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Keep it working - Thunderbird

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Revision as of 22:04, 21 September 2011
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(Initial setup - nit - addons compatibility is much more complicated than just API, and neophyte users dont need the detail)
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Revision as of 17:16, 30 September 2011
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(Disk)
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==Disk== ==Disk==
-* Make sure you have adequate unused disk space for Thunderbird and other applications to expand into. And, on a Windows system, the disk should be periodically be defragmented. +* Make sure you have adequate unused disk space into which Thunderbird and other applications can expand (typically 15-20% minimum free space). And, on a Windows system, the disk should be periodically be defragmented (accessed in Windows as "Disk Defragmenter", found in "All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools" in the Start Menu).
==Add-ons and upgrading== ==Add-ons and upgrading==

Revision as of 17:16, 30 September 2011

This article suggests ways to to keep Thunderbird working well and avoid serious problems. It is mainly intended for new users, so ideas are presented simply, with few alternatives and choices. The assumption is when you get more experience you may do things differently as you understand the tradeoffs.

Contents

Initial setup

  • Check that your antivirus software isn't configured to delete your Inbox if you get a virus. If it doesn't support quarantining infected messages, see this article for a workaround.
  • Don't check for viruses in messages you send. This avoids interoperability problems. And if the recipient isn't already using a anti-virus program, then they have bigger problems to worry about than your message.
  • Don't keep a copy of your messages on the POP server without providing some way to automatically get rid of them later. If you use "Tools -> Account Settings -> Server Settings -> Leave message on server" to keep a copy of the original message on the POP server after Thunderbird checks for new mail (so that you can still access it via webmail), then you should set the number of days it should keep the copy.
  • If you need an addon that is not compatible with your version of Thunderbird, then Install the add-on compatibility reporter add-on to disable version checking. All add-ons have a maximum version field that specifies the last supported version of Thunderbird. Some add-on authors don't update their add-ons often enough to keep the version information current. If Tools -> Add-ons warns you that Thunderbird is not compatible with a specific add-on, you may ignore it. However, doing so may cause unforeseen problems. So if the addon doesn't work or causes problems, disable or uninstall the add-on using Tools -> Add-ons. If you can't do that, use "Help -> Restart with add-ons disabled" to start Thunderbird in safe mode and then uninstall the add-on.
  • Install the MailTweak extension and enable the preferences cache. It is not a substitute for regularly backing up your profile, but computer crashes or power loses while Thunderbird is running can trash the Prefs.js file which stores your account information and critical settings. This tweak will automatically restore them if that happens. Install add-on compatibility reporter add-on to make it work in version 5 and newer versions.

Routine usage

  • Keep the Inbox empty. Move any new messages that you want to keep to either a child folder or another folder after you've read them. This will help avoid corrupting your Inbox folder.
  • Regularly compact your Inbox folder and any folders you delete messages in or move messages from. Once a week is a useful rule of thumb though how often depends upon how many messages you get and how critical they are to you. Ideally you would configure Thunderbird to automatically compact folders for you by setting it to compact when it will save 75KB (or another low value) and not prompt you for permission to compact the folders. For further information on these settings, see the Compacting folders article.
  • Regularly back up your profile. As a minimum back up your profile once you get Thunderbird working, and every time you upgrade. If you're using a version of Thunderbird that automatically upgrades (v1.5 or later), back up your profile after it upgrades. Use Mozbackup to do this if you're using Windows.

Disk

  • Make sure you have adequate unused disk space into which Thunderbird and other applications can expand (typically 15-20% minimum free space). And, on a Windows system, the disk should be periodically be defragmented (accessed in Windows as "Disk Defragmenter", found in "All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools" in the Start Menu).

Add-ons and upgrading

  • Only install extensions from Mozilla add-ons , the Add-ons Mirror and Kaosmos. Not every extension is well behaved. These are the three most popular web sites for Thunderbird extensions, thus there is a better chance an extension has been tested and/or used by a lot of other users.