From Outlook to Thunderbird – A success story

Outlook is having issues with the activation in its newest version 2010. A perfect opportunity to switch from pirated software to opensource!

I downloaded Mozilla Thunderbird from here. It installs without any problems.

At the first startup Thunderbird asks for a e-mail account configuration. Easy enough, it tries to automagically configure your mail servers, ports and protocols like TLS/SSL, etc.

Thunderbird is as simple as it gets but doesn’t lack a single feature you would miss after years of Outlook. Mail filters and rules, address book, preview pane, all the e-mail account configuration, etc.

The first real challenge is the Inbox Thunderbird creates for every e-mail account. This just doesn’t make any sense. With this tutorial, however, it is easy to switch to a global inbox. After restarting Thunderbird, the folders that belong to the e-mail accounts are gone, forever.

Knowing that the import of address data and old e-mails from outlook has always been a hassle, I hesitated to use the Thunderbirds import feature. After some unsuccessful attempts to use a PST viewer, to directly access Outlook’s data file I did an import into Thunderbird (works only if Outlook is closed).

To my surprise it imported my address book without a single error, additional data like remarks, second e-mail addresses, etc. got imported smoothly. Great!

I imported my old e-mail, too. For 10000+ emails and attachments, it takes a while, but hey, this worked too! Thunderbird takes a minute or two to generate the folder preview for very big e-mail folders, but after that one-time data optimization, it displays and scrolls the e-mail faster than outlook ever did.

I noticed a minor problem with special chars, of course, Outlook doesn’t use UTF-8, and of course, Thunderbird does…. that’s why in the imported e-mails all special chars like ä, ü, ö, ñ, é, etc get rendered funnily. But hey, that’s a minor problem and shouldn’t keep you from movin’.

So far the user experience is awesome… I definitely recommend giving Thunderbird a try.