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Plan for limiting junk e-mail in Outlook 2007

Updated: May 27, 2010

Applies To: Office Resource Kit

 

Topic Last Modified: 2010-05-21

Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 includes features that can help users avoid receiving and reading junk e-mail messages, including the Junk E-mail Filter and disabling automatic content download from external servers.

NoteNote:
This topic is for Outlook administrators. To configure Outlook junk e-mail options on your computer, see Junk E-mail Filter options.

The filtering manager helps users avoid reading junk e-mail messages. The filter is on by default and the protection level is set to Low, which is designed to filter the most obvious junk e-mail messages. The filter replaces the rules for processing junk e-mail messages in previous versions of Outlook (prior to Microsoft Outlook 2003). The filter incorporates technology built into the software to evaluate e-mail messages to determine if the messages are likely to be junk e-mail, in addition to filtering lists that automatically block or accept messages to or from specific senders.

Automatic picture download settings help reduce the risk of Web beacons activating in e-mail messages by automatically blocking the download of pictures, sounds, and other content from external servers in e-mail messages. Automatic content download is disabled by default. Configure junk e-mail settings in Outlook 2007 contains more information about configuring how external content is downloaded.

This topic discusses how the Outlook Junk E-mail Filter works, and how you can configure the Junk E-mail Filter to meet the needs of your organization. For example, you can configure the filter to be more aggressive, though this might also cause it to filter more legitimate messages. Rules that are not part of junk e-mail management are not affected.

The Junk E-mail Filter contains two parts:

  • Three Junk e-mail Filter lists: Safe Senders, Safe Recipients, and Blocked Senders.

  • State-of-the-art technology developed by Microsoft Research. This technology evaluates whether an unread message should be treated as junk e-mail based on several factors, including the message content and whether the sender is included in Junk E-mail Filter lists.

All settings for the Junk E-mail Filter are stored in each user's Outlook profile. You can override the profile settings by using policies for all options except the Junk E-mail Filter lists. However, you can create and deploy initial lists of Safe Senders, Safe Recipients, and Blocked Senders for your users.

The Junk E-mail Filter is provided for a subset of Outlook account types. The types are listed in the following section, Supported account types. The filter works best when it is used with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and later accounts, as described in detail later in this topic.

When Outlook users are upgraded to Office Outlook 2007 , existing Junk E-mail Filter lists are maintained, unless you deploy new lists to users.

Office Outlook 2007 supports junk e-mail filtering for the following account types:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail accounts in Cached Exchange Mode

  • Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail accounts when mail is delivered to a Personal Folders file (PST file)

  • HTTP accounts

  • POP accounts

  • MSN Hotmail accounts

  • IMAP accounts

The following account types are not supported for Outlook junk e-mail filtering:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail accounts in Online (MDB) mode

  • Third-party MAPI providers

Information about what junk e-mail filtering options are available with Exchange Server is included in the next section, Support in different versions of Exchange Server.

In scenarios in which POP e-mail messages are downloaded into an Exchange Online (MDB) mailbox, Outlook blocks junk e-mail messages for the user's POP e-mail; however, Outlook does not block Exchange Online junk e-mail messages.

Junk E-mail Filter behavior depends on the Exchange Server version you use for messaging. Later versions of Exchange Server support more filtering options than earlier versions do.

The following list details Junk E-mail Filter behavior with different versions of Exchange Server.

  • Versions earlier than Exchange Server 2003

    If users use Cached Exchange Mode or download to a Personal Folders file (PST file): Users can create and use the Junk E-mail Filter lists, which are available from any computer that users use.

    If users work online: The Junk E-mail Filter is not available.

  • Exchange Server 2003 and later versions of Exchange

    If users use Cached Exchange Mode or download to a PST file: The Junk E-mail Filter lists that are available from any computer are also used by the server to evaluate mail. This means that if a sender is on a user's Blocked Senders list, mail moves to the Junk E-mail folder on the server and is not evaluated by Office Outlook 2007. In addition, Office Outlook 2007 uses Microsoft Research technology to evaluate e-mail messages.

When a user's previous version of Outlook (earlier than Outlook 2003) is upgraded to Office Outlook 2007, the rules that previously handled junk e-mail messages are removed. The existing rules and files used by the old filter are not migrated. The existing rules are handled as follows:

  • Rules created by the old filter

    With the previous rules filter for junk e-mail messages, users could create up to three client-side rules for their mailbox: Adult Content Rule, Junk E-mail Rule, and Exception List.

    Outlook removes these rules from the user's mailbox when Outlook 2003 starts for the first time on the user's computer. This means that Outlook 2003 always disables the previous junk e-mail filter.

  • Files that contain the Adult Senders list and the Blocked Senders list

    These text files are left on the user's computer, but Outlook no longer uses the files.

You can specify several options to configure how the Junk E-mail Filter works for your users, including the following:

  • Set the Junk E-mail Filter protection level.

  • Permanently delete suspected junk e-mail messages or move the messages to the Junk E-mail folder.

  • Trust e-mail messages from users' Contacts.

The default values for the Junk E-mail Filter are designed to help provide a positive experience for users. However, you can configure these settings to different defaults and set other options and policies when you deploy Outlook to your organization, such as defining an alternative URL for the location of filter updates.

Junk e-mail settings are set only once. When the user first starts Outlook 2003, the settings are configured in the profile that the user chooses. Other profiles the user has, or may create later, do not include the settings that you have configured. Instead, default settings are used.

Default values for the Junk E-mail Filter settings are:

  • Junk E-mail: Set to LOW

  • Permanently delete: Set to OFF

  • Trust my Contacts: Set to ON

You can use the Office Customization Tool to configure these options to specify default values for users, or the options can be enforced by Group Policy. For more information about configuring options for the Junk E-mail Filter, see Configure junk e-mail settings in Outlook 2007.

You can deploy default Junk E-mail Filter lists to your users. The Junk E-mail Filter uses these lists as follows:

  • Safe Senders list

    E-mail messages received from the e-mail addresses in the list or from any e-mail address that includes a domain name in the list are never treated as junk e-mail.

  • Safe Recipients list

    E-mail messages sent to the e-mail addresses in the list or to any e-mail address that includes a domain name in the list are never treated as junk e-mail.

  • Blocked Senders list

    E-mail messages received from the e-mail addresses in the list or from any e-mail address that includes a domain name in the list are always treated as junk e-mail.

If a domain name or e-mail address is on both the Blocked Senders list and the Safe Senders list, the Safe Senders list takes precedence over the Blocked Senders list. This reduces the risk that mail that users want might be treated as junk e-mail by mistake. The lists are stored on the server and are available if users roam.

To deploy the Junk E-mail Filter lists, you create the lists on a test computer and distribute the lists to your users. The lists you provide are default lists; they cannot be locked down by policy. For more information about deploying default lists, see Create and deploy Junk E-mail Filter lists in Outlook 2007.

This topic is included in the following downloadable books for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Office Resource Kit information.

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