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Managing Junk Email

BYU Email Filtering

The department is currently transitioning over to the BYU email system. To view the spam caught by BYU's system, visit their email filter page and enter your BYU credentials. If email is erroneously marked as spam, you have to option to select "Whitelist sender" and click Submit, which will prevent the filter from marking any other messages from this sender as spam. Doing this will also send the selected email to your BYU mailbox.

Physics Email Filtering

The department mail server is currently being phased out. However, below is information that can be useful for managing junk email until the transition is complete.

Unsolicited Commercial Email -- commonly known as spam -- is a problem for everyone with an email account. Below are some things you can do with your Physics email account to try and more effectively manage this problem.

Message Classification

Our spam filter classifies messages into three general categories: Ham, Spam, and High Spam.


Ham is mail that is believed to be legitimate, the mail you want to receive. These messages are delivered to your mailbox without modification or delay. Messages that have attachments which are potentially dangerous or known to be infected with a virus are stripped and quarantined on our server.


Spam is mail that we believe to be unsolicited and unwanted, but does not score high enough to be absolutely sure. These messages are inserted into a new message as an attachment. This new external message describes why the message was marked as spam and is marked in a way as to be filterable by our Exchange server and by your mail client.

High Spam

High Spam is mail that we are absolutely certain is unsolicited and unwanted. These messages score so high on our filter that we simply discard them. They account for about 70-80% of all the messages the Department receives.

Configuring Your Client

As part of our message filtering, we assign each message a spam score. This is a number that indicates the likelihood of the message being spam. A score of between 0 and 4 is very low, 5-7 moderately certain, and 8-10 very likely. We use this number internally to decide if the message is Ham, Spam, or High Spam as described above. You can also use this value to help you organize your junk email as follows:

The Junk E-mail Folder

If your mailbox is stored on the department Exchange server (this account for about 95% of the department), the server will automatically attempt to separate spam from the rest of your mail. Messages marked as spam will be delivered to your Junk E-mail folder. This should be enabled by default, but if you are having not seeing this behavior, log into the Outlook Web Interface, click Options and ensure that the Filter Junk E-mail box is checked. If it is not, select this option and click Save and Close at the top of the page.

This works for all users with a mailbox on our server, even if they use an email client other than Outlook. In other clients such as Thunderbird, you may need to subscribe to the Junk E-mail folder to be able to see messages that have been classified as spam. To do this, follow the last three steps on the client connection page.

Outlook Spam Options

Microsoft Outlook has built-in settings designed to help reduce the spam you receive. This includes setting a personal whitelist and blacklist, adjusting the sensitivity of the built-in spam scanner, and blocking messages sent in specific languages. You can access these options by going to the Actions menu and selecting Junk E-mail and then Junk E-mail Options.

Other Clients and Questions

If you use a different email client, or if you have any questions regarding managing junk email, please contact the CSR office. There are many ways we can help you configure your client to filter messages our server has marked as spam. The options available will vary from client to client. You can always use the department Remote Desktop server to view your mailbox in Outlook if you run into trouble.

Testing Your Client Settings

If you would like to test the settings on your client, you can send yourself a special test message from an off-campus email account (from a Gmail or Yahoo account for example). To test your settings, send a message with the subject:


and a short or empty message body. The email will be marked as spam and delivered to your mailbox as normal.

Personalizing Your Filter Settings

As part of the message filtering process, our server will check user-defined settings to help ensure that your mail is filtered the way you want it to be. If you visit the spam filter configuration page, you can enable and disable the spam filter, define your personal spam score settings, and create a whitelist and blacklist for your contacts.

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