Friday, December 1, 2006

More ways to delete junk email quickly and easily


By David Gewirtz

Last week, in "A quick trick for deleting enormous amounts of junk email", I wrote about a trick I use for quickly deleting the large mounds of junk mail I get regularly. As we might have expected, this is a hot topic and we got a bunch of letters and questions. In this article, I'll go through the letters and answer them as best as I can.

Blocking a bunch of emails at once

Missy Bergen at Swiftpage Email writes:

Wow, that is an obnoxious amount of junk emails in your Outlook! I don't get quite that many -- my annoyance is that Outlook does not allow you to Shift-Click a whole bunch of junk emails and add them to my blocked sender's list. Have to do each one individually. And I do have "allow only safe senders" as my filter. It's just a constant battle. Yuk.

Take a look at SpamBayes. It's a free junk email manager and it does allow you to Shift-Click those emails and save them off. Spambayes needs a bit of training, but I like it better than Outlook's own email filter.

I use SpamBayes as my third tier junk email defense. Our first tier is Prominic's Postini filter. Prominic provides us with the facilities where our servers are located and they provide us with a pass-through spam filtering service. By the way, if you're looking for an excellent ISP/co-location provider, I can't say enough good things about Prominic. Check them out.

Our second tier of filtering is the mail server itself. It filters out what it thinks is obvious junk mail. And, finally, there's SpamBayes, which I run with Outlook. it's an open source solution and works quite well.

Permanently deleting junk mail

Richard Marpet asks:

Why isn't there a way to permanently delete e-mail from the junk e-mail folder? It can be done from the Deleted folder, why not from the junk e-mail folder?
Thanks for this tip. I'll start using it right away.

Actually, Richard, there is. Just select the messages you want to delete, hold the Shift key down at the same time you press the Delete key. Outlook will ask if you want to permanently delete the messages. Just say yes.

Appreciating unappreciative beginners

Stu Kopelman writes:

I read your article about how to create a junk mail PST file. It was a bit assuming for an unappreciative beginner like me. While I thought how I did not fully understand what you were saying, I got the idea that if you were to create a script or even an application that would do what you said automatically, you would be rich. Think about it, because like myself, there are a lot of folks that would love to simply push a button and make it all go away.

Well, uh, well, hmmm. Wow. Ok, then.

Let's try this. Stu, there is a script that can help delete your email automatically. Actually, there are quite a few. The SpamBayes program I recommend above does that pretty well, and it's free. I don't think any of it's developers are getting rich, but we can send them good vibes and our thanks for their hard work.

Sent items vanish

David Eades writes:

I have been having an issue with losing my sent emails. Outlook seems to be deleting all my sent items older than two weeks. I have not changed anything that I know of. Do you have any thoughts? Windows XP running Office 2003.

Well, you didn't tell us if you were using Exchange or not. This problem has been known to occur if you're exceeding your Exchange data store quota.

Another possibility is that there's something wacky with your message expiration options. You might want to take a look at the Advanced Email Options tab. Get there by selecting Options from the Tools menu, clicking the Email Options button on the Preferences tab, and then Advanced Email Options. I don't think this is different for different folders, but try opening it when you're in your Sent Items folder and see what changes.

My guess, though, is you've got some sort of weird view. We often forget that the View menu controls what messages we see and what we don't. There is a view for Last Seven Days. Perhaps you've got something going on there.

And, finally, your PST file could be corrupted. But that's a topic for a different article.