Setting up Message Rules in Outlook Express

Setting up a Deletion Filter....

On the Outlook Express top-line menu, select Tools > Message Rules > Mail...

Place checks in the "Where the Subject line contains specific words" and the "Delete it" OR "Delete it from server" (See Note below) checkboxes in this window, then click on the "contains specific words" link in section 3 to open the next window.

Note: A word about the difference between selecting "Delete it" and "Delete it from server" in section 2 of the above window....

DELETE IT - This choice will cause all messages to be downloaded from the email server to your computer in their entirety when you check for new mail, at which time the messages that fall within the filtering criteria will be placed in your Outlook Express Deleted Items folder.

  • Advantage: You have a chance to view the contents of the Deleted Items folder before emptying it. This allows you to retrieve a legitimate email that might have arrived with enough asterisks in the Subject line to get it deleted.
  • Disadvantage: If you routinely receive a lot of spams you will have to wait while they all download from the server, only to be moved into your Deleted Items folder to await your deletion of them when you empty that folder.

DELETE IT FROM SERVER - This choice will cause only the Headers of all messages to initially be downloaded from the email server to your computer when you check for new mail, at which time the headers will be scanned by your Message Rules. Then, only those messages that are allowed according to your Message Rules will be downloaded in their entirety from the email server. The rest will be deleted from the server and never downloaded to your computer.

  • Advantage: If you routinely receive a log of spams you will not have to wait while they all download from the server. This will speed up the checking for new mail process.
  • Disadvantage: Any messages that are selected for deletion will never be seen and are irretrievable. You will not have any opportunity to check to see if any legitimate emails were included in the deleted batch.

You may want to select "Delete it" initially to see how things go. Any legitimate emails that end up in your Deleted Items folder could then be corrected by either adding their addresses to your Exceptions rule or by increasing the number of asterisks in your Deletion rule to make it less restrictive. Once you have things fine-tuned, you could change the selection to "Delete it from the server".

Type "Spam:****" (four asterisks - without including the quotes) on the indicated line and click the Add button. Note that you should select the number of asterisks based upon your legitimate emails. If you never receive legitimate emails with more than two asterisks, for example, then you could use "Spam:***" (three asterisks) instead of four.

Click OK to save your input.

Before clicking OK here, set the Name of the rule to reflect the number of asterisks that you entered in the previous step, then click OK.

You now have a Message Rule set up that will delete any incoming emails with Subject lines containing "Spam:" plus the number of asterisks that you have specified. Your next step, if necessary, is to set up an Exception rule for any legitimate emails that you normally receive that contain more than your specified number of asterisks in the Subject line. To do that, click the New button on the above window and continue below.

Setting up Exceptions to your Deletion Filter....

Your Exceptions will be based upon the From address of emails that you receive, so place checks in the "Where the From line contains people" and "Stop processing more rules" checkboxes, then click on the "contains people" link in section 3 to open the next window.

To manually add an address, type the address in the input line and click the Add button.

You can also add addresses to your Exceptions list from your Address Book. Clicking the Address Book button will open up the following window.

Click on addresses on the left side to highlight them, then click the From button to add them to your Rule Address list. When you have finished adding addresses to the list, click the OK button to return to the Select People window.

Once you have finished adding addresses that will be excepted from deletion, click the OK button.

Now that you have created your Exceptions rule, click OK to save your Exceptions rule and return to the Message Rules window.

The final step is to move your Exceptions Rule AHEAD of your Deletion Rule. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! To do this, click on your Exceptions Rule to highlight it, then click the "Move Up" button to move it above your Deletion Rule in the list of rules. Since multiple Message Rules are processed in order, this will allow the Exceptions to be processed before any deletions take place.

When done, click the OK button to save your Message Rules.

Return to Spam Filtering Information page.