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Centralizing Junk Email Folder Administration

Alexander Zammit

Alexander Zammit Photo

A Software Development Consultant with over 20 years of experience. Many of his projects involved Exchange integrated applications, including a FAX server, a mail security product and anti-spam products.

  • Published: Jul 28, 2005
  • Category: Anti-Spam
  • Votes: 5.0 out of 5 - 3 Votes
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Each Exchange mailbox has its own Junk Email configuration settings. Administering multiple mailboxes, setting a consistent configuration, quickly becomes challenging. We need tools to centrally administer these settings.

Enabling the Junk Email folder through scripting

The OWA Administration tool offers useful functionality, but fails to offer the most requested feature i.e. enabling the Junk Email folder for all mailboxes. Evan Dodds, a Program Manager in the Exchange Admin/SysMgmt team, provides an excellent script that fills this gap.

The script must be fed with a text file listing the mailboxes for which the Junk Email folder is to be enabled. You will also need an account having the necessary rights over the mailboxes being accessed. For a copy of the script and complete details check his article IMF and the Junk E-mail folder in Outlook

Managing Client-Side Junk Email Filtering

Next we look at the resources available to manage the client-side Junk email filtering. These are the settings which users would normally access through Outlook 2003.

Managing Outlook through Group Policy

Group Policy is the most effective administration interface when it comes to managing Outlook configurations. To begin with, you will need the Policy Template files available for download from the Office 2003 Resource Kit download center. From here you may either download the Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit (ork.exe), or just download the Office 2003 Policy Template Files and Deployment Planning Tools (Office-2003-SP1-ADMs-OPAs-and-Explain-Text.exe). Ork.exe includes the entire tool set whereas the latter just contains what we need for Group Policy.

Configuring Outlook now becomes a matter of setting up Group Policy correctly. Once you extract the Policy templates, look for outlk11.adm. You will now need to create a Group Policy Object GPO based on this template and associate it to the users/computers to be applied to. I will skip many details here. For more information check the links at the references section.

Group Policy Object

The above screen grab shows the various policies configurable once the template is loaded within the Group Policy Object Editor. The policies are grouped under the Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 folder. Collapsing Tools | Options, Preferences, Junk E-mail leads to the policies of interest to us.

The 'Junk E-mail protection level' policy enables us to set the Outlook Junk Email filtering to No Protection (disabled), Low, High or Trusted Lists Only. To configure this just open the policy properties, select Enabled and select the appropriate level at the 'Select level' list.

Junk E-mail Policy

References

Bringing Together the Exchange Anti-SPAM Cocktail

Enabling/Disabling the Junk Email Folder

Exchange 2003: Outlook Web Access Web Administration

Evan's (mostly) Microsoft Exchange Server Blog - IMF and the Junk E-mail folder in Outlook

Office 2003 Resource Kit Download center

Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding the Group Policy Feature Set

Enterprise Management with the Group Policy Management Console

Managing Users' Configurations by Policy

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