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Thunderbird and SMTP

Posted: 24 Dec 2017, 16:25
by Kellemora
Comcast must be fiddling with the knobs again.

Our e-mail quit working, both in and out.
Now the in is intermittent, and the out is still dead.

I made a few changes in the settings, using different ports they suggested.

At least now I can send from one account, but not the other, which is strange, since they both use the same SMTP server.

Something is amiss and I can't figure it out. On-line I find hundreds with the same problem. They say it's the latest upgrade of Thunderbird, however, I have not upgraded yet.

I normally get a ton of e-mail each day in both of my accounts. For the past week, only a couple of e-mails have come through.
At first I could not send e-mail out from either account. Now I can from one, but it too is intermittent.
The SMTP Server said the mail was successful. But it never appears anywhere, hi hi...

Also, we had a death in the family yesterday, which has everything else around here in turmoil.

Re: Thunderbird and SMTP

Posted: 24 Dec 2017, 18:12
by yogi
First of all I want to extend my condolences for the death in your family. It's always a difficult time, but especially difficult to bear around the holidays. I'm sorry to learn that your family must endure such events.

Regarding Thunderbird: I have four separate e-mail accounts managed by Thunderbird. It was a pain and a half setting them up manually because the automatic detection built into Thunderbird did not recognize three of my four accounts. It had no problem with HotMail.

As you must know, Thunderbird is a desktop client. You can get around it by going directly to the Comcast e-mail server, which is no doubt web mail based. You will be able to see exactly what arrived and was not downloaded by Thunderbird for you to read locally. You should also be able to send mail if you don't mind using Comcast's user interface.

There are not a lot of things for Comcast to change that would affect Thunderbird. One thing, as you already noted, is the port number. You should sync to whatever port the Comcast server is using but I have been able to use the traditional ports while my service provider does not. Eventually the mismatched ports gave me a headache so that I had to look up the parameters on my e-mail provider's web site to get everything running again. The other thing they could have changed was the type of server. Perhaps Pop3 could have been replaced by an LDAP or IMAP service. It's also possible that they added some security to their system by installing an SSL layer. If so, the port number changes. You will also have to enable secure login on your client side in order to get it working.

So, there are a number of esoteric settings that could have changed. My advice would be to go to the Comcast website and locate instructions for setting up Thunderbird (local client). If that fails, call their tech support. While I'm not totally enamored with Thunderbird, it does work well when it is configured properly.

Re: Thunderbird and SMTP

Posted: 25 Dec 2017, 17:24
by Kellemora
The odd thing is Yogi, it has worked just fine, then suddenly stopped on Dec 20th.

I did learn a couple of things talking to Comcast tech support.
They have two separate systems, and I cannot see my secondary account on their web mail system.
They say it is because I'm on their POP3, and although I can use POP3 or IMAP, the way I do e-mail, from only one machine, POP3 is the best.

We reset my passwords, which was one of the problems as they switched all accounts to their xFinity servers. But this only affected the inbound mail. I'm now getting my inbound e-mails OK on both of my accounts.

They don't know what the problem is with my SMTP outbound mail.
Account #1 can now send out through the secure SMTP server.
Account #2 is set to use the default SMTP server. Mail says it goes out, no warning message, and I do get the mail successfully sent message from the SMTP server, but no one receives e-mail from that account, so it is lost somewhere, and they say they have no blocks in place.

I set up a secondary web mail account at Comcast, and it does not land their either.
They said I would have to talk with Mozilla, as my e-mail is not landing on their server, even though my report says it is. They said that report really only means no errors, copy sent to SENT mailbox. It's not from them.

Talked via chat with a Mozilla person, who had me try everything I already tried before calling them.
Next we tried setting up a second SMTP account. The set-up went OK, but no mail went out.
They say it is because my ISP is looking at my log-in for the primary account when trying to use the secondary account.

They have several inbound and outbound ports I can use, but Comcast has to specify which one they have me on.
So I do have the right port number for my account type and security settings.

I've always used SSL/TLS, password set to normal password.

We even tried using Start TLS manual password. Got nowhere fast when we tried that.

I did talk with one fellow who has 12 different e-mail accounts in his Thunderbird program, but he's using a Windows computer, so has some setting mine don't have. He can lock each account to a specific SMTP server, where it appears no matter how many entries I make in the list, it always falls back to the default, unless I manually change it before sending.
But that's the problem, the default SMTP is not working from the second account.

