Dealing with spam in Outlook
August 19, 2004 11:37 PM   Subscribe

I've had to give up Thunderbird and start using Outlook 2002 (in order to sync my calendar and tasks with my phone and pda) and now my workflow is being bogged down by spam. Help me inside...

I have 3 questions:
1. How does the outlook junk filter work compared to thunderbirds (which i loved) i cant seem to find any workthroughs via google?
2. How do i set up the junk filter to maximise its effect?
3. Is it true that previewing spam will activate web-bugs even though i have set the zone to restricted?
posted by FidelDonson to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Can you run SpamAssassin on your mail server? I recall that Outlook has terrible junk filters.
posted by cmonkey at 12:33 AM on August 20, 2004

Response by poster: Nope - i have no acces to it
posted by FidelDonson at 12:58 AM on August 20, 2004

  1. Badly
  2. I use SpamBayes instead - seems to work pretty well
  3. Sometimes... Turn off the preview pane if you're worried (View/Preview Pane)

posted by monkey closet at 1:03 AM on August 20, 2004

SpamBayes is great. Even though I switched to T-bird for my personal mail, I found that SpamBayes worked much, much better on catching spam. I'm actually considering going back to Outlook for all my mail, not just work, for exactly that reason.
posted by LairBob at 4:27 AM on August 20, 2004

Response by poster: It seems very nice and unobtusive - ive just installed it and i am impatiently waiting for my first piece of spam to train it with.
posted by FidelDonson at 4:42 AM on August 20, 2004

POPFile is all you will ever need.

Since November, 2003, POPFile has filtered 12,532 pieces of e-mail coming into my "public" account (5,980 of which were spam, by the way) with an accuracy rate of 99.48%.

It takes a while to teach/train POPFile but the interface is user-friendly and the small time investment is well worth it. Precious little gets through these days and it even quarantines spam messages so I can safely check the spam folder for legitimate e-mails.

Nothing but praise for POPFile.

Sorry that I did not address your specific questions about Outlook 2002, FidelDonson, but I think that installing POPFile will take care of your spam problem so you can concentrate on your work.

posted by cup at 5:51 AM on August 20, 2004

1. Badly.
2. You can't, it's worthless. Try Spammunition. It's no longer under active development, but it already works fine and is free.
3. Yes. Outlook/IE security setting doesn't affect the loading of images (which I think is incredibly stupid). If you have the preview pane turned on, you are confirming your address to spammers.
posted by majick at 6:32 AM on August 20, 2004

Ah, 6000 spam since Nov 2003? A dream! I get 500-1000 spams a day (the sad side effect of having the same email since the trusting days of 1995).

Outlook 2003's Spam Filter is not bad at all. Outlook 2002 on the other hand, DOES NOT have one as far as I've ever heard. Which might be why you aren't having any luck.

Anyway, like I said, Outlook 2003's junk filter is pretty okay. They've updated it a couple times, and it does the job for me fairly well. That said, I use a tiered approach, with Spam Assassin on my mail server tagging. The combination is what really works for me, but Outlook's spam filter is definitely doing it's share of the work.

You might consider an upgrade, Outlook 2003 has some other nice features (in fact, it was the version that finally got me to drop Eudora). I wouldn't use it alone, but I'm a big fan of the combined arms approach to spam killing.

The smartest feature being HTML emails NOT downloading images by default (you have to click to download if you want them). This is relevant because image downloads are how spammers track if you've opened the email, even for a second in preview. Blocking the downloads means you never get tracked and confirmed as someone who saw their crap.

On Preview: Majick: the no image download is the default config on Outlook 2003.
posted by malphigian at 6:39 AM on August 20, 2004

I agree with malphigian, Outlook 2003's built in spam filter is decent.
posted by riffola at 9:06 AM on August 20, 2004

I've got Outlook 2003, and it's decent for "Junk", but it's not Bayesian (or if it is, it's not all that great). SpamBayes works a thousand times better for me.

cup, regarding PopFile, that was my absolute favorite spam/filtering app for about 3 months, and then it just _stopped_ working on me. All of a sudden, couldn't talk to any POP servers any more, and after 4 updates and uninstall/re-installs, I just gave up.

Also, it's important to note that you manage/train POPFile via a Web page, which is OK, but SpamBayes has an add-in that integrates directly into Outlook. That means that all you have to do is move messages around in Outlook, and it trains the Bayesian engine automatically. I missed that when I was using POPFile.
posted by LairBob at 3:48 PM on August 20, 2004

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