Setup Mozilla Thunderbird to work with Microsoft Exchange Server

1. Setup a new account under Tools/Account Settings/Add Account…
Select “E-mail Account” and add your details.
Use IMAP and input your incoming exchange server (Try port 993 and SSL encryption).

2. Subscribe to all required folders by right clicking on the account name and choosing ‘Subscribe…’.

3. Change the trash folder’s name to ‘Deleted Items’:
Follow the instructions in the Mozilla Zine.

4. Go to Tools/Options/Advanced/Config Editor:
Set boolean mail.check_all_imap_folders_for_new to true.
Set boolean mail.imap.expunge_after_delete to true.

5. Go to Tools/Account Settings for the IMAP account:
Have it place a copy of sent mail to the ‘Sent Items’ folder.
Also have it save drafts and templates in the ‘Drafts’ folder.
Go to Junk Settings and have it send all junk to ‘Junk E-mail’.

6. If you are not using the Thunderbird default SMTP server, go to Tools/Account Settings/Outgoing Server and configure your outgoing SMTP server.

And that should be all…


91 Responses to “Setup Mozilla Thunderbird to work with Microsoft Exchange Server”

  1. 1 Rajesh.N May 7, 2008 at 23:58

    This page is very helpful

    • 2 Anonymous April 14, 2010 at 11:56

      DavMail Gateway allows any email client to connect to a Microsoft Outlook server with Outlook Web Access (OWA).

  2. 3 acgc May 10, 2008 at 04:41

    I have the following problem with this message:

    “The current command did not succeed. The mail server responded: Protocol Error: “One of the supplied fetch items is invalid”

    I get the mail headers but cannot read the messaged.

  3. 4 fourforces May 17, 2008 at 17:45

    Hi acgc,

    You can log the protocol transaction to try to identify the error.

  4. 5 Anonymous May 19, 2008 at 16:42

    Perfect! It really works well.

  5. 6 R. Wilson July 10, 2008 at 14:42

    This was JUST what I needed. Hard to find this information on any other site. Thanks for making it accessible and easy to follow!

  6. 7 maya July 13, 2008 at 00:18

    This page is very helpful, I could configure Thunderbird very easily.

    Thanks and regards,

  7. 8 Rayan July 27, 2008 at 00:14

    Guys I have tried this and I got an error saying that I may have exceeded the maximum number of connections to this server…

    Any help plz

  8. 9 Allen July 29, 2008 at 13:36

    Sorry to be the one with a problem, but this doesn’t work for me… At step 2, it asks for a password then pops up “login to server exchange.#######.### failed” – likewise, when trying to get mail, it wants a password – the password for exchange server web access is the only one set according to IT dept and it doesn’t work here… Help me get back to TB and off of Outlook!! Thanks.

  9. 10 fourforces July 30, 2008 at 12:45

    Hi Allen,

    Make sure that IMAP support is enabled by your IT dept for the exchange server. Also check that you are using the right server name, port number (usually 993) and the correct security settings (try using SSL secure connection and disabling secure authentication). Hope this helps.

    • 11 orlandavies July 10, 2009 at 17:32

      Hey add the above step as #2 on your instructions (port 993 and SSL) I could not previously connect to my school sever with out this configurations

  10. 12 Masood September 27, 2008 at 05:05

    How do i set the Exchange Proxy Settings in thunderbird.

    msstd:owa ???


  11. 13 Sam September 30, 2008 at 13:52

    Very useful. thanks!

  12. 14 Christian October 8, 2008 at 14:06

    i’m trying to access shared user mailboxes via imap.
    is this possible with an exchange 2007?

  13. 15 MrZoon October 9, 2008 at 14:30

    Same question I think. In Outlook, under my account’s settings, I specify a shared mailbox under “Open additional mailbox”, and I get what looks like two separate “accounts” in the treeview.

    In Thunderbird, I try to make a second account, tell it that I want to access the second account on the server, but give it my primary login, and it tells me that the server/user has already been used.


  14. 16 fourforces October 11, 2008 at 11:03

    You can have multiple identities for the same account under the Account Settings Main/Manage Identities…

    Then to choose which identity to use when writing a message, open the From drop-down menu and choose from the list.

    • 17 Diego May 22, 2009 at 10:55

      Yup. That’s the easy part.
      But how could I *read* the mail in the shared box?
      “Subscribe” doesn’t list it (quite obvious, since it’s another account). And I can’t add another mailbox (same server and same username).

      • 18 Diego May 22, 2009 at 12:20


        Just configure TWO accounts.
        If your username is aaaa, your domain is dddd and shared-folder user is bbbb, then the usernames to use are :
        – dddd/aaaa/aaaa for your mail
        – dddd/aaaa/bbbb for the shared folder

        Hope it helps.

