I need a working Spam filter for Outlook

Okay, my mum’s drowning in Spam – she’s getting upwards of a hundred pieces a day. (Hooray for drooling simpletons who think ‘e-cards’ are really nice.)

I set her up with Thunderbird mail, which has decent built in heuristic detection and a simple, intuitive interface. She loves the spam-handling features, and they work great for her. Unfortunately, she doesn’t like Thunderbird itself – it doesn’t work well with Flash & Powerpoint content, midi background music, etc, and, for reasons beyond my limited comprehension, she feels that these things are an invaluable aspect of correspondence.

Anyway, I’m looking for a working spam-filter plug-in for Outlook.

I’ve already tried Cosmi’s Perfect Spam Only Eliminator, which is the most spectacularly non-functional piece of software I’ve ever seen. Apart from its frequent catastrophic crashes, it just plain doesn’t work. (It insists that 75% of her messages are junk, even messages that are specifically used as examples of ‘good’ messages – I imagine that if I were authoring a spam filter, the first check would be “Is this message from someone in my contact list? If so, assume it’s not spam and move on.” Naaaaah.) It works as a stand-alone program, which is crap, too. (Open outlook, download your mail, open spam-handler, process new mail, cross your fingers, go back to outlook. ) Feh.

So I installed a plug-in from Novosoft called, simply enough, Outlook Spam Filter, and was less than impressed to find that the expected Toolbar never found its way into Outlook.

Anyway, long story short:

Need reliable spam-filter for Outlook 2000 running on Windows XP. Is there such an animal?

I’m feeling tempted to set up a new account for her, but I’m not confident that she (or her friends) will ever really ‘get’ the whole keeping-your-e-mail-address-confidential thing, so there’s probably no point.

Thanks for any suggestions, folks.

I haven’t tried any of the pay versions, but the betas of Cloudmark Spamnet were easy and effective. It creates an Outlook toolbar with Block and Unblock buttons. Any blocked mail goes into a designated folder for easy review and deletion. The spam headers are automatically shared on a central server so that new mailings can be quickly identified. It doesn’t catch 100%, but it does substantially cut down on Inbox clutter.

I’ve been testing POPFile for a few days and so far it’s working pretty well. It’s a Bayesian and it needs to be taught with a few examples of each type of mail. It runs in the background and acts as a proxy server so it’s transparent to the user. It tags each incoming mail with a header identifying the type (spam, personal, etc) and/or adds a flag to the Subject line, so you need to set up your mail client to sort incoming mail based on this info. It’s explained in the manual.

Also Yahoo! Mail has a pretty good mail filter, and allows POP access for a small fee.

Have a look at the headers of a piece of spam email. Your ISP may already be scoring all your email for spam content. My ISP uses MIMEDefang 2.36, which analyses all my email, and put a spam score in the header. All I do is make a rule in Outlook to check the header for Spam Status = yes and delete it. It is 99% effective, and rarely deletes anything I actually wanted. Occasionally, I will check my deleted folder to see if it anything has been unintentionally deleted, but that is rare.

To check the message headers in Outlook, highlight the message in the inbox, then go to Tools/Options. Scroll to the bottom to see if there is a spam score.

Consumer Reports magazine recently reviewed spam filters. That might be a good place to do some research, since they do thorough testing. As a result of that article, I started using Spam Assasin. It’s a free program. They describe it as fairly complex, and I agree. I find it a little overly sensitive, but not as bad as what you described in the OP for Cosmi’s.

Thanks for the suggestions, folks.

I think that for my mum, Spamnet’s simple integration, ease-of-use, and demonstrable effectiveness makes it just the ticket. Thanks, number. It was up and running in minutes and the two-button approach was pretty easy to train her on. So far, it has rerouted 38 messages to the Spam folder, (three of them in the time it took to type this message,) without misidentifying any valid mail, and only missing four lumps o’ spam. I’m impressed.

I don’t trust my ISP with my e-mail services – not since I found more than 3000 pieces of spam in my (completely unused, ever) mailbox provided by Rogers@home. (For most of the first year I used their service, I continued to use my old dial-up account’s mail server for convenience. Nothing like an ISP treating their clients’ addresses as an exploitable resource.)

My mail server for the past few years is Apache JAMES running on my housemate’s undistinguished co-located server – a big part of the reason that I, personally, receive no spam. (Do I sound smug? I’m trying not to, really.) Anyway, I set up my mum’s mail on the same server, but since she tends to broadcast her address, and associate with people who broadcast it for her, I think it’s likely that her junk mail alone represents about 95% of the traffic on the server. (There are only four other users.) :smiley:

And you are still using them? Why?