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Thunderbird - Anti-Spam You Can't Say No To
I've finally moved my email from Outlook XP to Mozilla Thunderbird.
I'd tried doing this before - but had to abort the process due to problems I encountered. This time around the product seems a little more mature, and I can hopefully stick with it.
Reasons I moved:
Outlook XP's message search is the worst I've ever seen.
It generally has a "clunky" feel to the interface.
Outlook munges the exact message content in the process of receiving. This doesn't matter for most users, but it makes doing research difficult.
Outlook 2003 solves some of these problems, but I'm not going to fork out the money for it.
Problems I hit with Thunderbird:
Importing messages from Outlook doesn't work very well. It tries to import your entire 2GB message store at once, and doesn't ask you any questions in the process. The result is a 4 hour wait, followed by Thunderbird being generally unstable because something inevitably didn't go right in the process.
A work around is to move just the email you in fact want into Outlook Express first. Then, have Thunderbird migrate your email from Outlook Express.
Thunderbird's export functionality is non-existent. Once you're in, you're in. This caused me to jump ship fairly early on prior attempts.
Outlook lets you separate addresses you're sending to using a semi-colon. Thunderbird also let's you do this - but when you send your email it doesn't go anyplace. It doesn't provide any error messages either. Nice. The correct answer is to use a coma instead.
Some of these items qualify as being bugs in Thunderbird. I have researched their bug database - and generally the developers commonly take the, "that's how it's supposed to work" approach to things. Thunderbird has definitely made progress, but the team doesn't seem to have the, "customer first" ethic that has made FireFox so successful.
One significantly annoying "feature" is that you can't turn off Thunderbird's anti-spam functionality entirely. To be more accurate, if you can disable it, I haven't figured out how yet. I haven't been able to find the, "call off the dogs of spam prevention, yes all of them" button.
You can turn off the "adaptive filtering" - but there seems to be some additional level of spam killer functionality going on. It still labeled one incoming message as being junk. Fortunately, the message in the question was spam. Also - it only labeled it as opposed to moving it to another folder or deleting it. That portion of the configuration is fairly clear.
It turns out SpamButcher's spam reports do work flawlessly with Thunderbird. This includes restoring messages directly from the reports.