How to manage Spam with a POP3 account in Outlook 2003

Managing Spam with a POP3 account in Outlook 2003 can be done in a number of ways that can include responding to headers added at the server in addition to using Outlooks built in Junk Mail processor. Both techniques are presented here and tied together with "Rules" which facilitate moving the messages and setup of "archiving" to automatically delete old Spam. This tutorial is meant to serve as an example - individual users can customize the setup to reflect their individual requirements.

Adding a rule to move the mail

Adding a rule like this depends on server side Spam filtering to add the header text we will search for. Ensure you have either turned on this feature yourself or requested your account manager to enable it for you prior to attempting this process.

Use the menu "Tools => Rules and Alerts".

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Click the "New Rule" button.

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Select "Start from a blank rule", select "Check messages when they arrive", and press the "Next" button.

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Check "with specific words in the message header"...

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and then click on the "specific words" link.

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The word to search for is a word the Spam filter adds when processing a message. It is comprised of a header name (the part preceding the colon) followed by a space and a number of stars. The number of stars is entered important - any message having at least the number of stars you enter (or more) will be detected as Spam.

Increase the number of stars if you have too many messages falsely detected, or add the senders to an exception list (detailed later) or alternatively contact them with information on why their mail is being detected as spam.

Decrease the number of stars if you have too many Spam messages slipping through without detection. If you notice a pattern with either false positives (real messages detected as Spam) or false negatives (real Spam not detected) contact your account manager with details which may help us improve your filtering service.

A suggested default for the number of stars is either 4 (****) or 5 (*****). Enter this as in the example - note there is a space following the colon - it is important to be exact when entering this pattern - there is no space following the last star. When finished, press the "Add" button.

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Press the "OK" button to continue.

 

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Press the "Next" button to continue.

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Deciding what to do with Spam

When your Outlook identifies messages which are flagged as Spam it has to take some action on them. Here is where you decide what it should do. You have many options, including deleting them (moving them to Trash), deleting them permanently (erasing all trace of them), moving them to a folder, etc. Many people choose to handle messages differently, and you always have the option of handling certain messages differently from others - examples of this would include making a second rule to delete all messages with 10 or more stars.

In this example, we choose to deliver the Spam to the Outlook Junk-Mail folder. This facilitates teaming server side mail scanning with Outlook's own built in scanning, although you may decide to use this solution exclusively or opt to use only Outlook's internal scanner.

To continue, check the "move it to the specified folder" option:

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Click the "specified" link.

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Choose the "Junk E-Mail" folder and press the "OK" button.

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Press the "Next" button to continue.

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Exceptions to the rule

Now that you are taking some action on your Spam messages you may want to opt for some exceptions to these new rules. One useful exception we find is to exempt senders listed in your address book from the action specified.

Check "except if sender is in specified address book".

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Click the "specified" link

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Select the desired address book and press "OK".

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Press the "Next" button to continue.

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Select any "last minute" options.

You could opt to re-process your entire Inbox (this could add significantly to the time it takes to finish this task and is useless unless you have a very dirty inbox where much of the mail has been collected after enabling the server side Spam filtering).

You could also leave the rule complete, but turn it off by unchecking the "Turn on this rule" check box.

Press Finish.

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Rules can be edited at a later time to change any part of the rule - actions for example, or to temporarily disable them, or copy them and make modified rules (in this case, run order is important - for example, run your "8 star" rule before your "4 star" rule).

Press "OK" to close this window.

Remember to review the separate HowTos that cover configuring Outlook's Junk Mail Filter and configuring the folder options on Junk E-mail.

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