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Centralizing Junk Email Folder Administration

Alexander Zammit

Alexander Zammit Photo

Alexander Zammit has been developing server applications for over 15 years. Most of his works involve Exchange integrated applications, including a FAX server, a mail security product and anti-spam products.

  • Published: Jul 28, 2005
  • Category: Anti-Spam
  • Votes: 5.0 out of 5 - 3 Votes
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Each Exchange mailbox has its own Junk Email configuration settings. Administering multiple mailboxes, setting a consistent configuration, quickly becomes challenging. We need tools to centrally administer these settings.

Filtering SPAM to the Junk Email folder enables users to maintain focus on their Inbox. Emails still reach their destination but the final separation minimizes the disruption caused by SPAM.

Indeed the Junk Email folder offers a nice decentralized SPAM filtering solution. End recipients have the opportunity to check for misclassified emails relieving the administrator from such a burden. Each user can further setup Safe Senders, Safe Recipients and Blocked Senders lists customizing filtering based on their needs.

Decentralized solutions bring with them administrative challenges. One can expect (or maybe hope) that users keep an eye on their Junk Email folder. Beyond that Administrators have to take care for the proper system configuration and maintenance. With per mailbox settings this task becomes more difficult.

This article is the third in a series. In Bringing Together the Exchange Anti-SPAM Cocktail we identified the different anti-SPAM filtering layers distributed between Exchange 2003 and Outlook 2003. In Enabling/Disabling the Junk Email Folder we looked into the reasons why Junk Email enablement/disablement is tricky. Today we look into applications and scripts useful in administering the Junk Email folder. Specifically we are interested in having a means to centrally enable/disable the delivery of emails to this folder.

Choosing the Right Tools

With two different Junk Email enablement mechanisms, the first step is to identify the settings to be modified. If we go using these tools blindly we risk to be modifying the wrong setting and thus get the impression that "it doesn't work". This was amply discussed in the previous articles.

Hence we need to choose one of the following two:

  1. The Junk Email folder for the server-side Intelligent Message Filter.
  2. The Junk Email folder for the client-side Outlook 2003 anti-SPAM filter.

Hereafter I will refer to the first case as server-side filtering and the second as client-side filtering.

Managing Server-Side Junk Email Filtering

We start by looking at the resources available to manage the server-side Junk email filtering. These are the settings which mailbox users would normally access through Outlook Web Access.

Outlook Web Access Web Administration

Outlook Web Access Web Administration is available from the Microsoft Download Center. It provides an administrative interface to OWA including its Junk Email functionality. The tool is an ASP.NET application requiring.NET v1.1 and IIS.

The following is the main application page showing the various configuration categories. Here I am highlighting the categories containing settings related to Junk Email management.

Outlook Web Access Web Administration

Selecting the 'Junk E-Mail' category will show various limits for the Safe Senders/Recipients and Blocked Senders functionality.

Junk E-Mail Handling

Going back to the main page and selecting the 'Server-wide feature support' category exposes another Junk Email management option. Right at the bottom you will find the 'Junk E-mail filtering' checkbox. Through it, you may disable and hide the Junk Email functionality altogether.

Server-wide feature support

Clear this check-box, save changes and login to a mailbox through OWA. You will see that the Junk Email settings are gone. This effectively disables delivery to the Junk Email folder for server-side filtering.

OWA Junk Email Options

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