Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Get Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail and More in Thunderbird using the Webmail Extension

My Yahoo! mail account is the longest running active mail account I've ever owned, when I got it back in 2002 right before I graduated from high school. There's stuff in there that still gets me way nostalgic. Nowadays it's mostly used for signing up to accounts, and there's routinely 2000 pieces in the spam box. But still, I don't think I'd ever ditch it (I mean, it's free!).

Webmail is an extension for Thunderbird that allows you to download mail from free webmail accounts like Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL mail, and others that don't offer POP access, at least not for free (meanwhile, Gmail's already offering free IMAP access).

Installation is relatively involved, and with setting up email accounts, for some reason it's never as pain-free as you want it to, so please just check out the tutorial on their page.

One thing to remember is to make sure "Leave Messages on Server" is checked indefinitely so it doesn't delete your email in the server. This way you can still access mail from anywhere on the web, as well as Thunderbird.

For some reason I could only get it to download, like, the last 3 months of mail, however. This sucks because the mail that I really want to make sure is archived are ones that are several years old (my plan is to copy them all to my gmail account to have one massive 6 year-long email archive). I checked out the Webmail forums briefly and could not find a definitive answer. I'll let you know if/when I do, however.

Finally, as with Pop mail, the web server does not update the emails' read status or even delete status, so if you're deleting a lot of newsletters and unnecessary mail from Thunderbird once you're done reading them, they're still there in your webmail. If you spend an equal amount of time in Thunderbird and on the web server, this lack of sync is annoying.

But all in all, an admirable effort while these services still haven't gotten around to offering at least free Pop mail support.

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