Office of Information Technology

Using Thunderbird for a better email experience

Eudora support ceased in October 2006 and the POP mail protocol is also no longer available to connect modern email servers with client software. We encourage people use the newest Mozilla Thunderbird client configured with the IMAP mail protocol and OAuth2 authentication, which supports UIUC NetID 2-factor authentication (2FA).


Download the Thunderbird email client application from and install it. On Windows, run the Installer you've downloaded. On Mac OS X, open the disk image you've downloaded and copy Thunderbird to your Applications folder.

Launch Thunderbird. The first time it launches, you'll be presented with a wizard which will help you configure your account. Enter the following values for "Set Up Your Existing Email Address"

Your name: Enter your name, the way you like to present it to other people: [Nickname Last_Name]
Email address: Enter your email address, using your NetID to start: [NetID]
Password: Enter your campus NetID password; the one that you're required to change each year
Click the [Continue] button See green checkmark with the message: "Configuration found for a Microsoft Exchange server"
Click the [Configure manually...] button, leaving IMAP Protocol option selected Incoming and Outgoing columns will appear
Select Authentication: OAuth2, in both columns, then click the [Done] button You will be redirected to the Illinois NetID sign in page
use your NetID or email address as your username and your Active Directory password, then click the [Sign in] button NetID Center 2-factor authentication (2FA) screen will be shown
Choose your NetID Center 2-factor authentication (2FA) option to complete sign in See "default client" integration screen
Click [Set as Default] button See Inbox email being populated in sidebar on the left
To see all folders: right-click email address above your Inbox and choose Settings; select Server Settings on the left and click the [Advanced...] button on the right; uncheck "Show only subscribed folders" so you can see all folders and click [OK] If all folders don't show up in the side bar, you may need to close and reopen the Thunderbird app
Optionally, to compose messages in plain text instead of HTML: from Settings (accessed above); select Composition & Addressing on the left; uncheck "Compose messages in HTML format" so you can compose all messages as plain text, instead Send a test email message, preferably to your alternate/personal email (like a Gmail) address or to an available associate's email; then immediately reply to your [NetID] account, to confirm that the flow of email is working in both directions, as expected

Configure Manually

If you need to enter any of the [Configure manually...] details yourself, they should be set to:

Protocol: IMAP SMTP
Port: 143 587
  Authentication:   OAuth2 OAuth2
Username: [NetID] [NetID]


  • Thunderbird

    • Cross Platform compatibility - If you use Windows, Linux, or Mac there is a version of Thunderbird for you
    • Easy to transfer your Profile and Settings between computers, even on different platforms
    • Simple and Straight forward use
    • Truly integrated Address Book and Directory Services
    • Handles multiple email account seamlessly
    • Phishing/Scam Protection
    • Auto updates available so you always have the most recent version
    • Better ability to handle/use unique signatures
    • Handles various forms of email with few compatibility issues
    • Filters work well and are easy to setup
    • Seamlessly integrates campus phonebook, even allowing you to search from the "to:" line of an outgoing message
    • Add-ons and themes provide Thunderbird the look and functionality you desire
    • Robust signature options, including html support for signatures
    • It's free
  • IMAP

    • What you see is exactly what is on the server
    • Allows you to access all of your emails from anywhere with an internet connection
    • No need to sort through duplicates of messages
  • OAuth2

    • Now required to access most UIUC-campus online resources
    • Presents recognizable, secure, single sign on (SSO) Illinois NetID Center login screen for: web, desktop computer applications and mobile devices alike
    • Enforces 2-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your NetID Center, UIUC Active Directory (AD) account and password
    • Prevents 99.9 percent of attacks, to include deceptive links to phishing websites, social engineering and password brute-force attacks, on all resources that require 2FA for login

For further help, tips and tricks please contact us at

Updated June 2021

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