Many of those who havve been using the web for a few years will have ditched their desktop-based POP3 account in favour of a free webmail service, such as Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo.

But the widespread availability of free webmail accounts poses a problem. Gmail's larger storage limit tempted me to stray from Hotmail a few years back, which means I have to regularly check my old account for any messages from acquaintances who haven't updated their contacts lists. This is a time-consuming, irritating process, yet necessary to avoid missing potentially important mail.

There is an easier way to manage multiple email addresses, however. Thunderbird and Zimbra are not only free but able to access and collate mail from other clients. In the following workshop, we'll demonstrate how to set up Thunderbird to monitor all your mail.

1. To download Thunderbird, head to, click ‘Download Now' and install the resulting file. Now launch the program and import your account settings, address book, mail folder and other data from your existing mail client.

Step 1

2. You'll need to tell Thunderbird which accounts it should check for mail. Click Local Folder, ‘Create a new account' and then choose which type of account you'd like to set up. In this instance you should choose email, then enter the name of the account - for example, John Smith - and its email address. Click Next.

Step 2