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Outlook Express Anti Spam - The Top Outlook Express Anti Spam Tools

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Spam – does anybody like it? Has anybody ever clicked on a link from it? I sure don’t know anybody. And yet on it comes, day after day, cluttering up our inbox with offers of rip-off garbage. In this feature, I’ll clue you in on some of the top Outlook Express anti-spam tools that will help you keep that garbage out of sight.

The first essential Outlook Express anti-spam tool is a preventative one. Your email address has to make its way to a spammer somehow, and most likely it’s because of something you did. Every time you enter your email address into a website, make absolutely sure that the site has a privacy policy where they will not sell or share your information. Many shady businesses make extra money by selling their customers’ contact information to marketing companies, which then bombard you with spam. If the site you are on does not give you that guarantee, I recommend creating an email address using a free service such as Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Hotmail specifically for untrustworthy sites. That mailbox will, in all likelihood, get filled up with spam – but since you don’t use it, you won’t care.

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s already too late for your email account. You probably wouldn’t be reading this article if your Outlook Express was spam-free. Thankfully, there are a number of Outlook Express tools for anti-spam extermination. These tools range from commercial products to free software, with varying levels of usefulness.

Outlook Express has a number of built-in anti-spam features. The most commonly used is Block Sender. With a spam sender’s email address highlighted, click Block Sender on the drop-down Message menu. Unfortunately, this won’t do much to stem the flow of spam, as most unsolicited e-mailers use huge amounts of disposable e-mail addresses to blast out their messages. But it’s a start! A much more powerful and robust tool for Outlook Express anti-spam management is the Message Rules function. With this deceptively easy setting, you can automatically filter messages containing spam keywords directly to your Trash, without ever seeing them. In the Tools menu, go to Message Rules and click Mail. Clicking the New button creates an empty rule for you to design from scratch, or you can select a rule that’s already built and Copy it. You can edit your rule to automatically delete emails that have specific words in the subject or body of your email. Alternately, you can build only positive rules – for example, allow emails from specified domains and block everything else. Rules can be a simple, fast way to filter out the bulk of your Outlook Express spam.

Another useful setting in Outlook Express to control spam is changing your system to display e-mails in plain text only. HTML e-mails can contain objectionable imagery that can be displayed by accident. It’s a far wiser choice to turn it off. The dialogue is located in the Tools menu, under Read. Click “read all messages in plain text” to adjust this setting.

If all else fails and the tide of spam is too much to fight alone, there are a number of excellent Outlook Express anti-spam programs that can be easily downloaded. Some popular ones are McAfee Spamkiller, made by the same company that produces the popular virus detection software, as well as Spamfighter Pro. There are also free options for people too penurious to invest. One that I have used and liked was MailWasher Free, which can also be upgraded for enhanced functionality.

With your Outlook Express set up to be an anti-spam machine, don’t neglect the other aspects of computer security. Ensure that your network and PC are both behind a firewall, keep your virus protection program updated, and install an anti-malware monitor (or two) as well. Just like with people, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to your computer. Best of luck and happy e-mailing.

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