How To Set Thunderbird As Default Email Program

[ad]Dear Elizabeth,

I am extremely satisfied with your suggestion to download Thunderbird in lieu of Outlook Express, which is not available any longer.

At the time I set it up, I overrode the “set as default” in the program, enabling me to have a chance to work with it before I made that decision, not knowing if I could re-instate my old computers’ Outlook Express as the default email.

NOW, I’d like to set the Thunderbird as my default, and I’ve tried to find how to do that. I’ve enlisted my friend’s assistance, and she feels that I’m likely going to have to uninstall and reinstall it.

However, I have placed a lot of things in folders off to the side in this program, and I hate to lose those plus the addresses that are now there for others.

Do you have a solution to my current conflict?

Many thanks… Jane

Dear Jane,

I am so happy that my suggestion for Thunderbird is meeting your needs!

Yes, actually, I do have a solution for you, and it is found in Thunderbird settings. Just follow the steps below and you will be all set.

1. Open Thunderbird and click on the “Menu” icon. It is the three horizontal bars in the upper-right corner of the window.

2. In the Tools menu, point to “Options” then click on “Options” in the sub-menu.

3. In the “Options” dialog box, click on the, “Advanced” icon, then the “General” tab.

4. Find the section labeled, “System Integration” and click to place a check mark in front of, “Always check to see if Thunderbird is the default mail client on startup”. You can also click the “Check Now…” button to make the change immediately.

5. Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the dialog box to save your changes and close the dialog box.



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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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    • rugs37
    • September 14, 2015

    First, let me say that I have been following you for many, many years and always enjoy your advice..
    Secondly, I did want to comment on Thunderbird..I have had Outlook (not Outlook Express) since it took over Hotmail.(think it was Hotmail). Lately, it has been acting up and so I took your advice and downloaded Thunderbird. I uninstalled it because when I hovered my cursor over the person who sent the email, it did not show that person’s email address. I love this feature and was wondering if I there was some setting I had to change to make this happen or if Thunderbird just does not offer it? Thank you..

    1. If you click on any email message, the email address of the sender is displayed in the preview pane.


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