  15. 19 Alessandro October 13, 2008 at 06:43

    I have a problem. When I try to subscribe the folders Thunderbird tells me: “connection to the server failed”.
    I work behind a proxy and I need to contact the imap server via HTTP. So I need to specify 2 proxies: one for the internet surfing and one in order to reach the owa server via http.

    In Outlook it works because it takes the “internet proxy” from MSExplorer…

    How can I set me free from Outlook?? 😀

  16. 20 Paxton October 14, 2008 at 11:59

    our server doesn’t have IMAP enabled and our IT department will not do it. Can I still enable Thunderbird to work with our exchange? Thank you.

  17. 21 fourforces October 15, 2008 at 15:49

    If your Exchange server does not support IMAP, you can try using Evolution which has a plugin for Exchange access.

    More information can be found at

    Unfortunately, I think that the MacOS version is outdated and the Vista version is buggy. It should run fine on XP and Linux.

    • 22 Anonymous February 8, 2011 at 22:21

      As of 2/7/2007, Evolution 2 is un-usable on Win7.
      At this point, it’s much better at churning out error messages and crashing than it is at reading email. In fact, as far as I can tell, it can’t display email from my employer’s Exchange server at all.
      It doesn’t help that the Evolution authors named all their configuration parameters differently from the way they’re named in Outlook. But, after exhausting all permutations, it still didn’t work.
      Dear Novell: I’m deleting your software. Let’s try again. Same time next year? See you then.

  18. 25 Armaan December 24, 2008 at 00:50

    how can i configure my corporate exchange mail account in thunderbird. its not supporting any another account except gmail.


  19. 26 Em January 7, 2009 at 16:56

    Thanks! Very helpful 🙂

    I had an issue – Login Failed when trying to subscribed to folders, even though I knew my username & password were correct.

    I googled and found this solution:

    The most common IMAP login failure in Exchange occurs when the mailbox alias is different to a user’s account name (check Active Directory Users and Computers). In that case, then user name must be supplied in the form:


    To check your account name and alias, Open Active Directory and right-click, select properties on your user account.

    Under the Account tab, your account name appears in the Logon text field.

    Under the Exchange General tab you’ll see an Alias text field.

    If these two don’t match you need to specify your login/username in thunderbird in the format: DOMAIN\ACCOUNT\ALIAS

  20. 28 OMM January 11, 2009 at 11:54

    Can anyone tell me how to figure out what my incoming server is for an Microsoft Outlook Exchange Account? I’ve looked a few places and I guess it’s too basic to explain >.>

  21. 29 Tristan February 13, 2009 at 16:19

    For getting Calendar and Address book to work with Exchange this link might be handy.

  22. 30 BLONG579 March 12, 2009 at 10:08

    I use a laptop with mobile internet for work and due problems with MS and to cut back on software our ms office has been removed and replaced with openoffice and outlook has been removed from all mobile computers and we now log into outlook on threw the net. this make outlook very slow to work with since the speed of or mobile net is so slow. so im trying thunderbird and love it for gmail but keep getting could not connect to mail server;the connection was refused. call our help line and they were not able to help. is there anything i can do to get this to work or is it never going to work with thunder bird. thanks for any help

    0s win xp

  23. 31 Dhanapalan M May 29, 2009 at 14:01


    Very usefull, we are able to configure more then two accounts (Exchange Server and POP3)it is working fine.

  24. 32 Scott Todd June 10, 2009 at 15:43

    Got the same problem as OMM. I look under my account in Outlook and all it says is Microsoft Exchange Server, but nothing specific I can enter into the Thunderbird for the Incoming Server blank (Server Information window.)

    • 33 Scott Todd June 10, 2009 at 17:31

      Found the answer, thanks to Kevin Miller: In Outlook go to Tools, -> Email accounts, -> view or change-> NEXT -> and in the E mail Accounts window click the CHANGE button and the real server name will pop up. Copy and paste into the appropriate blank in Thunderbird.

  25. 34 Woody September 10, 2009 at 16:51

    Will this sync all folders with exchanges – i.e. including “SENT ITEMS” “DELETED ITEMS” and “JUNK”. My understanding is that IMAP will not sync “SENT ITEMS”.

    While I could probably live without the “DELETED ITEMS” & “JUNK”, I MUST be able to sync “SENT ITEMS” with server accross multiple PC’s.

    Please could you tell me if your solution will do this?

    Thanks in advance.

  26. 35 /\/ | /\/ / /-\ September 21, 2009 at 08:51

    This was really helpful thanks!

  27. 36 Shashi December 15, 2009 at 18:29

    I am having a weird problem but it is happening to all of my collegues. We recently installed Exchange 2007 and are using Thunderbird as Mail Client. We receive mails with no problem but sometime mails won’t show up to private folders (made by users) until I click on that folder. In system tray, it would say that new mail has arrived(showing open envelope sign) but the mail will only show up when I click on each folder and suddenly one folder will have new mail.


