No more spam with Mozilla Thunderbird

Update: When I got Windows Vista, I switched again. Now I’m using Windows Mail (Dec. 2nd, 2007).

The last few weeks had seen my spam-count sky rocket. I think the extra exposure I gave my sites with some pretty heavy advertising campaigns must have pulled in as many spammers as honest visitors. I guess I’d been averaging about 60 spam emails a day and ‘delete’ had become the most overused key on my keyboard.

Today I decided enough was enough. I had so many spam filters set up in Outlook Express that I just couldn’t keep track of what I was blocking, and I nearly lost one of my artists (for ESL-Kids.com) when her email got caught up with all the spam. I thought she had stopped contacting me and vice-versa.

A search on Google for “Email program” brought up a number of links for Mozilla Thunderbird, a free open-source alternative to Microsoft’s dated software. After reading that Thunderbird uses Bayesian analysis to intelligently detect spam, as well built-in RSS capabilities and the ability to import address books and mail folders from Outlook Express, it was an easy to decision to download it.

Although I use Internet Explorer 7 to browse the net, I always keep Mozilla’s Firefox close at hand should IE cause me problems. Because Firefox is a great web browser, I figured I could trust Mozilla with their email application…. and I’m so pleased I did!

First download it from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/, install it and launch the program. You’ll be asked if you’d like to import your address book, mail and settings from Outlook Express (or other application). If you agree to this, Thunderbird will take a moment to import and set things up and that’s it! You can customize a bunch of stuff if you like, but otherwise you’ll be up and running in minutes – spam free!

Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit there. Your junk mail will still come but Thunderbird will automatically mark it as spam. However, from Junk Mail Controls in the Tools menu, you can request the spam be deleted or moved to a ‘junk’ folder… and deleted later.

So with all that spam taken care of, you can spend more time reading web feeds! In Thunderbird, simply add a RSS News & Blogs account (from Tools -> Account Settings)and start subscribing to your favorite sites (maybe the one you’re reading right now?).

I’ve only just started using Thunderbird, but I feel like I’ve gotten off my bike and onto the Shinkansen. No more spam, and all the web feeds I want, right in my inbox! I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do this earlier!

Whether Microsoft can improve on Outlook Express enough to surpass Thunderbird when Vista is released next year, I don’t know. They impressed me with IE7, so I’m hoping for great things. In the meantime, it’s Thunderbird all the way!

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!