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Plan for limiting junk e-mail in Outlook 2010

Published: May 16, 2012

Learn how the Outlook 2010 Junk E-mail Filter works and which settings you can configure for it and for Automatic Picture Download.

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This article is for IT Professionals. If you’re not an IT Professional, but you want to learn more about how to configure Outlook junk e-mail options on your computer, see Overview of the Junk Email Filter (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=231278).

In this article:

Overview

Microsoft Outlook 2010 includes features that can help users avoid receiving and reading junk e-mail messages. These include the Junk E-mail Filter and the ability to disable automatic content download from external servers.

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. By default, automatic content download is disabled.

note Note:

Outlook 2010 automatically saves active content that you choose to download from the Internet. Like Office Outlook 2007 and earlier versions, Outlook 2010 prompts you before it downloads active content that can serve as a Web beacon. However, unlike Office Outlook 2007 and earlier versions, when you close the item, you are not prompted to save the changes. Instead, the downloaded content is automatically saved.

The Junk E-mail Filter helps users avoid reading junk e-mail messages. By default, the filter is turned on, 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 (before Microsoft Office Outlook 2003). The filter incorporates technology built into the software to evaluate e-mail messages to determine whether 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.

The Junk E-mail Filter contains two parts:

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

  • The Junk E-mail Filter that evaluates whether an unread message should be treated as junk e-mail based on several factors that include 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 Group Policy or set default Junk E-mail Filter configurations by using the Office Customization Tool (OCT).

The Junk E-mail Filter is provided for a subset of Outlook 2010 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 versions. Note that Exchange Server 2003 is the earliest version of Exchange Server that can be used with Outlook 2010.

When Outlook users are upgraded to Outlook 2010, existing Junk E-mail Filter lists are maintained, unless you deploy new lists to users.

Supported account types

Outlook 2010 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 Outlook Data File (.pst)

  • HTTP accounts

  • POP accounts

  • Windows Live Hotmail accounts

  • IMAP accounts

The following account types are not supported for the Outlook 2010 Junk E-mail Filter:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail accounts in Online mode

  • Third-party MAPI providers

Support in Exchange Server

If users use Cached Exchange Mode or download to a personal Outlook Data File (.pst), 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 a member of a user's Blocked Senders list, mail from that sender moves to the Junk E-mail folder on the server and is not evaluated by Outlook 2010. In addition, Outlook 2010 uses the Junk E-mail Filter to evaluate e-mail messages.

Configuring the Junk E-mail Filter user interface

You can specify several options to configure how the Junk E-mail Filter works for your users. These include 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 2010 to your organization.

Junk e-mail settings are set only one time. When the user first starts Outlook 2010, the settings are configured in the profile that the user selects. 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 as follows:

  • Junk E-mail protection level: Set to LOW

  • Permanently delete Junk E-mail: Set to OFF

  • Trust E-mail from Contacts: Set to OFF

You can use the OCT to configure these options to specify default values for users, or the options can be enforced by Group Policy. For information about how to configure options for the Junk E-mail Filter, see Configure junk e-mail settings in Outlook 2010.

Important Important:

You can configure the following settings for the Outlook 2010 Junk E-mail filter. In the OCT, on the Modify user settings page, these settings are under Microsoft Outlook 2010\Outlook Options\Preferences\Junk E-mail. In Group Policy, these settings are under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Outlook 2010\Outlook Options\Preferences\Junk E-mail.

Junk e-mail option Description

Add e-mail recipients to users' Safe Senders Lists

Automatically add all e-mail recipients to users' Safe Senders Lists.

Hide Junk Mail UI

In Group Policy, disable junk e-mail filtering and hide related settings in Outlook.

Hide warnings about suspicious domain names in e-mail addresses

Enable to hide warnings about suspicious domain names in the e-mail addresses.

Junk Mail Import List

Option in the OCT. You must enable this setting to enable other junk e-mail settings configured in the OCT or in Group Policy.

Junk E-mail protection level

Select the level of junk e-mail protection for users: No Protection, Low, High, Trusted Lists Only.

Overwrite or Append Junk Mail Import List

Change default from overwrite Junk Mail Import list to append to the list.

Permanently delete Junk E-mail

Permanently delete suspected junk e-mail instead of moving it to the Junk E-mail folder.

Specify path to Blocked Senders list

Specify a text file that contains a list of e-mail addresses to append to or overwrite the Blocked Senders list.

Specify path to Safe Recipients list

Specify a text file that contains a list of e-mail addresses to append to or overwrite the Safe Recipients list.

Specify path to Safe Senders list

Specify a text file that contains a list of e-mail addresses to append to or overwrite the Safe Senders list.

Trust E-mail from Contacts

Trust e-mail addresses included in users' Contacts folders.

Deploying default Junk E-mail Filter lists

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 that were 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 that were 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 a member of 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 Exchange 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. You can distribute the lists by putting the lists on a network share, or if you have remote users not connected to the domain, you can use the OCT to add the files by using the Add files option. The lists that you provide are default lists. If you deploy the lists by using Group Policy, users can change the lists during their Outlook session. When users restart Outlook, Group Policy will append the list by default or, if you have enabled Overwrite or Append Junk Mail Import List, their changes will be overwritten with the original list that you deployed. For information about how to create and deploy default lists, see Configure junk e-mail settings in Outlook 2010.

Configuring Automatic picture download

Messages in HTML format often include pictures or sounds. Sometimes these pictures or sounds are not included in the message, but are instead downloaded from a Web server when the e-mail message is opened or previewed. This is typically done by legitimate senders to avoid sending extra-large messages.

However, junk e-mail senders can use a link to content on external servers to include a Web beacon in e-mail messages, which notifies the Web server when users read or preview the message. The Web beacon notification validates the user's e-mail address to the junk e-mail sender, which can result in more junk e-mail being sent to the user.

This feature, to not automatically download pictures or other content, can also help users avoid viewing potentially offensive material (for external content linked to the message) and, if they are on a low bandwidth connection, to decide whether an image warrants the time and bandwidth to download it. Users can view the blocked pictures or content in a message by clicking the InfoBar under the message header or by right-clicking the blocked image.

By default, Outlook 2010 does not download pictures or other content automatically, except when the external content comes from a Web site in the Trusted Sites zone, or from an address or domain specified in the Safe Senders List. You can change this behavior so that content from any of the zones (Trusted Sites, Local Intranet, and Internet) will be downloaded automatically or blocked automatically.

You can configure the following settings for automatic picture download. In the OCT, on the Modify user settings page, these settings are under Microsoft Outlook 2010\Security\Automatic Picture Download Settings. In Group Policy, these settings are under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Outlook 2010\Security\Automatic Picture Download Settings.

Automatic picture download option Description

Automatically download content for e-mail from people in Safe Senders and Safe Recipients lists

Enable this option to automatically download content when e-mail message is from someone in the user's Safe Senders list or to someone in the user's Safe Recipients list.

Block Trusted Zones

Disable this option to include Trusted Zones in the Safe Zones for Automatic Picture Download.

Display pictures and external content in HTML e-mail

Enable this option to automatically display external content in HTML mail.

Do not permit download of content from safe zones

Disable this option to automatically download content for sites in Safe Zones (as defined by Trusted Zones, Internet, and Intranet settings).

Include Internet in Safe Zones for Automatic Picture Download

Automatically download pictures for all Internet e-mail.

Include Intranet in Safe Zones for Automatic Picture Download

Automatically download pictures for all Intranet e-mail

For information about how to configure automatic picture download, see Configure junk e-mail settings in Outlook 2010.

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