How To Delete Messages in Thunderbird Mail

Dear Computer Lady,

I read you column each week, like some folk do the Bible. I’m new to computers and do not fully understand the e-mail system in Thunderbird.
But I’m worried when I receive e-mail from someone I don’t know and to be honest I’m scared to open them because they might contain viruses. 

Is there some way to highlight the “strange” e-mail without it popping open and possibly contaminating my system. This way I can contain it, right click on my mouse and hit delete. Thanks for the educational newsletter you publish to us folk out here. 


Dear Leon,

There are a couple of things you can do. 

First, make sure you have a good antivirus program installed and make sure you keep it updated! I use a great antivirus program, Emsisoft from and it has prevented my system from becoming infected with any viruses. In fact, most of the time, it removes the virus from the e-mail message before it allows me to read the e-mail.

Another thing you can do, is turn off the message pane in Thunderbird Mail. You can do this by clicking on the menu icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.

(The menu icon is made up of three horizontal lines stacked on top of each other)

In the menu, point to “Options”, then point to “Layout” in the sub-menu and finally, click on “Message Pane” to turn it off.

Now, you will have to double click on your messages to open them.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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