Changing the Junk E-Mail Settings in Outlook 2007

Outlook 2007 includes a filtering system that looks over all your incoming mail and automatically moves anything that looks like junk e-mail (also known as spam) to a special folder called, um, Junk E-mail. You can delete everything that gets moved to your Junk E-mail folder now and again — after checking to make sure Outlook didn't mistakenly move real e-mail to your Junk E-mail folder.

No machine is perfect, and no program that runs on a machine is perfect. However Outlook figures out which messages are junk and which are real, some junk e-mail still gets through. And, every once in awhile, Outlook dumps items from real people into its Junk E-mail folder.

You don't need to do anything to turn on Junk E-mail filtering in Outlook. The program already guards against junk e-mail the first time you start it up; however, the protection level is set at Low.

If you feel that Outlook moves too many incoming messages — or too few — to the Junk E-mail folder, you can adjust Outlook's sensitivity to suit your taste by changing the Junk E-mail settings.

To adjust Outlook's Junk E-mail settings, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Actions --> Junk E-mail --> Junk E-mail Options.

    The Junk E-mail Options dialog box appears with the Options tab on top.

  2. Click the option you prefer.

  3. The circle next to the option you click darkens to show what you've selected. The options that Outlook offers you include

    • No protection: At this setting, every sleazy message goes right to your Inbox, unchallenged. If that's your cup of tea, fine. Most people want a little more filtering.

    • Low: The junkiest of the junk gets moved, but a lot of nasty stuff still gets through.

    • High: This setting is aggressive enough that you can expect to see a certain amount of legitimate e-mail end up in the Junk E-mail folder.

      If you choose this setting, be sure to check your Junk E-mail folder from time to time to be sure that important messages don't get trashed by mistake.

    • Safe Lists only: This setting moves all messages out of your Inbox except for the ones from people or companies that you designate in your Safe Senders lists.

      Also, the check boxes at the bottom of the Options tab offer you a range of other choices:

    • Permanently Delete Suspected Junk E-mail: This setting might be a bit too aggressive. No one's designed the perfect Junk E-mail filter yet, so you probably want to push junk messages over to the Junk E-mail folder and check the contents every now and then before emptying the folder. On the other hand, you may work in a company that limits the amount of e-mail you're allowed to store, and the messages in your Junk E-mail folder count against your limit. In that case, zapping junk e-mail may be the best option.

    • Disable Links in Phishing Messages: Phishing isn't just incorrectly spelled; it's a way of doing something very wrong to a lot of unsuspecting e-mail recipients. Phishing is the term used for an e-mail message that tries to impersonate a bank or financial institution in an effort to steal your personal information. It's the first step in an identity theft operation. This kind of crime is on the rise, so Outlook now tries to detect false e-mails and disable the Web links they contain.

    • Warn About Suspicious Domains: Some places have a bad reputation, both on the Web and off. If you receive an e-mail from a suspicious location, Outlook warns you so that you don't get yourself into trouble.

  4. Click OK.

    The Junk E-mail Options dialog box closes.

You've custom-tailored your Junk E-mail settings! With any luck, you'll no longer need to wade through messages about get-rich-quick schemes or pills that enlarge body parts you don't even have.

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