  28. 37 larsgrobe February 10, 2010 at 14:38

    Just wrote a short how-to on how I finally managed to connect to the Exchange 2007 infrastructure at work, including Thunderbird’s Mail, Contacts and (Lightning) Calendar. May be if interest:

  29. 38 kb February 11, 2010 at 15:44

    This is great. I do have one crucial question.

    If I set this up, will the messages in my exchange/outlook account be downloaded and removed?

    I did this once with POP3. I had webmail and thunderbird. WHen I checked in thunderbird, the messages no longer showed up in the webmail.

    I am guessing this is not the case because MS’s exchange is the central DB that holds all email messages.

    But can you please verify this?

  30. 40 Magius February 23, 2010 at 15:45


    First, I apologize for my poor english 😦

    I’m having hard and stupid problem with the SMTP outgoing server!!

    I just can’t understand it!! :-(((

    The incoming server and the outgoing server is the same:

    I DO receive mails, the configuration that works is:

    Server type: IMAP
    Server name:
    Port: 143
    username: my login username in the domain
    Security: None
    Use safe conection: yes

    And, I repeat, it does works.

    So, I have the problem sending mails. I’ve tried every posibilities but I can’t send mails 😦

    What I think it must works is something like this:

    Server name:
    Port: 25
    Username: my login username in the domain
    Security: None
    Use safe conection: yes

    With every one I’ve tried the answer use to be:
    “Send failed. The mail can’t be send because the conection with the SMTP server failed. The server may be out of line or be rejecting SMTP conections. Please, verify the SMTP configuration and try again, or contact with de admin of the server.”

    And, of course, the admin of the server doesn’t want to know anything about ThunderBird. His answer is “Just use Outlook” :-SSS

    Oh! I almost forgotten it: I’ve just update from ThunderBird 2 to 3, and TB 2 had been working fine almost 2 years …

    Any help!??

    Thanks in advance!!!


  31. 41 Magius February 23, 2010 at 16:41

    It’s me again…

    Yesterday, about 12:10 a.m. I do send a test mail … this is crazy!

    Thanks in advance again!!


  32. 42 Magius February 24, 2010 at 10:33

    Well, I don’t know exactly how, but it works…

    The SMTP configuration that has finally worked is:

    Description: Exchange server
    Port: 25
    Username: My login name in the domain, but WITHOUT the domain and the backslash. This works: user and this DO NOT WORK: domain\user OK??
    Use safe conection: Yes
    Security of conection: STARTTLS, if available

    One IMPORTANT NOTE: This last one is ONLY available if you migrate from ThunderBird 2 and you had previously configured the SMTP outgoing server with “Security of conection: STARTTLS, if available”.

    If, for any reason, you change it you CAN’T put it again … and that ISN’T the same that “STARTTLS” or “None” ok??

    I don’t know why, but this has worked.

    I hope this will help people!

    Be happy!!!


  33. 43 Filias March 2, 2010 at 04:11

    Thanks Diego for help with exchange shared accounts.

  34. 45 EDI Guy March 10, 2010 at 22:22

    I am having trouble with this procedure using Thunderbird 3.0.3 and Exchange 2007. Are there problems with 3.0.3?

  35. 46 larsgrobe April 1, 2010 at 15:37

    Note: The procedure I linked to on the post above leaves messages on the server.

  36. 47 Bug Me Not May 3, 2010 at 13:14

    Wow! Thanks for the help, and sorry for the anonymity.

  37. 48 Christian October 15, 2010 at 11:35

    Wow! Thank you!

  38. 49 sidaiza January 12, 2011 at 07:20

    There is a different way to do it all, Davmail is sometimes a bit dodgy, see the link. Works with all new exchange servers

  39. 51 Excellent Apps March 1, 2011 at 17:18

    Great post. Thanks for your help.

  40. 52 allenwesley June 10, 2011 at 15:14

    Please Describe Briefily about Exchange Server

    Connecting Ldap Server from outlook is all working gud!!!!, and we can able search contact from ldap server , through outlook.

    My doubt?

    Wether its possible, Adding address contact in thunderbird or outlook is also updated in ldap Active directory?

    If its possible How , Explain briefily with steps….

  41. 53 dusane July 22, 2011 at 07:54

    Great post ! Helped me configuring Thunderbird on my mac a lot.


  42. 54 pconwell August 15, 2011 at 06:44

    Hey, I know this is like two years old, but instead of editing the preferences directly to ‘fix’ the trash can name issue, you can just go into the settings for an account and select the appropriate action for ‘on delete’.

    Also, thanks for the info, still valid after two years!

  43. 55 Tyler November 4, 2011 at 12:18

    thanks man,
    when i cancelled authentication, it is ok

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