About junk e-mail protection

Outlook has a built-in junk mail filter that helps separate junk e-mail — also called spam — from legitimate messages. By default, the level of junk e-mail protection is set to low, which filters only the most obvious junk mail messages. You can increase the level of protection, but the filter may classify some legitimate messages as junk mail. Check the Junk E-mail folder regularly to make sure that it doesn't contain any legitimate messages.

When the filter finds a message that appears to be junk, Outlook does the following:

  • Moves the message to the Junk E-mail folder for that account.

  • Assigns the message to the Junk category.

  • Blocks any embedded pictures in the message. In some cases, downloading the pictures in a mail message lets the sender know that your mail address is active. If a junk mail sender knows that your address is active, you are more likely to receive additional junk mail from that sender.

To help make the filter more effective, you can do the following:

  • Add important message senders to your Outlook contacts. When a contact is saved in Outlook, Outlook does not classify messages from that contact as junk.

  • Specify domain  that you want Outlook to exclude from the junk mail filter. For example, if you add "alpineskihouse.com" to your Safe Domains list, a message from a person with an e-mail address that contains "@alpineskihouse.com" is never classified as junk.

  • Specify e-mail addresses or domains that you want Outlook to classify as junk. For example, if you add "alpineskihouse.com" to your Blocked Senders list, a message from a person with an e-mail address that contains "@alpineskihouse.com" is always classified as junk.

  • Use the Mailing List Manager to manage messages from a mailing list. Messages that are handled by a mailing list rule will not be classified as junk.

    Important: If you configure the Mailing List Manager to process and move messages to other Inbox folders, the junk mail filter will not process these messages.

Outlook also helps protect you from phishing (pronounced "fishing"). Phishing is an online fraud technique that uses mail messages and Web sites that mimic well-known and trusted brands. Though they seem to be from legitimate organizations, phishing messages and Web sites try to trick you into disclosing personal information, such as account numbers and passwords.

Important: Web addresses in phishing messages can be masked to look like the addresses of legitimate sites. Rather than clicking a link in a mail message, it is safer to type the Web address that you know to be correct into the Address bar in your browser.

To help protect against phishing, Outlook displays a warning to beware of links in suspected junk mail messages. You should click the link only if you are certain it will take you to a legitimate Web site.

For more information about junk mail and phishing, visit the Microsoft Safety and Security Center.


  • Each IMAP and Microsoft Exchange account account has its own Junk E-mail folder. The name of this folder may vary slightly for server-based folders.

  • For IMAP accounts, Outlook applies the junk mail filter only to messages received in the Inbox folder. For POP accounts, Outlook applies the junk mail filter to all messages.

  • Outlook does not apply the junk mail filter to messages from a Microsoft Exchange account. For these accounts, junk mail filtering occurs on the Exchange server.

See also

Label a message as "junk" or "not junk"

Customize junk e-mail protection

The wrong amount of e-mail is sent to Junk E-mail

Help protect your privacy

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