WinDeveloper IMF Tune

WinDeveloper IMF Tune
WinDeveloper IMF Tune

Enabling/Disabling the Junk Email Folder

Alexander Zammit

Alexander Zammit Photo

A Software Development Consultant with over 20 years of experience. Many of his projects involved Exchange integrated applications, including a FAX server, a mail security product and anti-spam products.

  • Published: Jul 06, 2005
  • Category: Anti-Spam
  • Votes: 4.2 out of 5 - 15 Votes
Cast your Vote
Poor Excellent

Enabling/disabling the Junk Email folder can become tricky. Some Administrators complain that emails remain unfiltered despite enabling it. Others who want it disabled claim that emails are still being filtered. Today we search for the reasons behind this confusion.

Enabling Junk Email through Outlook 2003

  1. Open Outlook and select Tools | Options

  2. On the Preferences property sheet click on the Junk E-mail button.

    Outlook 2003 Options

  3. In the Options property sheet of the dialog that opens you can set the level of junk email protection to Low, High or Safe Lists Only.

    Outlook 2003 Enable Junk Email

  4. Click on OK twice to close the Junk E-mail Options and Options dialogs and save changes.

Differences between Junk Email Enablement Mechanisms

A very typical problem is to have the Junk Email folder apparently disabled but still receiving filtered emails. Conversely you can find cases where despite being enabled, SPAM goes to the Inbox instead of the Junk folder. This is what happens when the wrong enablement mechanism is used.

The fact is that the Outlook and OWA interfaces enable different functionality. To understand this point you must first have a clear understanding of the four anti-SPAM protection layers provided by Exchange and Outlook. If you still haven't read my article Bringing Together the Exchange Anti-SPAM Cocktail then you should do it now.

Outlook 2003 enables the client side anti-SPAM filter. This is the anti-SPAM technology available to all Outlook 2003 users independently of whether or not they are using Exchange 2003.

OWA enables Junk Email folder delivery for the server side anti-SPAM layers. This filtering capability is available to Exchange 2003 users independently of the Outlook client version in use. OWA enables filtering to Junk Email folder for the Intelligent Message Filter but Outlook 2003 does not. Actually this is not 100% true and I will get back to this in a moment.

So what this means is that if you are using the Intelligent Message Filter, maybe with extensions such as IMF Tune, then OWA is the correct enablement interface. On the other hand, if you are relying on client side filtering, then Outlook 2003 enablement is the correct way forward.

Finally there is also an area of overlap! Both Outlook 2003 and Exchange support Safe Senders, Safe Recipients and Blocked Senders lists. The lists themselves are shared. Thus any changes you do at Outlook will appear at OWA and vice-versa. Still under the hood these are processed at two different filtering stages. This is good as it gives a consistent experience at least as far as these lists are concerned. Still it does help to reinforce the miss-conception that Junk Email enablement at OWA is the same as that as Outlook 2003.

Outlook 2003 Default Settings

A client of mine is running Exchange 2003 with the Exchange Intelligent Message Filter and Outlook 2003. He is happy with IMF and doesn't care about client side filtering. Hence he never applies the Outlook filter updates. No one ever uses OWA so it is certain that no one ever enabled Junk Email through it. Nevertheless the system works like a charm!

Outlook 2003 on connecting first time to a mailbox enables Junk Email for both client and server filtering. This is really the only case where Outlook manipulates the setting available through OWA (as far as I know).

In this manner Outlook 2003 gets Junk Email enablement by default also for the Exchange server side filtering. Still when it comes to disabling it one has to go through the OWA interface! Disabling it through Outlook will have no effect if IMF is in use.

Managing Junk Email Enablement

This really brings us to another question. With per mailbox enablement there is clearly an administrative problem. We need something for the administrator to centrally enable/disable Junk Email. I will be discussing this point in another article, so stay tuned to through our RSS feed



Bringing Together the Exchange Anti-SPAM Cocktail

User Comments - Page 1 of 1

Add New Comment...

murdy 18 Jun 2009 08:28
I find when this happens the only way to move it back is through Outlook Web Access.
Alexander Zammit 6 Jan 2009 02:36
Check if it moved to the your Deleted Items Folder. If this is the case you can move it back by logging on to the mailbox using same Outlook version earlier than 2003.
bla 5 Jan 2009 21:38
Mysteriously my junk email folder is gone.
I have outlook 2003.
Also, the Junk email button doesn't appear under the:
option window;preference tab; alongside email options.
Any idea how to re-install it?
Copyright © 2005 - 2021 All rights reserved. is not affiliated with Microsoft Corporation