For the past year or so, my Thunderbird client has been acting weird – it keeps not being able to install an update of some kind. Combine that with a general curiosity to see what was out there in the free realm, and I ended up spotting this handy list from Wikipedia. I decided, after reading some random web comparisons, to try Mailbird, Inky, Claws Mail, and EM Client.
Now, don’t look to this article as some kind of awesome feature comparison, because it isn’t. I just wanted to see if I liked anything better than Thunderbird. My criteria? Simple:
Windows 7, Let’s me pick where it installs, let’s me pick where I store the data, let’s me import mail and contacts from Thunderbird, easy to use.
Admittedly, I was shallow here, but my criteria are above. It is the year 2013 and we should have flying cars and no homeless people by now… so at least make my email painless in the 21st century…show me we can get that right. Anything that deviated got axed…period. I didn’t think “oh, maybe I will Google that.” Nope. So here we go:
Inky: Blew a cog on install and couldn’t talk to its mother ship. Uninstalled.
Claws Mail: I tried to adjust where the datastore was being stored and the browse button launched some cool cryptic mh#spam\mount/toga-party stuff that probably is comfortable for Linux folks but I had no clue what that meant, so…uninstalled.
EM Client: thought it knew better than I did where to install. Wrong answer. Uninstalled.
Mailbird: They had this proud “Full IMAP Support” flag on their page… but they didn’t say “ONLY Supports IMAP” which is the sad truth. No POP3 support. Uninstalled.
Mailbird (Zombie Exclusive): OK, so I later found out that my hosting provider does support IMAP. Mailbird couldn’t detect the settings, so I had to set everything including port numbers (defaults typically are 143 for IMAP and 25 or 587 for SMTP, in case you are randomly here for that). It connected. Yay. It couldn’t import Thunderbird data. Uninstalled…again.
So there yah have it… I couldn’t even test the Thunderbird import. 21st century email clients might be OK, but I guess I had my hopes set a little too high with my exhaustive requirements. lol. But lots of people are ranting about the above apps, and admittedly they all looked like programs I might have enjoyed using. Go ahead and try them out.
Happy Emailing… I will stick with discontinued “sooo last 2012” Thunderbird for now.
It is possible to install eM Client to custom location, but it is not recommended. You’d have to run the downloaded setup.msi as following: setup.msi MAILCLIENTINSTALLLOCATION=C:\em
Moreover, it is possible to change the location of the data files after the application is installed.
Thanks for the info – I might try that at a later date!
Everyone wants to keep all their data on the cloud with web email these days. It’s sad really. The main thing that has bothered me with Thunderbird is that there are bugs in it that have been there since the beginning (almost 10 years!) and still not fixed. For example, new message notifications have never worked 100% correctly (on Linux at least). It does not check all the mail folders you have set to be checked for new messages either; another bug that has been there since the beginning. If using push notifications and the IMAP server is restarted Thunderbird will not automatically reconnect and usually I have to restart Thunderbird to get it to update new messages at all. If you delete messages using another IMAP client Thunderbird will not update and you end up with a bunch of blank nonexistent messages when you click on them in Thunderbird (the only way to get it to update is to restart Thunderbird). Then I have to run add-ons like FireTray (on Linux) to get minimize-to-tray functionality that should be built in! But I continue to use it because it’s the best which tells you something about the poor state of local email readers.
lol so true… I keep thinking it is 2013. How long has email existed… is it really that impossible to create something stable and elegant. I guess reality has proven the answer That is, until I upload myself to the next parallel universe…muhahahahahaha! >zap<
Yeah, I’ve experienced the same problem for quite a while now. There’s still no decent alternatives for buggy Tbird.
Any update on your quest to find a straightforward Thunderbird replacement? I’m on that same quest now. Being able to import my vast history of Thunderbird email messages is critical.
I wish I had more info. I ended up rebuilding my box again and my email lives in a backup file.
Thanks. I’ll continue to look and will post back here if I find anything that works well.