All entries for Thursday 09 December 2004

December 09, 2004

Moving from Outlook to Thunderbird

Writing about web page

Get Thunderbird

Following on from my little bout of Firefox advocacy, next in line is email.

I've been an Outlook Express and then Outlook 2000/2003/XP user for years and years. My general anti-Microsoft stance has been getting stronger and stronger recently (but that's a whole other entry), so I've been wanting to get away from Outlook for a while now because of various issues I have had with it.

So, Thunderbird has finally reached version 1.0 and I took the plunge.

Why change?

  • Outlook was getting too slow, it just couldn't really handle my 10000 or so emails.
  • It's memory footprint was getting huge and often locked up for 30 seconds or so when reading emails occasionally. Outlook has just bloated with features that I really don't need or want any more.
  • Outlook has been crap at handling the LDAP account that I've recently started using
  • I intend to try and switch to Linux at some point and the sooner I get used to using non-Microsoft software, the better.
  • Security/Privacy. Thunderbird is much safer and better protected from spam and viruses.

The experience

The Thunderbird download is a nice small 5.8MB and of course, it's free. It offers to import your Outlook settings and mail when you first load it up and depending on the size of your inbox has everything nicely and faultlessly imported in no time at all. Simple as that.

The interface is very similar to Outlook, but simpler. In terms of reading/writing/managing your email, it's great.

It must be noted that Thunderbird does not aim to do everything that Outlook does, it does not have a built in calendar (but you can add one via a free calendar extension ). In general I think my conversion is a success and I don't regret it, however, there are a few things that will hopefully be improved with Thunderbird.

  • I used to be really reliant on Outlooks popup notifications that announce when a new email arrives. It lets you see who it is from and be able to click on it to see the whole email or delete it with one click. However, the Thunderbird popup just tells you that you have a new email, no more info that than.
  • The email grouping can be slightly annoying, it requires a couple more clicks to arrange folders nicely, but it is no biggy.
  • The address book does not have quite as nice a view of contacts as Outlook does.

However, Thunderbird is always improving and will no doubt keep me happy as time goes by.

Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 Getting Started Guide

December 2004

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