8 August 2011

Rules To Reduce Junk In Your Inbox

Does spam drive you crazy? Even though I use Spam Arrest – http://www.spamarrest.com/ – as a first-stop filter, and my email programme is pretty good at filtering a lot of rubbish into Junk Email, I’m all too familiar with being deluged with bounce-backs from mail that falsely appears to be from our domain and been sent to false addresses. I’ve given up worrying about the illusion of appearing to be a spammer myself for I think most people recognise the tactic now, but the ridiculous amount of ‘returned mail’ has become spam – to me.

So, I created a new Rule in my email system. I’m an Outlook chick, so that’s how I’ll describe it; if you have a different programme check out your Help menu for the specifics. And be aware that there are always multiple ways to do computer tasks – I’ll share with you the way I collect many ‘bad’ words from lots of emails into one Rule, and if you’ve got a better way, do let me know.

Choose Tools from the menu bar, then Rules,then Alerts. Then select New Rule, and follow the steps in the Wizard. (One little tip – there may be a better way to do it, but I make a list of the words I want to avoid before I start, for it seems you can’t flick back and forth from the Inbox to the Wizard.)

I’m simplifying it for you, but basically I ended up with a Rule that said: Apply this rule after the message arrives with ‘failure notice’ or ‘message delivery failure’ or ‘delivery status notification’ (and there were more phrases) in the subject and move it to the Junk email folder (and then I allowed a few exceptions).

Another way, if it’s just one source you want to block, is to right-click on the specific email, choose ‘Create Rule’ and then fill in the relevant boxes.

You might worry that a legitimate mail has bounced and you need to know. You have to make that decision for yourself. I know for me, when I weighed up the number of times a real mail bounces versus the wasted time every day opening every spam return, the decision was very simple.

Since this new rule was set up the Junk Email folder has rapidly expanded and my Inbox has been respectable again – thank goodness! Every few days I have a quick scroll through the Junk Email folder to ensure nothing important has slipped through, and then, to empty it, just right-click on that folder, choose ‘Empty Junk Email folder’ and whippee – the trash is out!

(Footnote: In the last seven minutes, as I finished this section of the newsletter, another eight returns slithered in – about one per minute! Thank goodness for Rules!)

This is a new tip, but you’ll find many other practical tips like this in ‘About Time – 120 Tips for Those with No Time.’


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