IT Connect
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Thunderbird 13 (and above) for Windows

Summary: This document provides specific instructions on how to configure the email client application Thunderbird for use with UW email and directory services. The sample images below were created from Thunderbird version 13.01.

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Configure Thunderbird for Use With UW Deskmail Email

Note: Be sure your computer has an active Ethernet connection.

Create Your UW Account in Thunderbird

  1. StepsActions
  2. Start Thunderbird. If you have NO previously defined account, Thunderbird should automatically bring up the “account setup” wizard.Adding an account to a copy of Thunderbird:
    • Click on Local Folders, then under Accounts, click Create a new account
  3. Use this “wizard” to start setting up your account.
    Note: There will be more steps for you to take later, because the wizard does NOT give you access to all the options.

    • For Your Name, enter your full name.
    • For Email Address, enter (
    • For Password, enter the password for your UW NetId (and, optionally, choose to “remember” it). Continue to the next page, pictured below:img002
    • The Thunderbird configuration wizard WILL “fail” because you still have to configure additional parameters for the program to work with the UW mail servers.
  4. Enter information in the fields as outlined below:
    • For Incoming Server, enter:
      • Incoming: IMAP (not POP)
      • Server hostname: where your_uwnetid is replaced by YOUR real UW NetID
      • Port: 993
      • SSL: SSL/TLS
      • Authentication: Normal Password
    • For Outgoing (SMTP) Server, enter:
      • Server hostname:
      • Port: 587
      • Authentication: Normal Password
  5. When you are finished entering the information, your screen should display a similar window:img003
  6. Click “Create Account” or “Done” to create your UW Deskmail account in Thunderbird. Please Note: Newer versions of Thunderbird will just have a a button to click that says “Re-test” or “Done” clicking either will finish setting up the account. Continue with the steps below for the UW Deskmail account in Thunderbird to work properly.
  7. Unless the Account Settings dialog box is already displayed, click on the tool bar Tools -> Account Settings, to bring up a window similar to the one pictured below. (Note: If you do not see a toolbar, do a right mouse click and select “Mail Toolbar”.) On the newest versions of Thunderbird you can right click on your account name in the upper left corner then select “Settings”.
  8. This page asks for a local Account Name (a label used by Thunderbird). Edit the Account Name as you prefer, using any name you like (e.g., the default “” or “My UW Deskmail”). .
  9. Select Server Settings under your account to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below:img011
  10. Click Advanced… to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below:img012
  11. For the IMAP server directory, enter “mail”.
  12. Turn OFF (deselect) the option to show only subscribed folders.
  13. Make sure ALL three “namespaces” are blank and turn OFF (deselect) the option to Allow server to override these namespaces.
  14. Click OK to close this window (you return to the Server Settings).
  15. Click OK to close the account settings window.

Thunderbird is now MINIMALLY configured and should be able to read your UW email, find folders you may have created in Alpine, and send mail. Please Note: In the latest version of Thunderbird you cannot set the “Maximum number of server connections to cache” to “0” 1 is the lowest number. This function will not impact the performance of Thunderbird.

Optional Configuration Information

Configure Thunderbird to use the same sent-mail folder used by Alpine

By setting the Account Prefix Path to mail, Thunderbird and Alpine (Web Alpine, etc.) are looking at the same starting place for folders. Configure Thunderbird so that it uses the same folder Alpine does for copies of sent mail.

Note: You must complete basic Thunderbird configuration above and see a list of your UW Deskmail email folders in Thunderbird prior to performing the steps below.

  1. StepsActions
  2. If it isn’t already running, run Thunderbird. Be sure you have an active Internet connection.
  3. Click your UW email account in the left column of the Thunderbird Mail window, then click View settings for this account (under Accounts).
  4. Click Copies and Folders under your account to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below:img013
  5. Under When sending messages, automatically: select Place a copy in, then select Other, and (from the pop-up list next to that) select your sent-mail folder on your UW email account.
  6. Click OK.

Configure Thunderbird to Use the UW Directory (LDAP)

You can access the combined student/faculty/staff directories by using LDAP with Thunderbird. Learn about LDAP, the UW Electronic Directory Service.

  1. StepsActions
  2. If it isn’t already running, run Thunderbird (be sure you have an active Internet connection first).
  3. On the toolbar, click Tools, then Account Settings
  4. Click Composition and Addressing under your account to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below:img021
  5. Turn OFF (deselect) the option to Compose messages in HTML. The plain text is the most reliable way to deliver your information.
  6. Under When looking up addresses, select Use a different LDAP server, then click Edit Directories to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below:img014
  7. Click Add to bring up a page similar to the one pictured below:img015
    • For Name, enter any label you prefer (e.g., “UW LDAP”).
    • For Hostname, enter
    • For BaseDN, enter o=University of Washington, c=US
  8. Click OK (to close the “add directory” window).
  9. Click OK (to close the “edit directories” window).
  10. Now select the UW directory from the pop-up list next to “Use a different LDAP server”.
  11. Click OK (to close the “Accounts settings” window).

The UW LDAP directory now is defined in Thunderbird, and is selected. When composing a message, the UW LDAP service will try to match the the name or the UW NetID of the person you enter with the list of available entries and will display an array of possible matches for you to select from.