I’ve been using Eudora as a desktop email client since around 2002. It was a computer mag recommendation that got me started with it. I didn’t like Microsoft Outlook Express and this seemed like a great free alternative. But now it looks a little dated, development on it stopped for quite a while but now an open source version has been released built on the Thunderbird codebase. I’m running the old Eudora version 7 .1 and I’ve been finding it won’t send out some emails recently – it’s giving SMTP server errors about the From addresses I use so I thought now would be a good time to change to a new desktop email client.
Why choose Thunderbird?
Judging from what I read on tech blogs and hear on tech podcasts, Mozilla Thunderbird seems to be a well recommended desktop email client with lots of add-ons but what really interests me is that it is multiplatform. I have an Acer Aspire One netbook currently running Ubuntu and I want to be able to use Thunderbird on that too with all my emails synced on Windows and Linux platforms. So I’ll give Thunderbird a go, but I may go back to the new open source Eudora if I don’t like it.
I do use Gmail too in addition to having several old POP3 email accounts. Everything including my Gmail comes down to my desktop client. Yes I know I could probably deal with it all in Gmail but I like having my emails on my desktop and backed up to an external drive in case anything goes wrong.
Moving from Eudora to Thunderbird
I’ve shied away from this move in the past as I thought it would be a nightmare importing 10 years worth of emails to a new client. So I tried to minimise any problems by taking it in stages. I decided it would be a good idea to make the move over a weekend when no business emails were coming in and I had a chance to test that everything was set up okay. Here’s what I did.
On Friday morning, I installed Thunderbird. During installation, I chose not to have it as my default email client. I also didn’t import anything when it asked. I just wanted to have a look around the interface and get familiar with it initially. When it had installed, I manually set up one of my email accounts and tried sending a test mail out from Thunderbird to another of my email accounts in Eudora. Everything went fine so on Friday evening, I imported all my emails and account profiles from Eudora. Surprisingly this only took around 10 minutes. Everything went fine and I was soon sending out test emails from all my email accounts to my other accounts. I just had to manually tweak some of the SMTP settings with correct usernames and passwords in Thunderbird.
I’m slowly getting to know my way around the Thunderbird interface – it’s a lot different from Eudora 7.1. I still have lots to learn, add-ons to install, etc so I’ll blog again about Thunderbird later when I have some tips and trick to pass on. But perhaps you have some Thunderbird tips to share? Drop a comment below on Thunderbird. I’d love to hear your experiences.