How to delete a bad password

October 24, 2006

So, your email password changed, but Thunderbird still has the old one saved and is pitching a fit because the password isn’t correct. You just need to change the password that is saved. Actually, technically, you’re going to delete the old password and save a new one. Here’s how:

  1. Open Thunderbird and go to
    • Mac: Thunderbird > Preferences
    • Windows: Tools > Options
  2. Click on the Privacy tab, then the Passwords sub-tab
  3. Click the button that’s labeled “View Saved Passwords”
  4. Find the account that has the bad password
  5. Click on it, then click the “Remove” button. This will delete that entry in the Password Manager
  6. Close Thunderbird and reopen it
  7. Type in the correct password and check the “Use Password Manager to remember this password.” checkbox

Remove Password


How to “unjunk” messages

October 17, 2006

You’re in a panic.  A whole batch of new messages just showed up, then disappeared from your Inbox.  You check the trash, they’re not there.  You check some of your saved messages folders, they’re not there.  You know one of them was important, but you don’t know where it is!  Calm down, everything’s going to be fine.  You’ve just experienced the magic of the Junk Mail Filter.  Until you’ve trained it to know what you think is or is not junk, it will continue to think lots of things are junk and do what you just described.  Here’s how to help the filter learn and retrieve your messages.

  1. Go to your Junk folder.  Inside this folder, you will find a list of messages.  Some are probably “keepers” and others are ones you’d like to throw away.
  2. Click on one of the “good” messages.  When you do this, it will show you the message, but at the top, there is a green section that says “Thunderbird thinks this message is junk” and a button labeled “This is Not Junk”.
  3. Hit that button.  Unfortunately, hitting this button doesn’t magically put this message into your Inbox, so…
  4. Drag the message back to your Inbox.
  5. Repeat this process for the messages in the Junk folder that you would like to keep.

Junk Mail Folder

This is a small hassle, but it’s worth it to not have to read through a thousand ads for “male enhancement” or other solicitations for who knows what.  Keep training that filter and it will, eventually, start getting it right more often than it gets it wrong.

How to install an extension

October 13, 2006

One of the coolest parts about Thunderbird (and it’s brother Firefox) is the ability to install extensions, which allow them to add some new feature or function.  Here’s the blurb from the Mozilla website:

Extensions are small add-ons that add new functionality to Mozilla applications such as Firefox and Thunderbird. They can add anything from a toolbar button to a completely new feature. They allow the application to be customized to fit the personal needs of each user if they need additional features, while keeping the applications small to download.

Extensions Page

As an example, we are going to install Lightning, which is the calendar extension for Thunderbird. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Open a web browser.
  • Go to This is the official page from Mozilla (the organization responsible for Thunderbird) for Thunderbird extensions.
  • Click on the Extensions tab.
  • Type Lightning into the search field at the top of the page and hit Enter.
  • When the search results come back, Lightning should be the first option. Click on the name of the extension and it will take you to the info & download page.
  • This set of instructions varies a little, depending on what operating system you use:
    • Mac: Hold down Control and then click on the “Install Now for Mac” link in the green box. Save the file on your desktop.
    • Windows: Right-click on the “Install now for Windows” link in the green box and save the file on your desktop.
  • Now open Thunderbird and go to Tools > Extensions.
  • Click the “Install” button.
  • Find the file you downloaded earlier onto your desktop and click “Open”.Installing an extension
  • This will bring up a little dialog window and will begin a count-down sequence on one of the buttons at the bottom. When the count-down finishes, the button will say “Install”. Click that button and the extension will install and take you back to the Extensions Manager.
  • You will need to restart Thunderbird in order for the extension to work, so close Thunderbird, and open it again.

And there you go. You should have a calendar at the bottom left of the Thunderbird window. As for using it, that’s another article, but the process above will work with any extension you want to install in Thunderbird. Personally, I recommend Lightning and Morecols. Morecols gives Thunderbird the ability to import & export contacts using the vCard format. You can find that extension here.

How to sort messages

October 11, 2006

So your friend Judy says she sent that important report to you already, but doesn’t remember exactly when and you’ve got to print it right away for the boss? You know it was an attachment on an email from Judy, but since your Inbox shows the newest emails first. This is a simple problem to solve. The solution: message sorting. The best part is, it doesn’t involve reprogramming Thunderbird and diving into the preferences or account settings.

message headers

When you’re looking at your Inbox, check out the line of boxes that are right above that most current email. The column headers tell you what you can expect to find in that column; things like Sender, Date, Subject, etc. The other thing those column headers do is allow you to sort messages by that header. You might notice that the Date column is blue instead of that silver/gray-ish color that the rest of the Thunderbird window. That tells you that the messages in that box are being sorted by Date.

To sort by a different header (like Sender in our story), click on that header. The first time you click, the messages will rearrange themselves in order A to Z by that header. Try clicking around on the different headers and notice the differences. From our story, we’d click on the Sender header, find all the messages with Judy all clumped together, then find our message with the report attachment.

How to spell check messages

October 5, 2006

Thunderbird has a great little spell checker built-in and it’s actually turned on by default. Let’s say for whatever reason, your’s isn’t on and you want to stop embarrassing yourself with your poor spelling. There ‘s a simple fix:

Spelling Options

  1. On a Mac, go to Thunderbird > Preferences; on a PC go to Tools > Options.
  2. Go to the Composition tab, then the Spelling sub-tab. You have two options for spell checking: “Check spelling before sending” & “Enable spell as you type”. The first one checks the spelling in the email after you hit “Send”, and alerts you to any typos. The second one actually underlines typos with a red squiggily line.
  3. Just check both of those options (for spelling safety) and you’re good to go!

How to change how messages are forwarded

October 5, 2006

When messages are forwarded from Thunderbird, by default, they are sent as an attachment to the new message. If, like me, you prefer that the forwarded message be sent inline (as in readable at the bottom of your new message), then you’ll need to change the default setting. Here’s how:forwardingprefs

On a Mac, go to Thunderbird > Preferences; on a PC, go to Tools > Options.

Go to the Composition tab, the General sub-tab.
The first option at the top deals with how messages are forwarded. Switch that setting from “As Attachment” to “Inline”

How to Save Mail in a Folder

October 5, 2006

So you have mail that you want to save, but you don’t want it hanging around in your Inbox? Thunderbird allows you to create a folder that will store emails. Here’s how to do it:

New Folder Dialog

Go to File > New > Folder

Give the folder a name and choose where you want to put the folder. To pick a location that already has folders in it (like your account name), keep going through the menus until you find “choose this for the parent”; that will choose that folder as the place to make your new folder.
Click Ok.

Start moving messages to your new folder.