Giving Microsoft The Bird

Posted on September 3, 2007 by Chris Duke
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I used to be the biggest evangelist of Microsoft. All other software was inferior. I’m sure that had something to do with my history in Redmond. Slowly over the years I’ve seen the light. A few months ago, after much frustrations with IE7 I made FireFox my default browser. I’m so happy I did, too. And today I gave Microsoft “the bird” by switching to Mozilla Thunderbird.

I have been a huge Outlook user since the early days of Outlook Express. I’ve stuck with it because there really wasn’t anything better out there. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of advice from friends & family to check out Thunderbird. After upgrading to the latest version of Outlook and having major performance issues with it (plus the UI overhaul made me sick), I got fed up after a week or so. Today was the worst, so I installed Thunderbird, imported all my Outlook contacts and email, set up my five mail accounts, then added a ton of extensions to make Thunderbird rock like Outlook always wanted to.

The most immediate thing I’ve noticed is speed. It loads immediately, and responds immediately. And that is with all of my Outlook data in-tact! After I migrated my data I went to town with the extensions. I’ve listed them all below, as I found some really cool ones. My favorites are the Lightning/GCal add-on and the QuickFolders. My only loss was Exchange support for work. Not a huge deal, as it isn’t a requirement to use Exchange, and the POP/SMTP support works just fine.

I did also try out the Outlook theme, which makes Thunderbird look very much like the previous version of Outlook. In the end, I decided to stick with the Thunderbird theme out of respect for the bird.

My Thunderbird Extensions

I found a great list of Thunderbird themes and extensions at mashable.com. Check it out!