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11/17/2017 2:35:34 PM

Using Outlook Express Message Rules
to Control Spam (junk mail)

The Message Rules that are built into Outlook Express and Outlook are highly customizeable filters that can be configured to filter out spam (junkmail), direct certain messages into specific folders, etc. This document focuses on filtering out spam.

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  1. Open Outlook Express from your Windows Desktop or from your Start menu.
  2. Make sure you have the latest version of Internet Explorer (includes Outlook Express) by going to Microsoft's Windows Update site. Updates on that site are free.
  3. From within Outlook Express, right-click on Inbox or Local Folders and choose New Folder...
    Name the new folder Spam (or Junkmail, etc.) and click OK. New Folder
  4. Click on Tools then Message Rules then Mail...
  5. Click on the New button on the right. If this is you're first time configuring Message Rules, it may automatically go into the New Mail Rule window.
  6. New Mail Rule
    The New Mail Rule window displays an extensive list of conditions, actions, descriptions, and the name of the rule. New Mail Rule (blank)
  7. New Mail Rule - Configure the conditions, actions to take, and the name of the rule
    The following is a listing of preliminary examples. You can pick any options that you feel are appropriate.
    1. Select the Conditions for your rule:
    • Where the From line contains people
    • Where the Subject line contains specific words
    2. Select the Actions for your rule:
    Note: Do not select Delete it from server unless you are confident your filtering parameters are set correctly or you may accidentally auto-delete legitimate messages.
    • Move it to the specified folder
    • Stop processing more rules
    3. Rule Description:
    Using the above-listed example options, the following will be displayed until you actually set the criteria by clicking on the highlighted words in the window:
    • Apply this rule after the message arrives
    • Where the From line contains people
    • and Where the Subject line contains specific words
    • Move it to the specified folder
    • and Stop processing more rules
    4. Name of the rule: Give the new rule a name (e.g.: Spam or Junkmail, etc.)
    • Spam
    New Mail Rule (blank)
  8. New Mail Rule - Configure the descriptions (words to look for, etc.)
    3. Rule Description:
    Click on each of the highlighted words in the window to set the actual words, etc. to look for. The following are merely examples--you should customize this however you see fit. Information about each set of details is further below.
    • Apply this rule after the message arrives
    • Where the From line contains 'Annoying Joe' or 'someoneelse@whatever.com'
      or Where the Subject line contains 'printer supplies' or 'make money'
      Move it to the Spam folder
      and Stop processing more rules
    Notes about the various criteria in the above example:
    • Where the From line contains...
      If you choose to use this "condition," you can enter in email addresses of people you frequently get spam from. You can also use names instead of email addresses. If you get frequent spam from a particular name such as "Annoying Joe", you can use that instead of an email address. After entering in each email address and/or name, click the Add button. Select People
    • and / or
      If you choose multiple conditions such as Where the From line contains people and Where the Subject line contains specific words, you will see "and" or "or" appear between these conditions. Click on this highlighted word to select the appropriate setting. And (Messages match all of the criteria) may be too restrictive; or (Messages match any one of the criteria) is usually more appropriate when dealing with spam control. And/Or
    • Where the Subject line contains...
      If you choose to use this condition, you can enter in various words and phrases. After entering in each word/phrase, click the Add button. Type Specific Words
    • Move it to the specified folder
      Select a folder to put the spam into. Move
  9. New Mail Rule - complete
    After setting the above parameters, you should see the complete listing in the Rule Description area. New Mail Rule (blank)
  10. When you're finished setting the parameters, click OK.
    Now, any new messages that match your criteria will automatically be placed in the Spam folder.
  11. Check the contents of this folder periodically to make sure that you're not accidentally filtering out legitimate mail. If you are, you'll have to modify your rule to be a little more accurate. For example, if you have received spam in the past that contained the word "girls" in the subject line and you set the above criteria to filter out messages that contained that word, it would also filter out messages with the phrase "girlscout cookies" in the subject line and that may not be spam.
  12. After you've determined that your filtering is working out well, you should later change this "Action" to Delete it from server. That way, you never even see the spam because it's removed from the server without ever being transferred to your computer.