Issues with Microsoft Outlook filters and antispam
Updated on February 21st, 2023
Spam filters in Outlook should be on guard clockwork while you keep polishing and training them on your end by marking junk email messages sneaking into your inbox as spam. However, you still could see an email or two (or more) in a place where they shouldn't be.
In February 2023, as Bleeping Computer notes, numerous Outlook users (users of outlook.com and associated MS-hosted free accounts and/or hosted domains) reported that their inboxes were literally drowning in the ocean of spam emails because spam email filters turned out to be broken. It means that all messages previously tagged as spam start landing back in your inboxes mixing with the important ones.
If you have faced the issue mentioned, we recommend you try Screener from Clean Email, which is completely free within two weeks. When Screener is enabled, Clean Email intercepts all emails from new senders and keeps them quarantined for your review instead of delivering them to your inbox. You can review all quarantined messages in a separate section and decide whether to accept the senders’ messages or block the senders.
If you are an Outlook (hotmail.com, live.com, etc.) user and you crave to stop spam dead in its tracks by keeping messages from first-time senders out of your Inbox—sign up to Clean Email with your account and enable a 14-day trial (no credit card is required). Read more about Screener and how it can help you to get rid of unwanted senders.
How To Find Junk Mail In Outlook And Empty It
Outlook Junk Mail settings check all incoming messages automatically and look for signs of spam. If you receive a message that Outlook has determined is malicious or unwanted, it will sort emails in Outlook to place the undesired messages in the junk email folder instead of your primary inbox.
It doesn’t delete these messages though, and sometimes the Outlook spam filter places something in the junk email folder by mistake, so you need to know how to find and delete junk mail in Outlook.
How to Find Junk Mail in Outlook
To find the Outlook junk mail folder in the Outlook app on your computer, simply:
- Open the Outlook app on your computer.
- Navigate to the folder list on the left side of the screen and select Junk Email.
💡 Note: Depending on the version of Outlook you are using, it may also be labeled as Spam instead of Junk.
If you are using Outlook in your web browser, you’ll need to:
- Navigate to https://outlook.live.com/. Click Settings → View all Outlook settings.
- On the left side navigation, select Mail.
- Then, look at the folder list and click Junk Email. Click +Add if you need to block someone on Outlook.
If you are using the Outlook mobile app, simply:
- Open the app.
- Click on the three lines in the top left corner.
- Make sure the folders menu is opened, then select Junk Email.
Deleting Junk Mail in Outlook
Once you locate your Junk Mail in Outlook, it’s easy to delete unwanted messages from the folder. You can do this by deleting individual messages, selecting multiple messages, or emptying the entire folder.
If you’re using the Outlook desktop app or web browser on your computer:
- Delete a single message by selecting the garbage can next to the email.
- Delete multiple emails by selecting all messages you’d like to delete, then press the Delete button.
- To empty the entire folder, right-click on the Junk Mail folder, then select Empty Folder.
On the mobile app, you can:
- Delete a single message by selecting the email, then click the Trash Bin at the top right.
- To empty the entire folder, simply click the Empty Spam icon on the upper corner.
Configure Your Outlook Junk Email Filter on PC or Mac
An effective email spam filter can help you avoid junk messages from ever entering your main inbox. However, you have to configure them to work for you.
If you're using Microsoft Outlook on your PC or Mac, you should tweak Outlook junk mail settings to improve the performance of the Outlook spam filter.
To do this:
- Open Microsoft Outlook on your computer.
- Click the Home tab, click the Junk icon (a person with a prohibited sign), and select the Junk E-mail Options button.
- If you're on a Mac, click the Tools menu and select Junk Email Preferences.
- In the Options tab, look for junk email protection settings and pick one of the available options:
- No Automatic Filtering: Mail from blocked senders is still moved to the Junk Email folder. Use this option if you're wondering how to stop emails going to junk Outlook folder.
- Low: Move the most obvious spam emails to the Junk Email folder.
- High: Most junk email is caught, but some regular mail may be caught as well. Check your Junk Email folder often.
- Safe Lists Only: Only mail from people or domains on your Safe Senders list or Safe Recipients List will be delivered to your Inbox.
- Save your choice.
That's how to stop junk email in Outlook on PC or Mac. To create the best spam filter for Outlook possible, we highly recommend you manually add addresses and domain names that you always want to be treated as spam on your Blocked Senders List. You can do this in the Blocked Senders tab of the Junk Email Options or Junk Email Preferences window.
Learn more about what to do if your Outlook spam filter is not working.
