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Configuring Thunderbird IMAP for the Andrew Exchange service

Enabling IMAP access

Before using Thunderbird (or any other IMAP client) with the Andrew Exchange server, you must first enable IMAP access for your account. This is not enabled by default.

To do this, please follow these steps:

  1. Go to https://emailtools.cmu.edu
  2. Login with your Andrew username and password
  3. In the left menu, click on IMAP Settings
  4. On the bottom of the next page, select Enable IMAP
  5. Click Submit

This changes will take about 15 minutes before taking effect.

Providing Your Account Information

When starting up without any settings, Thunderbird will first ask you for three pieces of information:

  • Your Name (this is how your name will appear on outgoing messages)
  • Email address (this is the address you give to others so they can send you mail)
  • Password (this is your Andrew password)

If you like, you may have Thunderbird remember your password for you by checking Remember Password. This is convenient, but less secure; if you are using a machine that you share with other people, you should uncheck this box.

Once you have filled in the requested information, click "continue."

Client Configuration

Thunderbird will attempt to automatically configure itself for use with the Andrew mail environment. At this time, this does not detect the correct mail server settings.

Click on "Manual Config" and configure Thunderbird as follows.

Server Settings

Thunderbird will now show server settings for Incoming and Outgoing servers. These settings should configured as follows:

Thunderbird Settings for the SCS mail environment
TypeServer hostnamePortSSLAuthentication
IncomingIMAPimap.exchange.andrew.cmu.edu993SSL/TLSNormal Password
OutgoingSMTPsmtp.exchange.andrew.cmu.edu587STARTTLSNormal Password

Like this:

Thunderbird should automatically fill in the Username field with your username. If it does not, make user that the username is your Andrew ID

Once all of the settings in dialog box match the settings listed above, click the "Create Account" button.

Adding Additional "PSMBX" Mailboxes

If you have a large volume of mail, Andrew Computing Services may have provided you with one or more additional "PSMBX" mailboxes in which to store older mail. These allow you to store more in total than the 25 GB quota for an Andrew Exchange mailbox. These can be connected to via IMAP, but require different steps than would be taken in Outlook:

  1. Click the menu button in the upper right of Thunderbird, and choose Options - Account Settings.
  2. Click the Account Actions button in the lower left, and choose Add Mail Account...
  3. Enter the following information:
    • Your Name (or anything else to identify this mailbox as)
    • psmbx-example-1@andrew.cmu.edu (where example is your AndrewID username. Substitute another number for "1" if you are adding your second, third, etc. PSMBX mailbox.)
    • Password (this is your regular Andrew password)
  4. Click "Continue." Thunderbird will attempt to automatically configure itself, though not correctly.
  5. Click on "Manual Config" and configure Thunderbird as follows:

    TypeServer hostnamePortSSLAuthentication
    IncomingIMAPimap.exchange.andrew.cmu.edu993SSL/TLSNormal Password
    OutgoingSMTPsmtp.exchange.andrew.cmu.edu587STARTTLSNormal Password
    Username:Incoming: andrew\example\psmbx-example-1Outgoing: example
    (where "example" is your AndrewID username)

  6. Click "Done" (do not click re-test)

This will connect to your PSMBX Inbox, but there is likely no mail in this Inbox, as PSMBX's typically have archive mail in multiple folders. You will need to subscribe to each of these folders in Thunderbird to make them visible. To subscribe to these folders:

  1. Right-click on the psmbx-example-1 account in the left sidebar, and choose "Subscribe..."
  2. In the Subscribe window, select each folder you want to subscribe to, and click the Subscribe button. The box to the right of that folder should check itself.
    • IMPORTANT: Subscribing to a folder in Thunderbird does not automatically subscribe to "child" folders inside that folder. You will have to expand the parent folder and subscribe to each one individually.
  3. Click OK. The subscribed-to folders should begin showing up shortly
    Note: We have sometimes noticed some bugginess in the way Thunderbird handles enabling subscriptions to multiple folders with large amounts of mail. If not all of the folders you tried to subscribe to show up after a few minutes, go through the subscription process again to add any that were missed.

Setting Thunderbird as the Default Client

Thunderbird may ask you if you would like to set Thunderbird to be your computer's default client for mail, news, and RSS feeds.

This will configure your system to open mail links automatically in Thunderbird. Unless you would rather keep another mailer as your default, it is okay to accept the defaults.

Once you have made your selection, click the "OK" button.

Next Steps

Thunderbird is now configured. You can now start using Thunderbird to read and send mail.

For more information on how to use Thunderbird, the Mozilla Foundation provides extensive documentation and community-powered support to answer questions.

We're also happy to help; if you have any questions about how to use Thunderbird, please contact us at the SCS Helpdesk:

  • By phone: x8-4231
  • By email: help@cs.cmu.edu
  • In person: GHC 4201