How do I configure Mozilla Thunderbird for email?

Most new staff and faculty, and almost all new students do not have a Basic Email account. Staff, please see Exchange Online, students see UIC GoogleApps.

Setting up a new account with Thunderbird is easy; you give Thunderbird your name, email address, and password. Thunderbird then looks up the  connection details (such as ports, server names, security protocols, etc.) in its database. It knows about ACCC Basic email accounts and about, the email server that you use to connect to your ACCC Basic email account.

There is one detail that you have to add manually if you are using IMAP with your Basic Email, however, which is particularly important if you want to access your Basic email account using Webmail. If that is the case, do not click Create Account after Thunderbird sets up your account.

  1. Open Thunderbird if necessary.
  2. If this is the first time you've used Thunderbird, Thunderbird will automatically invite you to create a new account. Otherwise open the new account wizard manually. Select Tools > Account Settings then select Add Account... from the Account Action​ dropdown.
  3. In the Mail Account Setup window, 
    Mail Account Setup window
    • Type your full name in the Your Name: box,
    • Your complete email address in the Email Address: box,
    • And your Common password in the Password: box.
    • Click Remember password if you are the only person using this computer.
    • In the example, Ada Byron used: Ada Byron Lovelace and, and her Common password.
  4. Click Continue.
  5. Thunderbird will look up your Basic email account and ALMOST properly set it it up, using IMAP by default:
    1. Incoming: IMAP,, SSL
    2. Outgoing: SMTP,, STARTTLS
      Result from adding email account

  6. Click the radio button beside POP or IMAP, depending on which protocol you want to use. The ACCC recommends IMAP, because it is designed to allow you to leave email on the server and to allow you to do email from multiple machines, and it is fully compatible with Webmail. Ada uses IMAP.
    • If you are using POP, you can click Create Account now. (But please don't; please use IMAP and continue with step 7.)
  7. IMPORTANT! Do not click Create Account here if you are using IMAP and you want to access your Basic Email account with Webmail! Click Manual config on the left.
  8. Thunderbird will create your account with these settings and open Account Settings for the account. We need to make one change.
    1. Click the Server Settings on the left, and then the Advanced... button on the right.
      In the Server Settings tab, click Advanced.
    2. For the IMAP server directory: type: mail/ and click OK.
      Type mail/ for the IMAP server directory and click OK.
  9. ​Click OK again and Thunderbird will create your account and open it.

Additional settings

There are a few more Account Settings you should look into.

  1. Either:
    • In the All Folders tab: Click on the name of your Account, then click View settings for this Account. 
      Note: if you set your account up to use POP and you are using a Global Inbox, the name of your account will not be listed in the All Folders tab.
    • Or: Select Tools > Account Settings from the menu.
  2. The Account Settings window will open. 
  3. Select: Copies & Folders:
    For these three options, if you use IMAP, you might want to choose the corresponding folder on the account that you are setting up. So when Ada is setting up, she would choose:If you are using POP, you won't be able to use these folders on the server, but you can use the same local folders.
    • "Sent" Folder on:
    • "Drafts" Folder on:
    • "Templates" Folder on:
  4. Select: Composition and Addressing
    • For the sake of your addressees, you might want to Uncheck -- that is do not select Compose messages in HTML format.
    • You probably do want to check Automatically quote the original message when replying.
    • As for Addressing, see: How do I use the UIC email address book with Thunderbird? for instructions on setting up and using Thunderbird with the UIC online telephone and email white pages.
  5. Select: Junk Settings. We recommend disabling client-side junk filtering.

Using the UIC Address Book with Thunderbird

The ACCC runs an LDAP server that includes the names and email addresses of people with email addresses; this server can be used to automatically fill in names and email address in Thunderbird. See How do I use the UIC address book with Thunderbird? for more information. 

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Last updated: 

August 25, 2017

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