Thunderplunger: Keep Thunderbird Clean

Martin Brinkmann
May 26, 2008
Updated • Mar 29, 2014
Email, Thunderbird

Thunderplunger is an add-on for the email client Thunderbird that adds a few semi-automatic features to the program that help you keep Thunderbird clean and tidy.

The six features that are added can be divided into three areas: News and RSS, Accounts and Email Addresses. The News and RSS group contains options to mark news and rss servers read, to remove phantom messages in newsgroups and to remove orphaned news files.

While Thunderbird provides access to an option that can mark each individual folder as read there is no option to do the same for a news or rss server. If you have configured multiple servers, you may need to set each individual server to read as a consequence.

Removing phantom messages gets rid of an issue in Thunderbird where the mail client reports that new messages have arrived when in fact none did.

Removing orphaned files is a very useful feature. It removes information about newsgroups that you have unsubscribed from. Thunderbird will keep those messages on the system even though the newsgroup has been removed from Thunderbird, much like it is done for deleted email messages.

Clean Accounts is listed on the accounts group of features. It scans the Thunderbird folders for traces of accounts that cannot be linked to any existing Thunderbird account and removes those from the system.

It removes traces of old email accounts by scanning Thunderbird's storage locations and remove folders that are associated with the accounts that you want removed from the email client.

Another feature of interest is the option to remove email addresses from address books. All you have to do is right-click on an email address in a message in Thunderbird and select the remove from address book context menu option to have it erased from the address books of the program.

The extension adds the reverse option as well. Right-click on an email address that you want added to an address book and select the add to selected address book context menu option to add it to one of the available address books of Thunderbird. Address book entries can be edited in pretty much the same way using the context menu.

The add-on for Thunderbird ships with another interesting feature: you can use it to validate email addresses. When you select the feature, it attempts to validate the selected email address using the ThunderPlunger web service which communicates directly with the associated mail server of the email's domain.

Thunderplunger makes it easier to remove email addresses from address books by adding a right-click option to remove that email from address books in Thunderbird. By default, you have to copy and find the address in an address book and delete it from there. This is very handy for bounced emails.

The last feature of Thunderplunger can validate all email addresses of an address book. Thunderplunger is a very specialized add-on for Thunderbird that comes in handy if you have encountered any of the described issues in the past.


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  1. Transcontinental said on May 27, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I have it and I confirm : efficient!

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