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Setting up Email Spam Filters using Outlook Express

The following is a summary for using message rules to help manage SPAM by sorting incoming Email using Outlook Express. Note: If you are using Microsoft Outlook (NOT Express), the two programs are very different so click here to see the correct instructions.

This example is done using Outlook Express 6. Your procedure may vary due to version differences. The most current version of Outlook Express is included with the most current version of Internet Explorer. Click here to download.

For the example I will use the following address: AccountA@Berkshire.Net

The first step is to create a folder to collect "Spam" or "Junk" Email that has not been addressed directly to you. The majority of SPAM being sent is sent using a method known as BCC or Blind Carbon Copy. This means that it is being sent to person A while not showing person A's Email address. We can take advantage of this to create a rule that will automatically put Email not addressed to you into a folder of your choice, while leaving anything else in Inbox. When you check your Email, you will quickly be able to see what Emails are actually addressed to you. The following section will show you how to create a rule to do this.

First click on the existing folder you would like to create the new folder in. For example, 'Local Folders' or 'Inbox'. Then click 'File' from the upper left of the Outlook Express window. Then click once on 'New' and select 'Folder' from the pop-up menu on the right. Type in the name for the new folder. For this example we will use folder 'SPAM' as the new folder's name.

Now to create the rule.

Click 'Tools' from the top of Outlook Express, select 'Message rules', and then 'Mail'.

As this is your first Message Rule, you will be given a 'New Rule' window. The rule we will setup will be used to place any Email NOT addressed to AccountA@Berkshire.Net into the 'SPAM' folder we just created.

- First you select the Conditions that will activate the rule. In this case you need to scroll down until you can select 'Where the To or CC line contains people'.

- Now we need to choose the Action to take once the condition was triggered. Select 'Move it to the specified folder'.

-The third part is to give the rule the specific information it needs for the items we selected above. In the rule description area, click the first blue lettered listing which is labeled 'contains people' listing. With the 'Select People' window that just opened, type in your first Email address. After typing in the address, click the 'Add' button, and your Email address will appear in the box below.

NOTE: If you have domain/website email such as, enter that email address in this step as well. Any additional email accounts you have set up on your computer, it is important to add them all to this filter. After entering the first email address, simply type in the second email address and click 'Add' again.

Now click 'Options' and choose to Apply rule if: 'Message does not contain the people below.'

Click 'OK', then 'OK' again.

Now that we are back to the 'New Mail Rule' window, select the blue lettered word, 'specified', in the 'Move it to ...' line. Now select the folder you created for your first address and then select 'OK'.

- Now change '4. Name of the rule' to the name of your folder you used (or to something such as 'SPAM Filter') and click 'OK'.

Your filter should now look like this.

You will now see a 'Message Rules' window. It shows any rules you may have created, and if you select a rule it will show you the description for that rule. For our example we would see:

If you currently have a lot of Junk Mail in your Inbox, click 'Apply Now' to move all mail not addressed to you from the Inbox into the new SPAM folder.

Otherwise, click 'OK' to finish.

The above system will help distinguish E-mails that have been sent directly to you, from most of the SPAM. WARNING - there is a possibility that messages you do want to read could be moved to the SPAM folder. You may want to check the messages in the SPAM folder on occasion to see if you did actually want one or more of them. You should find that there are few that fall into this category, such as mailing lists you intentionally subscribed to. Additional filters can be set up to organize those as well.

Now that you have a feel of how a message rule is created, you can create others. You can have several active rules on your mail program. Here are some ideas for other message rules:

  • Where the subject contains MORTGAGE move it to the Deleted Items folder.

  • Where the from line contains SOMEONE@WHATEVER.COM move it to the specified folder (i.e. To separate mail from your family, friends, or business)

  • Where the message body contains 'OFFENSIVE WORDS' move it to the Deleted Items folder.

  • If you have multiple e-mail accounts set up on the same computer:
    Where the To or CC line contains move it to Folder1.
    Where the To or CC line contains move it to Folder2.


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