has more advanced capabilities than other e-mail clients and is probably easier to use. Also, one of those advanced capabilities is the implementation of a very efficient spam-filtering algorithm.

It works nearly identically to Outlook, so once it's been installed, you can work in exactly the same way that you used to, but filter out spam at the same time.

How does the spam filtering work?

Thunderbird implements a learning algorithm. This means, that as you go on working, you mark e-mails that come in as junk or as not-junk, and Thunderbird learns from your selections. At the same time, Thunderbird uses what it has learnt to mark spam as junk automatically, and this has become one of the most accurate ways of filtering junk to date.

This means that you will occasionally have to go through the junk folder and make sure that it hasn't made any mistakes, but it's the most effective and easiest solution available.

Is it free?

Yes. Completely free and its source-code has been released to the public (under the GPL), which means that it promotes ethical IT standards.

How do I get it?

If you are currently using Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express and you are unhappy with the amount of spam you are getting, then you can follow the instructions below to install Thunderbird on your machine. Very little configuration is required since Thunderbird will automatically configure itself according to your Outlook settings. Just install it, and you're ready to go.

If you are using a web-based e-mail account, such as hotmail, yahoo or gmail, then do NOT install Thunderbird as this document does not cover configuring Thunderbird with web-based e-mail accounts.

Firstly, select one person from your organisation who's most comfortable adding/removing software on a computer. That person should test Thunderbird on their own computer and e-mail account. Once they have installed Thunderbird and seen that it fits their requirements, they can go round to the rest of the computers in the organisation and install Thunderbird on all the other machines.