Migrating to Thunderbird 1

Migrating to Thunderbird (eMail Program)

I’ve used Macs and the built in email program, Mac Mail, for many years. I’ve enjoyed integration with all my other Mac Apps like Contacts and like Macs in general “they just work”.

But slowly, good ‘ol Mac Mail has been letting me down.

Recent problems include;

  • not downloading attachments when from mails are moved to custom subfolders via Rules/Filters.
  • Inaccurate references to the number of files to be deleted. For instance, if I have 50 emails in my spam folder selected to be deleted, the program asks for confirmation on a deletion of 100 emails.

These issues do not instill confidence that the program is getting it’s needed attention from Apple Developers.
It’s understandable that more focus (from Apple Developers) is on Mobile Devices as that portion of Apple’s business is greater than their desktop market.

Enter Mozilla Thunderbird. Available on both Mac and PC platforms, I’ve often recommended this to my clients that have problems with their mail applications, such as PC Outlook, that tends to go rogue from time to time. The program is also free which brings into question “why” since generally if your not paying for a Product you “are” the Product. Researching whether Mozilla is somehow monitoring our emails for marketing purposes will have to be subject for another day. For now, let’s focus on what it takes to migrate from Mac Mail to Thunderbird and what advantages or issues crop up.

What benefits or primary features are expected in this migration?

  • App Stability (no issues)
  • Rules / Filters so as to better organize our incoming emails

STEPS (Click Icons for larger views)

Installation is simple enough; drag icon to application folder alias .Install Thunderbird

Choose to set up account using current user/pass by selecting “Skip this and use my existing email” : Migrating to Thunderbird 2

The program will try to figure out most of the settings for you which helps us Admins with their Customers set up needs.
The programs choices were close but I prefer POP for my primary workstation and IMAP for any secondary devices. No problem. I’ll just click the “Manual Config” button.Migrating to Thunderbird 2 Migrating to Thunderbird 4

A couple minor changes such as using mail.sgdesign.net for both outgoing and incoming and also having my full email address as the Username was needed. But Ports and SSL are properly configured as well as Authentication: Migrating to Thunderbird 5  Correct Configuration: Migrating to Thunderbird 6

Click “Done” and we’re complete with the account set up. Nice!  Migrating to Thunderbird 7

Advanced Features – Creating Filters

Now let’s move to some of the more advanced features. One of my primary Rules created in Mac Mail was to look and see if the incoming person was in my Contacts. This meant that if I knew the person, no need for Spam Checks. When viewing the Settings Thunderbird has set up, it looks like that’s already in place. I already like that this program thinks the same way I do.  Migrating to Thunderbird 8

Let’s create a new Rule. Rules in Thunderbird are called Message Filters and found under the /Tools/ drop down.

Our goal will be to intercept any emails with “Support” in their Subject Line and come from our Client “Wildwater.net”.

1st step is creating a new Folder for the support emails to be moved to.
Click the current Inbox and select “New Folder”. Then Name the folder to something relevant for the task at hand. Migrating to Thunderbird 9

Next got to /Tools/Message Filter/ and create a new Message Filter. Migrating to Thunderbird 10

We name our Filter and add the Parameters that will be used to filter the message. Let’s select that the Subject line should contain “Support” and because I provide support for multiple clients, let’s make sure the email is from Wildwater.net.Migrating to Thunderbird 11

One difference from Mac Mail was that after creating the new Rule/Filter I was not prompted to run the Filter on the existing mails.

To run the new filter we need to select the Filter within the list of filters and at the bottom of the dialog window, select the folder with emails you want to target and click “Run Now”.Migrating to Thunderbird 12

Another option is under /Tools/Run Filter on Folder/ which allows the preselection of a folder and then running all the filters on that folder.  Migrating to Thunderbird 13


UPDATE: I did have to create a global CatchAll rule to put any emails from contacts NOT in my Contacts List into a Potential Spam folder. This filter puts all incoming emails into the Potential Spam folder where it will be easy to scan and then “select all” and delete.

Here are the parameters:
Migrating to Thunderbird 14

Migrating to Thunderbird 15



We also have a video showing the steps needed to create a new account in Thunderbird on a PC if you need additional help.
Other email information can be found on our SGDesign.net page.

Deprecated: trim(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($string) of type string is deprecated in C:\inetpub\wwwroot\SGDesign.com\words\wp-content\plugins\simple-lightbox\includes\class.utilities.php on line 545