Vista's Junk Mail Filter: Users' Tips: Page 2

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Configuring Junk E-Mail Options

Enabled by default, the Junk E-mail filter sits silently; in effect, watching all e-mail. Virtually no setup is required. In fact, when a user first launches Windows Mail and sets up the account information for either a POP or an IMAP account (the only two account types the Junk E-mail filter supports), there is neither an indication that junk e-mail filtering is enabled nor a prompt to configure settings.

Once you are up and running with an account, any new mail is run through the filter. If a message is identified as spam, it is moved immediately to the Junk E-mail folder, which notifies you that there are messages waiting there for your review, just like your Inbox.

Although the Junk E-mail filter functionality is on by default, some settings are available to the user. You can access these settings in the main menu in Windows Mail via Tools | Junk E-mail options.

A five-tab window is opened where you can finely tune the Junk E-mail filter to your liking.

The Junk E-Mail Options Tab

The first tab offers you the ability to manage the level of sensitivity that the application will apply to messages. This essentially amounts to a degree of filtering. By default, the Junk E-mail filter is set to “Low: Move the most obvious junk e-mail to the Junk E-mail folder.” Adjusting the sensitivity is as simple as choosing a radio button.

During testing, we found that the High setting provided the best results. Certain companies that we have received e-mail from saw fit to send us advertisements for related products, even on behalf of their partners. On the High setting, these less personal e-mails were moved to the Junk E-mail folder, allowing us to quickly discern what we cared for and what was likely irrelevant mail.

The first and last radio button options under “Choose the level of junk e-mail protection you want” provide the opposite ends of the spectrum. The No Automatic Filtering and Safe List Only settings rely not on the SmartScreen algorithms, but simply on block or allow lists. These lists specify who is allowed to send mail to the recipient, and who is not. In Windows Mail, these lists are Safe Senders and Blocked Senders, respectively.

Let’s take a moment to discuss the Blocked Senders and the Safe Senders lists, both of which are easily administered through dedicated tabs. The Safe Senders and Blocked Senders tabs are fairly straightforward. Both allow you to add, remove, and edit entries. When “Add” an entry is chosen, Windows Mail provides you with a simple interface for data entry.

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