Summary: This document provides specific instructions on how to configure the "Thunderbird" application for use with UW email, directory, and news services.

Topics on this page

Obtaining and Installing Thunderbird

Thunderbird is available in the UW Internet Connectivity Kit (UWICK) available on CD-ROM at the University Bookstore or Thunderbird can be downloaded from the Mozilla.com site.


Technical Details of Thunderbird Configuration

Quick Reference For Experienced Users

These examples were done with Thunderbird version 1.5.

If you are experienced configuring Web and email client software, just use the values in the Values Summary box below.

Use These Values to Configure Thunderbird
When Mail asks you for the: It is looking for the: You Enter:
Email Address Your "@u." email address your_uwnetid@u.washington.edu*
Incoming Server UW IMAP Server your_uwnetid.deskmail.washington.edu *
User name your mail account your_uwnetid
Account Path Prefix IMAP directory path mail
SMTP Host UW SMTP server smtp.washington.edu**
Address server, Host name UW LDAP server directory.washington.edu
Address server, BaseDN LDAP search root o=University of Washington, c=US

* Where "your_uwnetid" is replaced by your actual UW NetID.

**If using an Internet Service Provider (ISP) OTHER than the UW then use the SMTP server provided by your ISP.

Creating Your UW Account in Thunderbird

Run Thunderbird. If you have NO accounts currently defined, Thunderbird may automatically bring up the "add account" wizard, but, if not, click on "Tools -> Account Settings..."  Once you have opened Account Settings, click on the "Add Account..." button in the lower left corner of the window. This will launch the Account Wizard shown below.
          Thunderbird Setup Wizard 1
  1. Click on the button next to "Email account", then the right arrow (at the bottom) to continue to the next page, pictured below.

    Thunderbird Setup Wizard 2

  2. For Full Name, enter your full name.
  3. For Email Address, enter your "@u.washington.edu" email address. (that is, YOUR UW NetID plus "@u.washington.edu" )
  4. Click the right arrow (at the bottom) to continue to the next page, pictured below.

    Thunderbird Setup Wizard

  5. Select "IMAP"
  6. For Incoming Server, enter your IMAP server as your_uwnetid.deskmail.washington.edu where your_uwnetid is replaced by YOUR real UW NetID.
  7. Click the right arrow (at the bottom) to continue to the next page, pictured below.

    Thunderbird Setup Wizard

  8. For User name, enter your UW NetID.
  9. Click the right arrow (at the bottom) to continue to the next page.
  10. This page asks only for a local "Account Name" (what Thunderbird will use to label the account WITHIN Thunderbird), you can use anything you like (e.g., "My UW email").
  11. Click the right arrow (at the bottom) to continue to the last page.
  12. Click Finish.

    HOWEVER,  you are NOT finished with the account (yet).

  13. From "Tools", select "Account Settings...".
  14. Click on your UW email account in the left column of the window.
    Account Settings
  15. The new account wizard will have set most of this up correctly for you, if this is the only email account then it is already the "default" (if not, you may want to make it the default by clicking "Set As Default"). You probably also want to turn OFF the option to "Compose messages in HTML format" (you shouldn't send messages in HTML until and unless you have agreed with the recipient that this format is preferred).
  16. Click "Server Settings" under your account to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below.

    IMAP Server Settings

  17. Turn ON the option to "Use secure connection (SSL)" in Server Settings section on the right.
  18. To have Thunderbird use the same Delete/Expunge behavior as Pine, select "Mark It as deleted" from the pop-up list next to "When I delete a message" AND turn on the option to "Clean up ("Expunge") Inbox on Exit".
  19. Click "Advanced..." to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below.

    Advanced IMAP Server Settings

  20. For the "IMAP server directory", enter "mail".
  21. Turn OFF the option to show only subscribed folders (at least for now, after you've "subscribed" to some you may want it back on).
  22. Leave the boxes next to ALL the "namespaces" empty (blank), or "clean" if they have anything in them, and turn OFF the option to "Allow server to override these namespaces".
  23. Click OK to close this window (you return to the Server Settings).
  24. Click "Outgoing Server (SMTP)" under your account and than press "Edit" button to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below.

    SMTP Settings

  25. For "Server name", enter "smtp.washington.edu".
  26. For "Port", enter 587.
  27. Turn ON the option to "Use name and password"
  28. For "User name", enter your UW NetID.
  29. Turn on the option to use "TLS, if available".
  30. Click OK to close the account settings window

Whew! OK, Thunderbird is now MINIMALLY configured and should be able to read your UW email, find folders you've created in Pine and send mail.

