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Thunderbird 3 New Features

The latest versions of the Thunderbird mail client (versions 3.0 and above) have several new features:

  • Tabbed message views
  • Easier message archiving
  • More customizations
  • Faster and more accurate message search capabilities

These new features can have a significant effect on your system performance. SCS users need to be aware of the implications of installing Thunderbird 3 on their systems:

  • By default, the mail client will download all of your mail that is stored in your account to your local hard drive. If you have a large mail store, this download process can take many hours and consume large amounts of disk space on your hard drive.
  • While your mail store is being downloaded, the mail client builds a local index of your messages (including attachments) to provide the search capabilities of the client. Depending on the size of your mail store, this process can seriously impact overall system performance of your computer; Your entire system may become sluggish or non-responsive.
  • Combinations of very large amounts of mail and folders, with many messages, can cause corruption of the search indexes, which can cause your mail client to crash. SCS Computing Facilities hasn't yet determined what will cause the indexes to become corrupt.

Before installing or upgrading to Thunderbird 3, users should check the size of their mail store (the SCS Computing Facilities Help Desk can provide this information for you) and check to make sure that sufficient disk space is available to store your mail on your local hard disk.

Users should also expect temporary system sluggishness during the initial process of downloading and indexing their mail.

SCS Computing Facilities can provide assistance and advice to users who wish to upgrade to Thunderbird 3 to make the process as easy as possible. If you are considering the upgrade, please contact the SCS Computing Facilities Help Desk for assistance.