Stop Junk Email via the Outlook Mobile App
If you mostly use Outlook on your mobile device, here is how to stop spam emails in Outlook by moving them to the Junk folder:
- Open the mobile app.
- Select an email you’d like to be moved to spam.
- Then click the ‘Move to’ icon at the bottom toolbar.
- Select Junk.
6 Additional Tips on How to Stop Junk Email in Outlook
There are currently close to four billion email users worldwide. Unfortunately, this means there are lots of spam messages being sent and received each and every day. Unless you learn how to stop spam emails from winding up in your Outlook inbox, you can expect your mailbox to eventually be so full of useless messages that make using it nearly impossible.
The good news is that learning how to get rid of spam doesn’t require much effort, and it certainly doesn’t require any expert knowledge. All you have to do is familiarize yourself with six simple email management tips and use Clean Email in addition to the Outlook spam filter.
1. Don’t Respond to Spam
Never respond to spam messages. Ever. It may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people break this simple rule and open unsolicited emails. Sometimes, they even download attachments, which is how most malware infections begin.
The trick is to learn how to separate legitimate messages from illegitimate ones. If you don’t recognize the sender's address, you’re most likely dealing with an unsolicited email from a clever spammer who has managed to circumvent the Outlook spam filter. Look at the subject line and think hard if it makes sense and doesn’t contain grammar mistakes.
Spammers often make outrageous claims and write emails that are full of spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Legitimate senders, on the other hand, take time to proofread their emails to make a good first impression. It’s also very rare for legitimate senders to send emails with attachments without first touching base.
2. Don’t Share Your Email Address
Do you know how an email spammer gets your address in the first place? They usually find it posted online! We understand that it can be tricky, especially if you have a website or maintain an active online presence but try not to publish your email address online. If you absolutely must share it with others, at least disguise it by substituting the @ symbol with the word “at.” This won’t fool all email address scrapers used by spammers, but it will throw off a good percentage of them.
When you do give your email address to someone else, pay attention to your inbox and monitor the number of spam emails you receive. A major uptick in the frequency of spam emails could mean that the person with whom you’ve shared your address has published it somewhere. When registering on websites, consider using a disposable email address instead of your real one. There are many services that let you create as many disposable email addresses as you want, and most of them are free.
3. Report Junk Emails
The sad truth is that the Outlook junk email filter leaves a lot to be desired. You can, however, train it by reporting junk emails. When you mark a message as spam, it will not only disappear from your inbox but also appear on Outlook’s junk email filter. Next time the same sender attempts to send you a similar spam message, there’s a very high chance that the email will be detected and stopped from ever reaching your inbox.
How to Mark Emails as Spam in Outlook
You can filter spam in Outlook by following these directions:
- Go to outlook.live.com to access your Outlook inbox on the web.
- Select the spam message or messages you’d like to filter out of your inbox.
- At the top of the screen, select Report. Then choose Report junk.
Learn more about how to mark an email as spam in Outlook if you are using Outlook on a desktop or your smartphone.
4. Unsubscribe from Promotional Emails
Promotional emails are the curse of our modern era. However, most promotional emails today contain an unsubscribe link somewhere at the bottom of the message. All you have to do to unsubscribe is click on it.
Unfortunately, there are times when this Unsubscribe button isn’t easy to spot or available at all. Luckily, you can navigate to Settings → Mail → Subscriptions through Outlook to remove yourself from certain subscription lists directly through your email client. This is just one way you can learn how to stop spam emails in Outlook.
Additionally, you can check out our complete guide on how to unsubscribe from emails on Outlook.
Furthermore, you can use Clean Email to stop promotional emails from cluttering your mailbox, and it just requires a few clicks. This is because Clean Email is a bulk email organizer that analyzes your inbox and allows you to unsubscribe from unwanted messages with the click of a button, and it’s just as easy to delete or archive hundreds or even thousands of spam messages.
In fact, you can stop all newsletters forever or pause them all at once place, even if there is no obligatory Unsubscribe link in the email. It’s very handy, especially if you have limited time to dedicate to blocking spam on Outlook.
To stop junk email in Outlook using Clean Email’s Unsubscriber feature, simply:
- Go to: app.clean.email
- Sign in with your mail login and password.
- Select Unsubscriber from the left pane.
- Go through the list of active subscriptions and click the Unsubscribe option next to each subscription you no longer wish to receive (or select multiple of them and unsubscribe from them all with one click).
