Setting up Microsoft Exchange Server Mailbox with Thunderbird

Setting up Thunderbird with Microsoft exchange server is little different than normal mail setup. This how to focuses on setting up mail which have no access with POP and IMAP from Microsoft exchange server. That is quite easy if you have IMAP or POP support on exchange server, but this how to will cover more than that. Lets assume that you do not have support for both IMAP and POP.

1st of all lets list down the softwares which will be used for this how to:
– Java 1.5 or above
– Thunderbird 12.0
– Davmail 3.9.8
– Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or later.
– Extensions [Lightning]
I assume you have already installed Java, if not you can install it from YaST. Oh yeh this how to will be based on openSUSE 12.1 KDE.
Next install Thunderbird from YaST again, if not installed yet.

Setup Davmail:
Now time to download Davmail, download it from here. I have downloaded 3.9.8 version, you can choose yours.
Choose Linux(others) from the list and select your system arch(32 or 64bit).
Extract it with an extracting app you have, and put the extracted directory any where you like, e.g: home folder. Enter to the directory and click on A notification pop up will appear.


There are not much things to change in the settings(right click on the icon in the notification area) except OWA URL, it can be like:
Change to your exchange server domain.


All other default ports settings are good to go.
There are logs available if you wana check it, right click and show logs.

Now for Thunderbird mail setup we will cover three areas to configure, configure exchange mail, calendar and directory service.

Section-I (configure mail)
1– Open Thunderbird and from menu > File > New > Existing mail account.
2– Window will appear to enter your name, email and password. Enter your full email address.
3– Change the rest of the settings according to the image below and re-test. Remember to check the ports from Davmail settings to reflect yours.


Note: Username will be like domain\user.
4– If step 3 successfully done, you will see this page. Check it any way and click create account because we are running it on localhost, so no worries.


5– Done.
6– You can change some of the settings from Edit > Account settings, by following the images below, but that’s totally up to you.



Section-II (configure calendar)
1– Install lightning addon from the addon page, tools > add-ons. Restart Thunderbird after installation.
2– Add new calendar from File > New > Calendar.


3– Use this URL: http://localhost:1080/users/<YOUR FULL EMAIL ADDRESS>/calendar . Choose the appropriate options as shown. Change <Your Full Email Address> with your email address.


4– In this window, name your calendar and choose any color you like, remember to not leave the E-mail drop down blank, choose your email address. If you leave it blank, no invitations will be sent to other users.


5– Done
6– In the sidebar a mini calendar will appear, by clicking on the calendar icon at the top will open a new tab.


Section-III (configure directory service)
1– Open Address book and add new LDAP from File > New > LDAP Directory.
2– Enter the information asked for name, hostname, base dn, port number and bind dn.


Note: Bind DN is the username domain\user.
3– Download your directory from the offline tab, if you want.


4– Done

Everything is configured, and now what you can do is WAIT. It will depend on your internet connection and total emails with attachments. It will take some time, so be patient.

If you want to use personal address book, you will need SOGo connector extension. But as it is not compatible with 12.0, so i can’t help with that. You can give it a try here, and then follow this link for how to configure it.

On each boot of the system, Davmail will not start automatically. I found out this way for KDE, which is quite easy. For other desktops and distro, please search for the way around.
Open configure desktop > Startup and Shutdown > Autostart. Click on Add Program button, and locate where you saved it after extraction. Check Enabled checkbox, and that’s it. Davmail will now start on each boot.

Side-Note: If you discover that there are 2 mails in the sent folder, to avoid this go to Davmail settings and in the advanced Tab uncheck ‘SMTP save in sent’ checkbox.


  • redhat27

    Thanks for this tutorial

  • rob_otto

    Thanks for your clear instructions. I noticed that this method does not allow secure method of authentication. Is there a way to connect to exchange via Thunderbird using TLS?

    • Hi Rob,
      I am afraid, that would not be possible. To my knowledge, because we are connecting to localhost, which will not have TLS/SSL cert installed to use it with davmail gateway.
      I am not sure about IMAP/POP, but i guess it support these protocols. Because the exchange server i connect to does not have IMAP/POP.

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  • Logan

    Which is this OS?

    • It was openSUSE 12.1 with KDE desktop.

  • Logan

    I think is under Linux based on Gedit icon. But which? I liked your theme.

    • Yes, Linux openSUSE 12.1 KDE. It’s not based on Gedit icon. The window is netbook style with Kfaenza icons.

  • Venkat

    Thanks a lot. I had spent a lot of time trying to get this done and your article proved to be a life-saver. Thanks again.

    • Glad to hear that it worked for you.

  • guest

    Awwsome!! Thanks!

  • Francois

    Great tutorial ! Many thanks !
    A note about proxy use: the “Use system proxy settings” option seems not to work (I am on LinuxMint 17). I had to use te “Enable proxy” option and to fill the server, port, user and password to make it works.

    • lectrode

      Same deal on Windows, so that issue does not seem to be specific to Linux systems

  • Kim Ahlstrøm Jakobsen

    Will this allow me to create events in Thunderbird such that they are synced with the Microsoft calender? And how does it handle replying to events i.e. sending a response back? Regards Kim 🙂

    • To be honest i had never try it for events, only mails. For mails it works great. On Linux i use Evolution(with ews plugin) for tasks, events and it did work.