A couple of years ago, I had to set everything back up under IceDove, then last year it migrated back to Thunderbird, but still used the IceDove hidden mail folder. I didn't like this, but it worked.
So, one thing I tried so far was to uninstall complete IceDove and Thunderbird. Renamed both their hidden files so the new install would not see them. Created a new hidden folder and copied only the mailbox file back. This did not help either.

My next attempt will be to uninstall again, delete the new hidden file, and let Thunderbird create it's own files, then I will manually set-up Thunderbird like it is new. This will give me new file names for the hidden file. If I can get it working right, then I can simply copy the mailbox file back.

Have a Very Merry Christmas Yogi!

Re: Thunderbird and SMTP

Posted: 26 Dec 2017, 13:18
by Kellemora
All Fixed!

My accounts were moved to a new secure server. But in the process, they managed to delete my secondary accounts mailbox, but not the link to it, which is why my outbound mail showed it was going out, without giving me an error message.

I could NOT simply move my old profile to a new instance of Thunderbird like I could in the past.
This is because of the migration back and forth from Thunderbird to IceDove and back to Thunderbird again created symlinks.
I had to create a new profile, which naturally destroys the Address Book, but that's unimportant.
There was a trick to move my old mail folders to the new instance of Thunderbird without a profile associated with them.
But I now have all of my e-mails as far back as the Eudora days moved and in their correct place.

And Everything now Works, even better than before! Faster Too!

Only problem was, the inbound e-mails from Dec. 18th to the 25th are not on their server to retrieve on my main account.
And as I said earlier, they deleted my secondary account, so there was nothing there at all. An empty page.
I hope whoever e-mailed me between those two dates sends me a copy of what they sent.

Merry Christmas Yogi!

Re: Thunderbird and SMTP

Posted: 26 Dec 2017, 15:24
by yogi
I guess people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of security, which explains why they migrated to a new server. It's amazing to me that you were not notified of this move because it usually involves changes in mail client configurations, such as port numbers. All the mail in my Thunderbird profile is in .msf format which is readable by just about any text processing software. Than again, mine is installed in Windows7; your mileage may vary.

Also, there is no excuse for them to arbitrarily delete files you are storing on their server. It might be worth asking them to go into their daily backup files and retrieve the last good copy of your second mail account. You may want to consider another mail service if they can't/won't give you back what they removed.

Re: Thunderbird and SMTP

Posted: 27 Dec 2017, 18:50
by Kellemora
I've not lost any e-mails, other than those three days worth, and I talked to everyone who may have sent me something, and they replaced what they sent.
I make a daily backup of my mailboxes as soon as I finish responding to all of my e-mail.
I only keep 30 days on the Server.
Ironic, they had me set up with 2 gigs of memory, and just upped it to like 48 gigs.
The only time I would use their memory en masse is if I used an IMAP instead of a POP3 server.

From what I understand, they were getting rid of their old Comcast server farm and moving to their new xFinity server farm.
My port number stayed the same, except it is now on the secure xFinity server.
Some glitch caused them to lose a lot of peoples secondary and beyond accounts.

I figured as much when I went to look at my individual mailboxes and only the main one was there, nothing else.
However, on my accounting page there, it showed all of my accounts as active. Only two were used for e-mail though.

I'm thinking about setting up some e-mail accounts on my host providers system.
I'm supposed to have unlimited e-mail accounts, so you can have those for Webmaster, Support, Information, etc. besides your normal e-mail accounts.
I had to set up one of them when I opened the hosting account, but apparently the password is different than my host control panel account. I know you can set different passwords for each users mailbox, but don't remember using a different one back when I hooked up with the new host. I'll have to ask them to reset it for me, because when I clicked on the change password button, it asked for my current password, and nothing I had written down worked, hi hi...

If you recall, I had to move my websites from Comcast because they turned them all off and do not have personal websites anymore. After checking with many hosts I finally settled on 1&1 and so far they have been great, and helpful. I still do things my way though of course, hi hi... I don't use things like website builders. I write my own code and upload it via FTP.

I hope you had a great Christmas!
We have a funeral to go to tomorrow. One of Debi's younger cousins, age 51, died on the 23rd of December. We'll be there most of the day, and it is 30 miles away. It's below freezing here too.