High-Performance Computing at the NIH

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Configuring Mozilla Thunderbird for IMAP and LDAP
Last updated for Thunderbird version 38.4.0

Pull down the Tools menu and select Account Settings

  1. Pull down Account Actions near the bottom left, select Get a new account, and click the Next button
  2. Identity configuration page
    • Enter your real name
    • Enter your email address
      • Helix users enter their usernames "at helix," e.g. rick@helix.nih.gov
    • Click the Next button
  3. Server Information page
    • Select the IMAP button
    • Enter the hostname of your Incoming Server
      • Helix users enter helix.nih.gov
    • Click the Next button
  4. User Names configuration page
    • Enter your login (username) on the mail server, e.g. rick
    • Click the Next button
  5. Account Name configuration page
    • Another good choice besides those suggested is the hostname: helix.nih.gov or simply Helix
    • Click the Next button
  6. Congratulations page
    • Will will want to change the Outgoing Server Name later, as the value helix.nih.gov only works some of the time
    • Click Finish

Additional Account Settings

  1. First click on the Outgoing Server (SMTP) category listed at the bottom, below your new account
    • Highlight the server and select Edit
      • Change the Server Name
            mailfwd.nih.gov instead of helix.nih.gov (saves one delivery "hop")
      • Exception: If connecting through a non-NIH Internet services provider (ISP), use your ISP's outbound server instead
      • Make additional configuration changes
            Description: SMTP (no trailing "S")
            Port: 25
            Authentication method: No authentication
            Connection Security: None
      • Alternative using Exchange server
            Description: SMTPS
            Server: smpt.nih.gov
            Port: 465
            Authentication method: Kerberos/GSSAPI
            Connection Security: SSL/TLS
      • Exception: When connecting through a non-NIH ISP, use any additional Outgoing Server configurations recommended by that ISP
    • If no server name exists, click Add and proceed as above
  2. Select the Server Settings category under your new account
    • Under Connection security, select SSL/TLS
      The port number automatically changes to 993
    • Check either the "Clean up ("Expunge") Inbox on Exit option, the Empty Trash on Exit option, or both
    • As mail clients can become confused if you check for new mail too frequently, it is recommend you set the mail check interval for 10 minutes or more
    • Press the Advanced button
      • In the IMAP server directory box enter the lower case string mail
      • For efficiency uncheck Server supports folders that contain sub-folders and messages
      • Likewise, uncheck Show only subscribed folders
      • Click the OK button
  3. Select the Composition & Addressing category
    • It is recommended that you not compose messages in HTML by default
    • Select Addressing / Use a different LDAP server
    • Click the Edit Directories button
      • Click Add
      • Enter NIH LDAP directory service as the Name
      • Enter directory.nih.gov as the Hostname
      • Enter o=nih,c=us as the Base DN
      • Click OK
  4. Click a 2nd OK to preserve the account settings

Almost Ready

You are now in your mail reader, with the various accounts and folders listed in a column at the left

Before clicking on the Email / Read messages action, the following additional configuration steps are recommended, for maximum consistency with other mail software such as Pine on helix:

  1. If a sent-mail folder is not listed among those in your new account, right-click on the account name and pull down New Folder; then enter sent-mail (lower case) as its name and click OK
  2. Likewise, if a postponed-msgs folder is not listed under your new account, right-click on the account name and pull down New Folder; then enter postponed-msgs (lower case) as its name and click OK
  3. Click the Accounts / View settings for this account action (alternatively, pull down the Tools menu at the top again, and again select Account Settings)
    • Select the Copies & Folders category
    • Override two of the default folder names:
      • Under Place a copy in:
        • Select the Other button
        • Click on the right to pull down menu options
        • Select your account
        • From the pop-up list of folders, select sent-mail
      • Under Keep message drafts in:
        • Select the Other button
        • Click on the right to pull down menu options
        • Select your account
        • From the pop-up list of folders, select postponed-msgs
      • Click the OK button

To read the mail

Now we're ready to go! Just click on the Email / Read messages category and enter your password when prompted