Thunderbird 3 beta 4 available for download

Mozilla's popular email client 'Thunderbird' is progressing nicely, having hit the beta 4 milestone of version 3 just earlier, bringing some nice new changes and improvements with it according to the guys over at ghacks. The release brings a few new optimization features, including support for Windows Vista's search and better Gmail integration.

Some of the improvements, as listed by Mozilla, can be found below:

  • 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 Autocomplete:
    When 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.
  • Redesigned Mail Toolbar:
    The 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.
  • Smart Folders:
    The folder pane offers a Smart Folders mode which combines special mailboxes, like Inbox, from multiple accounts. Smart Folders is now on by default.
  • Improved Gmail Integration:
    Better 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 can import from, read your OS X address book, and use Growl for new mail alerts.
These are all excellent improvements, and will certainly help Thunderbird in becoming an even bigger competitor to its rivals. If you want to try out the fourth beta, you can find download links below, directly from Mozilla.

Download: Thunderbird 3 B4 for Windows.
Download: Thunderbird 3 B4 for Mac OS X.
Download: Thunderbird 3 B4 for Linux.

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Lots of nice improvements over 2.0 in this release! I like the tabs and smart folders. However, why are there no icons next to reply, forward etc? and why are they all lowercase? are they trying to be 'hip' now? :P

If TB had a similar vertical message view like outlook (two lines, not cram 4 - 5 columns on 1 line) it would be perfect for me but I just hate this old school way of displaying messages. And I've read quite a few comments from other users who miss that in TB. To me WLM desktop still has a better interface than TB...

I can't see the difference.

In Thunderbird you can put the reading panel: top, right, wide-bottom, off.

What's "two lines" mean? Do you mean two rows? That's Wide mode in TB.

He means two rows per message in the message list pane, like you can have in Outlook and WLM and I totally agree. I would also like to see the ability to have a 'separate' favorites pane above the main folders pane like in outlook and also the to-do pain in outlook. If only outlooks worked better with IMAP and didn't crash every five Min's then I would be using it TBH.

I do like the new search feature of TB although it looks like it has been coded by someone else as the interface is not consistent.

lunamonkey said,
I can't see the difference.

In Thunderbird you can put the reading panel: top, right, wide-bottom, off.

What's "two lines" mean? Do you mean two rows? That's Wide mode in TB.

This complaint is mostly from Outlook users who switched to thunderbird when using the vertical layout. I used Outlook for years and switched to Thunderbird also, and Thunderbird's vertical layout annoys me like Obry described.

Here's screenshots of vertical layouts from Outlook and Thunderthird:

Look at the middle row of both, notice how Outlook doesn't squish everything (Subject, sender, date, time, etc) into one single row like TB does. Infact, in outlook, you can set to many rows as seen here:

The vertical layout is ideal for wide screen monitors, which is almost all LCD screens. Because you have more width than height, you can have three vertical columns in full view.

SirDoan said,
is thunderbird good? like comparable to Gmail?

Gmail is the email provider. Thunderbird a desktop email client. Use both together and you have something great.

SirDoan said,
is thunderbird good? like comparable to Gmail?

Different. It works well with Gmail, but Gmail is a borked hybrid of ideas. It works well once you get used to it, but Gmail is no way perfect.

Thunderbird will still use folders. Gmail uses labels. If you drag emails around in Thunderbird, it will either lose, duplicate or mess up labels in Gmail.

Best to stick with one or the other. (as in webmail or thunderbird)

Opera Mail is even harder to use with Gmail, you have to ignore alot of folders.

Admittedly, I use both, but I know what actions I can and can't do when using OperaMail or Thunderbird. I never drag anything, and I never delete anything in Thunderbird.

Any labelling is done in filters on and if folders need to be created I do them on

I use the inbox, along with labels, so I don't use archive in except for old messages.


SirDoan said,
is thunderbird good? like comparable to Gmail?

Thunderbird is a very good desktop mail client, but it's better compared to Microsoft Outlook than GMail. I have a GMail account, and it's not bad, but I much prefer the customization provided in Thunderbird. I'm really looking forward to this new release, though I'm still waiting for that "Got to have" feature...