5. Get a New Email Address
Getting a new address just to stop junk email may seem like a drastic option, but we recommend it to everyone who’s losing the fight with spammers. Outlook lets you create as many new addresses as you need for free, and you might even be able to snatch a good username if you don’t wait too long. At the very least we recommend you create another email address just for online registrations and various other activities that might lead to junk infiltrating your inbox.
6. Use Temporary Email Services
If you’re not keen on managing another inbox just to stop spam emails from infiltrating your Outlook account, you have another option: a temporary email address.
A temporary account looks and works just like a regular email address except that it’s not meant to be used long-term. Most temporary addresses expire after anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple of hours, so using them for regular communication is not advisable.
Instead, we recommend you use a temporary email address as a way how to stop spam emails in Outlook from various websites that force you to create a user account. Here are a few reputable providers of temporary email services that you can choose from:
- Guerrilla Mail: Launched in 2006, Guerrilla Mail is one of the oldest providers of temporary addresses in the world. So far, it has processed around 13 billion emails, which says a lot about its popularity. Guerrilla Mail automatically generates a unique address as soon as you open it in your web browser, and all you need to do to use it is copy it. Unlike most other similar services, Guerrilla Mail allows its users to send messages, limiting their size to 150 MB per email.
- EmailOnDeck.com: This provider of temporary email addresses is used by professionals and regular users around the world to catch annoying subscription emails and spam. If you want it to generate a temporary address for you, confirm that you’re a real human and click the Get Email button. In just a few seconds, you’ll be taken to your private inbox that you can use to receive messages that you don’t want in your Outlook inbox.
- 10 Minute Mail: The name of this temporary email service is pretty self-explanatory. That said, 10 Minute Mail doesn’t strictly limit you to just 10 minutes. You can always reset the timer with a single click, which may come in handy when waiting for a delayed message.
Besides temporary email services, you should also learn how to stop receiving junk email in Outlook with burner emails extension like Burner Mail for Chrome. Browser extensions are convenient to use because they are always just one click away, and they offer various useful extra features, such as real-time email notifications.
Use Clean Email To Declutter Your Outlook Mailbox Even More
Clean Email isn't just another Outlook spam filter. It's an inbox management tool that can help you completely organize and automate your incoming messages to clean up Outlook mailbox and achieve inbox zero. This lets refocus on what matters most instead of spending your day bogged down with junk mail in Outlook or any other email provider.
Besides the Unsubscriber feature, Clean Email can help you stop spam in Outlook with only a few clicks. Just select the email group that you’d like to mark as junk and click the Spam button at the blue action bar.
Additionally, the app’s Auto Clean feature allows you to apply any action to new emails coming to your mailbox without any manual work. You can tell Clean Email to, for example, automatically mark all emails from certain addresses as spam. Just select the email sender, click Create Rule at the blue action bar, fill in the criteria for your rule, and click Create Rule again.
Creating automation rules is a matter of checking a single checkbox, and you can manage all automation rules using a convenient dashboard.
If you enable the app’s Screener feature, it will hold emails from unknown senders until you have time to check them and decide if you’d like them to go to your Inbox or to be marked as spam.
Then, the Privacy Monitor checks your email address against known data breaches to help keep you even safer. If the system recognizes your address within a known security incident, it suggests you change your password immediately. By changing your password as soon as it identifies a risk, you can minimize or even completely avoid any potential damage.
How to Stop Spam Emails in Outlook - FAQs
Is spam the same as junk in Outlook?
Although Outlook uses the word Junk Mail, it's essentially the same as a spam filter on other email providers.
How do I check spam in Outlook?
In Outlook, there's a dedicated junk email folder that you can check for spam messages. This Outlook spam folder is located in the lineup with your other folders, like Inbox and Sent.
How do I stop getting so much junk mail in Outlook?
Junk mail seems to be a problem that everyone faces. However, you can report spam emails in Outlook and unsubscribe from promotional emails to help lower the amount of spam you receive.
Why can't I block junk emails in Outlook?
Unfortunately, Outlook doesn’t have a universal option to block junk emails. However, you can use the block sender list to remove messages from addresses you no longer wish to hear from.
How do you stop unwanted emails on Hotmail?
Here is the path to stop unwanted emails on Hotmail. Log in to your Hotmail account in the Outlook app for desktop and click: Home → Delete group → Junk → Junk Email Options. When you get to this page, you can make the desired changes to your junk email options.
How do I change my junk mail settings in Outlook?
If you want to change your junk email settings on a Microsoft computer, you need to open Microsoft Outlook and navigate to Home → Junk → Junk E-mail Options. If you're on a Mac, click the Tools menu and select Junk Email Preferences.