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Setting up a new Thunderbird account with Microsoft MFA

This guide is for setting up a Purdue user account in Mozilla Thunderbird from scratch. If you already have an existing Thunderbird setup for Purdue you can use this guide.

This guide also assumes your copy of Thunderbird is at least close to being up-to-date. Any copies that have not been updated for a number of years might not have an "OAUTH2" setting available in the windows below. Also some slightly older versions of Thunderbird might have slightly different setup windows. Version 78 or later of Thunderbird is required.

If you have not set up your Microsoft multi-factor authorization, please see the Purdue MFA information page and follow the needed steps.  This guide assumes your Microsoft MFA is configured and working.

Step-by-step guide

  1. First, make sure that the Thunderbird Menu Bar is on. You can do this by right clicking on an empty section of the Tab bar and right clicking. Make sure there is a check mark by "Menu Bar".

    Select Thunderbird menu bar.
  2. Launch Thunderbird, and then click Edit and then Account Settings.

    Open Thunderbird account settings.
  3. Click on the Account Actions dropdown at the bottom of the window, and then on Add Mail Account.

    Select Add Mail Account.
  4. Type in your name and email address, uncheck Remember password, and then click Configure manually. Be sure to use your actual Purdue career account username instead of “yourusername”, below.

    Set up your existing email address.
  5. Complete the form using the following template as a guide. Be sure to use your actual Purdue career account username instead of “yourusername”, below.

    Incoming and outgoing server information.
  6. Click OK to confirm advanced configuration.

    Confirm advanced configuration dialog box.
  7. Select OAuth2 from the Authentication Method drop down.

    Select Oauth2.
  8. Click on Outgoing Server (SMTP), then select smtp.office365.com, and click Edit.

    Select smtp.office365.com.
  9. Type in a description, select STARTTLS and OAuth2, and click OK.

    Pick a description and then set the connection security and authentication method.
  10. Ensure that the account is using the correct SMTP server.

    Use the correct SMTP server.
  11. You are finished setting up the account. The first time you retrieve email you will need to log in using your Purdue Career Account password and your Microsoft 2FA app or other authenticating device. This log in screen might appear from time to time when your OAUTH2 token expires.

    Sign in to your Microsoft account.

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