My email client of choice is called ThunderBird and the good news is, like FireFox  it’s also available for Mac and Linux users. (There’s even a portable version for Macs too.)

Why do I think portable programs are the way to go?

Once upon a time, all Windows programs were portable. You didn’t install them as such, in effect you just copied them where you wanted them to run and away you went.

Then Microsoft introduced the concept of the registry which is a database of all program settings and in effect tied the program to the machine you’d installed it onto. If you wanted to run the program on another machine then you had to install it on there too.

Right from day one I didn’t think that was a good thing for us users.

The worst thing about it is the Windows registry is incomprehensible.

The old method utilised a simple text based .ini file with text entries for all the settings and I reckon it was a “jolly good idea”. You could read through these entries for the program in your favourite text editor and work out what was going on. You could also apply some useful undocumented tweaks by changing “false” values to “true” and seeing what happened.

Yeah I’m a bit of a geek, always have been.  😉

Portable programs by their nature can’t use the registry to store their settings, so they typically use the good old .ini files again. This means if you use a flash drive to store and run your portable programs, then those programs can write back any settings changes you make to the .ini files.

I hope that makes sense.

So. The PortableApps program is very cool and has a *huge* amount of free programs you can install including ThunderBird, FireFox, Chrome, Opera, NotePad++, Skype and OpenOffice and Libre Office.

It even has its own built in installer and program directory. Check for new apps, tick the boxes for the ones you want to install and off it goes and does it for you.

Yeah I’m impressed with it and I think you will be too.

Okay so back to email and ThunderBird.

I used to be an Outlook Express user until Microsoft killed it. Then I had to go looking for a replacement email client as I really didn’t want to use the web for ALL my email accounts as it would have taken forever to log in and check them one at a time. The assumption nowadays by companies like Microsoft and Google is we only have one email account, and that’s never been the case for me. It might be okay for the average home user, but I need lots of accounts thank you.

Luckily, with ThunderBird you can add a LOT of email accounts and I have at least 30 in my personal installation.

And they’re really made it VERY easy to add a new email account to it, including Google and probably Yahoo although I haven’t checked.

All you need to do is enter your email address and password and Thunderbird automatically tests the server to see what protocols it supports and goes for the most secure one it can find.

IF you’re thinking of leaving a comment on this post with your thoughts, then all I’ll say is that’s a good idea and it’s DEFINITELY in your interest to do so as I’d like to later reward all contributors for their input and views.  😉

-Frank Haywood

 

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