Thunderbird 3: An small piece of disappointment… making it to look like Thunderbird 2

As always when the weather is cold in Athens and this happens during weekends, it is a nice case to spent some time performing unnecessary tasks with your laptop.

So… One for the first tasks was to upgrade my Thunderbird version to the latest v3.

Thunderbird 3, as promises features a lot of new tools, such as :

New search with advanced filtering tools

  • New Search with Advanced Filtering Tools Search results now include advanced filtering tools. You have the option to filter your results by sender, tag, attachments, people, folder, and mailing list. You can also filter your email using the timeline tool.
  • New Global Search Field with AutocompleteWhen typing in the Global Search field, Thunderbird autocompletes against your address book. You have the option of searching everywhere or filtering against different parts of the email such as by subject or by sender.

User Experience Improvements

  • New Mail Account Setup WizardThe new Mail Account Setup Wizard matches against a database of email settings from popular mail providers so that you will only need to provide your name, email, and password to set up new mail accounts.
  • Redesigned Mail ToolbarThe Mail Toolbar is redesigned to include the new Global Search bar. Buttons such as reply, forward, delete, junk are part of each email message. You can add those buttons back to the main toolbar by customizing the toolbar.
  • Tabbed Email MessagesDouble-clicking or hitting enter on a mail message will now open that message in a New Tab window. Middle-clicking on messages or folders will open them in a Tab in the background. When quitting Thunderbird, visible tabs will be saved and will be restored when you open Thunderbird the next time. There is also a new Tab menu on the Tab toolbar to help you switch between Tabs.
  • Smart FoldersThe folder pane offers a Smart Folders mode which combines special mailboxes, like Inbox, from multiple accounts. Smart Folders is now on by default.
  • New Message Summary ViewSelecting multiple messages will give you a summary view of the emails you have selected.
  • Column HeadingsThe column headings that are displayed and the order in which they are displayed can now be set on a per-folder basis.
  • Message ArchiveYou can now file messages from your Inbox or other folders into the new Archive folder system.
  • Activity ManagerThe Activity Manager records all the interactions between Thunderbird and your email provider in one place.
  • New Add-ons ManagerThe new Add-ons Manager (Tools > Add-ons) can now be used to find, download, and install Thunderbird Add-ons which includes Extensions, Themes, and Plugins. Note that few Add-ons are compatible with this beta at the time of release, as Add-on developers need to upgrade them.
  • Improved Address BookIf someone is in your address book, it is indicated by a new star icon which you can click to edit contact details inline. If they are not in your address book, you can add them with one click of the icon. A new birthday field allows you to keep track of your friends’ birthdays. You can also add a photo for contacts in your address book.
  • Improved Gmail IntegrationBetter recognition and integration of Gmail’s special folders such as Sent and Trash including non-English versions of Gmail. Thunderbird also uses All Mail as the Archives folder.
  • For Windows Vista users, Thunderbird 3 is now integrated with Vista search results. On first start, Thunderbird will prompt to install its indexing system into Windows Vista and you can choose to see Thunderbird email and news messages in Windows search results.
  • For Mac users, Thunderbird 3 is now integrated with Spotlight, can import from, read your OS X address book, and use Growl for new mail alerts.

Performance Improvements

  • IMAP Folder SynchronizationThunderbird will download IMAP messages by default in the background to allow for faster message loading and better offline operation. This feature can be enabled on an individual folder basis via Folder properties, or for all folders in an account via Account Settings / ‘Synchronize & Storage’.

Hoo-wah!!! A lot of interesting new tools!! TABS!! IMPROVEMENTS… !! So.. this time the updating process was most promising than ever before!

Upon completing the update, the new Thunderbird come up and the little piece of disappointment started to become bigger and bigger. The GUI is practically new, with icons that personally I do not like so much. The searching different and not so helpful as the release notes page promises. Smart Folders concept… not very clear to me. And above all, the new Thunderbird performs very slowly in contrast to the previous version.

This was an astonishing surprise for a Saturday morning!

So, I started to google how to deactivate many new features or more precisely make them look like in Thunderbird 2.

I summarize here, my findings:

Make Thunderbird 3 Toolbar to look like in Thunderbird 2: In order to switch back to your lovely Thunderbird 2-look of the toolbar, click Help for the Menu Bar and the select the Migration Assistant,, which provides some options for customizing Thunderbird 3 to look like 2. On the new TAB that opens, you can select to use original Toolbar. This will switch you back to your friendly Toolbar, along with your customization from previous versions or installations.

From Smart Folders to All Folders: By clicking on the the little left and right arrows at the top of the inbox folder area, it is possible to switch between various views. One of them is the classic ‘All Folders’.  Alternatively you can go to Help and then select the Migration Assistant, which provides some options for customizing Thunderbird 3 to look like 2. From Migration Assistant you can select “all folders” option.

I think that these two actions, will make you to feel better… At least they helped me a lot.

Moreover, I found that some users have faces various issues with indexing procedure of the new Thunderbird. In case that you are one of them, then you can follow these steps for deactivating the indexing feature in Thunderbird 3:

From the menu bar click on Tools and the select Options. On the new window select the Advanced tab and in case that it is not selected then click on General. There you will find the option to uncheck the “Enable Global Search and Indexer“. This practically will stop the idnexing procedure.

Ouuuuf. This was enough for a smooth Saturday morning… BUT the story does not end here.

Being ready to use my favorite freeware for backing up my inbox (MozBackup is really useful and I have tested many times for moving my whole mails and settings to other laptops or PCs), a pop-up window appeared informing me that a new version of Thunderbird is available.. !!!  VERSION 3.0.1!  When I realized that there is an update of the just released Thunderbird 3, I started to worry. Here it is what is reported on the official Thunderbird 3.0.1 page:

New in Thunderbird 3.0.1:

  • Several fixes to improve stability and security
  • Several fixes to the user interface and attachment handling.

These news are not quite good…

Searching a little bit more, you can come up with a list of numerous security issues and bugs (Page 1 and Page 2), existing in the new version, making you to wonder: Why I decided to move up to the last version of Thunderbird?

UPDATED: Upon testing the 3.0.1 version for two days, I am convinced that many latency issues have been solved and improved.