Thunderbird is a freely downloadable email and usenet client based on the Mozilla code base. It is an open source alternative to Windows Live Mail or the now superseded Windows Mail included in Windows Vista. This article discusses how to setup this email client and more importantly why you should make the switch.

How to download the lightweight yet powerful client?

To download the light weight install file you can head over to and click on Free Download. A file download security warning will pop up from where you may choose Run or Save and begin the download and install. Once the file has downloaded a User Account Control dialog may appear to confirm if you want to run the setup;click continue and the file will begin extracting. Once the installation starts you have the option of customizing the install by choosing location and icon creation preferences. Once the install is complete which should be a breeze, you can import options, addresses and account settings from already installed clients. Post install the Account Wizard starts up to help you configure the software for your use.

Why should you download in the first place?

Thunderbird offers you a plethora of features that makes the email experience pleasant. It has a tabbed interface and supports a global search with advanced filtering. The search filter is quick, simple and one of the best. It features smart folders which allow you to combine mail boxes from different accounts. There is a very useful message summary view allowing you to preview space taken up by emails and number of emails selected. Message archiving just like the All Mail folder in Gmail is supported along with Synchronization. Diagnostics of all interactions are also captured by the Activity Manager.

Add-ons, Message Threads and integration with Windows Search

The Mozilla platform being open source, it is an ecosystem that spurs innovation as many people contribute to the code base creating useful add-ons that extend the usability of an already wonderful application even further. All this is adroitly handled from within a Add-ons Manager. Message threads allow you to see emails as a conversation which aids visibility. On first start Thunderbird prompts you to install the indexing system in Windows which allows you to see emails in Windows search results.

All in all Thunderbird offers an exciting set of features that may be further extended to take the concept of emailing to a whole new level.