Mozilla Thunderbird Review

Mozilla Thunderbird is principally known as an email client, but it has a newsreader function built into it, as well.

Be aware that this program will not download binaries.

That being said, Thunderbird is a great newsreader for many different reasons. One of the most significant reasons is that this client has Mozilla behind it and, therefore, is updated on a regular basis and is packed full of features. It’s utility as an email client and its other features—it’ll even display your Twitter feed—make it worth considering.


There’s really nothing to installing Thunderbird. Download the latest package from Mozilla, run it and you’re good to go.

Once you get it set up, go to the Options_Account Settings menu and select “Add Other Account” from the Account Actions button on the bottom of the window.


A wizard will guide you through the setup process, which is not difficult at all. Your USENET server will appear in the program’s main window, along with your email and other accounts. Click on it to get the username/password prompt so you can download the list of newsgroups from your USENET service.


Using the Program

Once you’ve subscribed to your desired newsgroups, click on your newsgroup server from the main program window and you can download the headers and browse through articles.


For people who remember USENET from a long time ago, the Thunderbird interface will likely invoke a bit of nostalgia. The interface is very simple, allowing you to see the message headers and to read the content displayed in plain text. If you’re after simplicity, this is a great newsreader.

Technical Details

Thunderbird is light on features. It supports SSL, so basic security isn’t a problem but, beyond that, there really isn’t much in the way of technical capacity with this program.

Thunderbird does not download binaries, does not support NZB files and doesn’t have a built-in USENET search feature. It merely downloads the headers from the groups you subscribe to, allows you to filter through them and to read the messages in plain text; nothing fancy, to be sure.

This isn’t likely to appeal to people who want the most of what today’s USENET clients and services have to offer but, for those who just go on USENET for the articles, it’s got everything required.


Thunderbird is, perhaps, the least sophisticated newsreader on our list. In a way, that gives it its own charm.
If you just want to read some articles and keep abreast of what’s new on your favorite newsgroups, this is probably the best option out there. It makes reading newsgroups as easy as reading your email.

Summary Page

Mozilla Thunderbird won’t download binaries for you, but it has one of the best interfaces around for reading articles on newsgroups. The fact that it packs a lot of other features—notably an email client—into the mix makes it even more useful. The program can be extended with calendars and other add-ons, allowing you to get a newsreader with so many other features that you’re bound to simplify your digital life a bit. If you want to download binaries, however, this is not a good solution.

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