Want a great e-mail program, but don’t want to pay a penny? Then
you won’t do any better than Thunderbird, e-mail software from
Mozilla, the same folks who bring you Firefox. It
combines ease of use with high-end features such as message
encryption, digitally signing messages, filters for automated
e-mail handling, and very good threaded messaging. This version
adds interface improvements, such as tabs, that make it faster to
navigate your inbox.
Thunderbird setup has always been easy, and in this version,
it’s easier still. Enter your e-mail address and password, and
Thunderbird will try to get all the necessary information about
server names and locations by checking a database of such
information maintained by Thunderbird. It was able to automatically
to set itself up for use with Gmail using IMAP, which is
impressive, considering that doing it manually can be confusing. As
with the previous version, if you already have e-mail software, it
will import those settings.
There’s a lot more to like in this new version of Thunderbird.
Most obvious are the tabs, so that you can have different e-mails
in separate tabs, and quickly jump back and forth among them. When
you search e-mail, that also opens in a new tab.
Also notable is that actions you take such as replying to mail
and forwarding mail are now right in Thunderbird’s message header
itself, rather than in the toolbar. This makes them easier to
find–and also gives the toolbar more space for other things, such
as message search and add-ons.
Thunderbird still isn’t an all-around personal information
manager like Outlook–there’s no calendar, for example, and you
can’t create to-do lists. It also doesn’t integrate with social
networking sites such as Facebook, which the new Outlook Social
Connector lets you do.
Still, if all you want is e-mail, Thunderbird is a winner. It
will even handle RSS feeds and newsgroups, so you can keep up on
the latest blogs, news, and discussion areas. Considering that it’s
free, Thunderbird is well worth the download if you’re not thrilled
with your current e-mail software. And even if you are happy with
what you’ve got, it’s worth a try.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you can download the latest version of the software. This review addresses v13.01.