Outlook Express Spam Filter Tutorial

 Unsolicited Commercial Email, typically called Spam, continues to be a major problem on the Internet. Sandersville.Net has installed software on it's mail server that performs Spam flagging. Spam flagging differs from Spam filtering in that it marks messages suspected to be Spam but allows the end user to make the determination as to how to handle the message.

This is accomplished by comparing the messages against known sources of Spam and known Spam "keywords". The Anti-Spam software used by Sandersville.Net inserts the text "{Spam?}" into the Subject line of messages suspected of being Spam.

Many email clients provide for the filtering of incoming email based on a number of rules. Among the rules that can usually be applied is a rule to match the Subject of incoming messages against specified text. This tutorial describes how to configure Microsoft Outlook Express to filter incoming email for potential Spam. Other email clients offer similar functionality.

Before you begin, you must decide if you want to move the marked messages to a folder for later review or if you want to delete them straight away. The cautious approach is to move them to a folder so that if a "false positive" occurs, the message can be retrieved from the folder.

This tutorial assumes that you will create a folder, called "Spam" and move the offending messages to that folder. After reviewing the messages for false positives, you can easily delete the entire contents of the folder by highlighting a message in the folder, pressing [Ctrl-A] to select All messages in the folder. Pressing the Del key on the keyboard will delete the selected messages.

To create a folder, click
File | Folder | New...
as illustrated below.


When you click File | Folder | New... as decribed previously, you are presented with a dialog box. Enter a name for the folder you want to use to hold the Spam (i.e. "Spam".) Select the parent folder, if necessary.

After creating a folder to hold the Spam, you are ready to create a "Message Rule" to process the incoming email.  Select Tools | Message Rules | Mail...

If there are no Message Rules already defined, pressing Tools | Message Rules | Mail... as discussed will bring up the New Mail Rule dialogue box illustrated below.

If you already have some message rules in place, click New... in the Message Rules dialogue box to open the New Mail Rule dialogue box.

Click inside the option box to select the option that says "Where the Subject line contains specific words"

Now select the appropriate Action option. This tutorial recommends selecting the option "Move it to the specified folder". If you would rather delete the messages marked as Spam, select that option.

After selecting the Action option, click "contains specific words" in the Rule Description section of the New Mail Rule dialogue box.

After clicking "contains specific words", you will be presented with the "Type Specific Words" dialogue box. Enter the text "{Spam?}", without the quote marks. Be sure to use the curly brackets, not parentheses. Be sure to match the text exactly, including the "?". Then click Add. Then click OK.

After clicking OK on the previous dialogue box, you are returned to the New Mail Rule dialgue box. Click on the word specified in the phrase "Copy it to the specified folder". You will be presented with a Move dialogue box, as illustrated below.

Highlight the folder you created earlier, e.g. Spam, and click OK.

After you click OK on the Move dialgoue just described, you will be returned to the New Mail Rule dialogue box. You may, optionally, add a name for this message rule so that you can easily determine what it does without having to read it in detail (i.e. "SpamFilter".)

When you have completed this step, click OK.

After clicking OK to close the New Mail Rule dialogue box, you are presented with the the Message Rules dialogue box. Click OK to finish. Optionally, click Apply Now... to run the rule on existing messages.