Reading your UW Email

Click on "Inbox" under your UW email account in the left column of the Thunderbird Mail window.

At this point enough of the configuration should be done to let Thunderbird find your Inbox and folders (if any) on the UW email server. When you've closed the account configuration panel you should see a new "UW" account in the column to the left of the messages window. Click on the INBOX under that to open your UW email inbox (you should be prompted for a password). Your UW email folders will appear. This may take some time, especially if you have a large inbox, lots of folders and/or a slow connection. The list of messages in your Inbox appears in the right pane, it may look something like the picture below.

            Thunderbird Start

Additional Optional Configuration Information

Configuring Thunderbird and Pine to Share Folders

By setting the "Account Prefix Path" to "mail" you've already got Thunderbird and Pine (WebPine, etc.) looking at the same starting place for folders. You should probably also configure Thunderbird so that it uses the same folder pine does for copies of sent mail.

Note: Perform this configuration ONLY AFTER getting the basic Thunderbird configuration above done and having seen a list of your UW email folders from within Thunderbird.

  1. If it isn't already running, run Thunderbird (be sure you have an active Internet connection first...).
  2. From "Tools", select "Account Settings...".
  3. Click on "Copies & Folders" under your account to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below.
            Sent Mail Configuration

     4. In the section on "When sending messages, automatically:" be sure the option to "Place a copy in" is turned on, then click "Other" and (from the pop-up list next to that) select your "sent-mail"                  folder on your UW email account.
     5. Click OK.

Note that Thunderbird and Pine(s) cannot usefully keep a shared "Drafts" folder, so you can put the Thunderbird Drafts wherever you like. The default ("Drafts" on your UW email account) is fine, and makes the Drafts folder available to different Thunderbird sessions.

Configuring Thunderbird to Use the UW Directory (LDAP)

  1. If it isn't already running, run Thunderbird (be sure you have an active Internet connection first...).
  2. From "Tools", select "Account Settings...".
  3. Click on  a "+" sign to expand your UW email account in the left column of the window if present. Otherwise proceed to the next step.
  4. Click on "Composition & Addressing" under your account to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below.

    Compostion & Addressing

  5. Click the option, in "Addressing" section under "When looking up addresses", to "Use a different LDAP server", then click on "Edit Directories" to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below.

    LDAP Directories

  6. Click "Add", to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below.

    UW LDAP Settings

  7. For "Name", you can enter any label you prefer (e.g., "UW directory").
  8. For "Hostname", enter directory.washington.edu
  9. For "BaseDN", enter o=University of Washington, c=US
  10. Click OK (to close the "add directory" window).
  11. Click OK (to close the "edit directories" window).
  12. You can now select the UW directory from the pop-up list next to "Use a different LDAP server".
  13. Click OK (to close the "Accounts settings" window).

Now that the UW LDAP directory is defined in Thunderbird there are several ways to use it. Here's one way:

  1. From "Tools", select Address Book
  2. In the Address Book window click on "Edit-->Search Addresses...", to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below.

    LDAP Search

  3. In the top/left corner be sure you have the UW Directory selected in the pop-up list under "Search in".
  4. Customize the search as desired (if needed) and enter the text to be searched for in the text box, click on "Search" to conduct the search. Results are returned in a list in the bottom pane. You can then select the desired entry and click "Compose" to compose a message to that address.

Converting Your Pine Address Book

There is currently no single easy and reliable method to convert Pine address books to Thunderbird.

Changing Your Password

If you have saved your email account password as part of the configuration of Thunderbird, then you will need to change that stored password to match your mail account password whenever you change the password associated with your UW NetID. If you don't change this stored password, you will get a "password error" when you attempt to connect to the mail server (because it is using the old stored password). Since regularly changing your UW NetID password is a recommended procedure, we do not advise you to store your password within your email program.

To change the password that you have Mozilla Thunderbird "remembered" please follow the procedure outlined below.

  1. Start Thunderbird
  2. In Thunderbird on the tool bar click on "Tools", select "Options".

    TB password change1

  3. The options menu will look similar to the image below. Click on "Privacy" icon.

    TB password change 2

  4. Select the "Passwords" tab

    TB password change 3

  5. Press "View Saved Passwords" button

    TB password change 4

  6. 6. Select the password for the UW email account and press "Remove" button.

    TB password change 5

During the next attempt to connect to the UW mail account using Thunderbird, you will be prompted for the password. Supply your new UW password and cerify that the UW email is accessible now.

If you need any further assistance, please contact UW Technology Service Center at help@u.washington.edu