Hotmail Web

Out of block space?

When talking to strangers about Hotmail the most frequent complaint tends to be about Spam.  This is often followed by the complaint that their block list is full and they can’t block any more Spammers.

Know what?  The block list is terrible for blocking Spammers.  Know why?  Because each time a Spammer sends out a new piece of junk e-mail they change their address so you can’t easily block them.  The block list does work, but it really just works for that annoying ex-friend who won’t stop sending you the latest e-mail humor (which happened to be the latest e-mail humor three years ago and you’ve already seen it, oh… about a bazillion times).

The best thing you can do to stem the flow of junk is turn on Hotmail’s Junk E-Mail filter.  You won’t stop junk e-mail entirely, but you will slow it down (I’ll tell you later how to totally stop it, but the solution is not for everyone).  To turn on the junk e-mail filter for your Hotmail account you can take one of two paths…

The quick way:

From the Hotmail Home page (the first page you see when you sign in) click on the red “Junk E-Mail folder:” link. 

If you have the Junk E-Mail filter turned off, you’ll get the prompt to turn on the filter.  Set the filter to “Enhanced” then click the OK button. Why is there no “Off” you ask?  Perhaps I’ll get into that some other time. 

The slow way

No, clicking on that one link on the home page is not the only way to access the Junk E-Mail settings.  You’ll find, in fact, that once the filter is on, clicking that link simply drops you into the Junk E-Mail folder.  To turn on the filter in options, or to adjust it at a later date, you need to start by going to options (the link’s at the top right of your Hotmail page).

Make sure you’re on the Mail options page by clicking the “Mail” in the left hand column.

Click Junk E-Mail Protection.

Click Junk E-Mail Filter.

Tired of clicking yet?  Don’t worry, almost done.  Now, just as in the first section, set your filter to Enhanced and click the OK button to save.

So, after going through all that work, what do you get in return? You get a cleaner inbox. Most of the junk that used to be landing there is now landing in your Junk E-Mail folder.  The Junk E-Mail folder will be cleaned out every 7 days or so, keeping your account space from running out due to an influx of Junk E-Mail.  I will tell you: this is not a cure-all.  You’ll still get junk, but it will be much easier to manage.

One final tip: add your friend’s e-mail addresses to your address book to tell Hotmail you always want to get their mail.  Hotmail will rarely (if I say never I’m sure I’ll be proven wrong :)) put mail from a friend in the Junk E-Mail folder.

I’ll be happy to get into more details later… but I think I’ve already tried everyone’s patience enough with 7 pictures in one blog entry. 🙂

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