When Microsoft released the Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) for Exchange 2003 I wrote an article for a German magazine about it. IMF is quite impressive compared to other spam filters, that we began using it right away. We have relatively seldom false positives, but recently the IMF identified our own newsletter as spam. So I wanted to add the sender of the newsletter to the Safe Senders list of Outlook 2003 on all our machines using Group Policies.

We added the ADM files for Office 2003 to the GPO editor. The settings for the junk mail filter can be found here: User Configuration -> Administrative Templates ->Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 ->Tools|Options -> Preferences ->Junk E-Mail. There you can specify the path to a text file containing the email addresses which shall be added to the Safe Senders list of Outlook. The only problem was that it didn't work at all. After googling about the problem for a while I found the solution.

imf_gpo.jpgFirst of all one should install Service Pack 2 for Office 2003. Second, it seems that the Safe Senders list is only imported into Outlook if the JunkMailImportLists key in the Windows Registry is set to 1. This can also be done automatically on all computers in your network using Group Policy. You can use this ADM file for it:

Class User
CATEGORY "Junk Mail Import Lists"
KEYNAME Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Options\Mail
POLICY "Enable Junk Mail Import Lists"
VALUENAME JunkMailImportLists

imf_fully_managed.jpgThis setting is only visible in the GPO editor if you disable "Only show policy settings that can be fully managed" in the filter under view.

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The email addresses of the Safe Senders list will be visible in Outlook (Tools|Options|Junk-Email) after the user logged on the client computer. I recommend that you also disable "Overwrite or Append Junk Mail Import List" in the Group Policies. Otherwise you will delete the safe senders that were added manually by the Outlook user.

  1. John 15 years ago

    This is very helpful except that the ADM path you give is a registry setting not a Group policy Editor path setting. Could you give Where it is in GPO editor? I have disabled the "Only show policy settings that can be fully managed" thank you


  2. John 15 years ago

    I figured out that this is a txt file with an .adm extenstion. I finally imported into Group Policy editor after many errors. Adding a couple of lines after the last line in the file cleared that up. The option Junk Mail Import lists shows up but there is no configurable options. Dont know if this is supposed to be like that or not. My policy is still not working. I have set the "Junk Email protection level" to trusted list only - enabled "trust email from contacts" - enabled "Add people I email" - Specified path to senders list.

    Any ideas??

  3. John, first, you should get the ADM files for Office 2003 (see above). Then, copy the code from my post to Outlook11.adm. You'll find similar entries in that file. Then load this ADM file in the GPO editor (right click on Administrative Templates in the GPO editor). Don’t forget to adjust the filter in the GPO editor as described in my post. If you are not familiar with ADM files please check out this knowledge base article: http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb%3Ben-us%3B816662&x=11&y=13

  4. John 15 years ago

    I am almost there. Thanks for all of your help. The only part that is not working is the policy is not reading the shared list. It is described as \\servername\sharename\safe.txt I have toggled several of the settings and have done a gpupdate to see if the policy is reading at all and it is. The domain names that I want appended just wont show up on my safe senders list. Any ideas? Thanks again for all of your help.


  5. John, do you see the JunkMailImportLists setting? Did you enable it? How did you check if the safer senders list is active? You should see the email addresses in Outlook. They are together with the user’s safe senders. Maybe you just have to reboot the machine where Outlook is installed.

  6. John 15 years ago

    I added your setting to the oulk11.adm file and it does show up. I did enable it. What settings, if any do I need to do on the Server side for IMF? I checked to see if IMF shows up in ESM in the global settings, and I enabled the "Apply Intelligent Message Filter" on the SMTP virtual server. I have created "Safe.txt" file and put it on \\server\safe\safe.txt and have added a couple of entries. I even tried exporting the txt file from Outlook. I can not get the addresses to show up in my Safe senders list on my machine within Outlook. The policy appears to be pulling down, becaus all of the other setting for the Junk Email options are greyed out. If I undo, lets say the add eamil to people I send to, settign and do a gpupdate. The setting goes away or is un-greyed out allowing me to manually control it. IF I undo that, and do another gpupdate the settings reappear as selected and greyed out. I have:

    E2k3 sp2 applied
    Outlook 2003 sp2
    Group polily management latest version
    I have, as far as I can tell, enabled IMF on server
    I have added your lines to the otlk11.adm file (and the option shows up in Group Policy manager.
    I enabled the JunkMailImportLists setting
    I have enabeled Group policies for Cached mode - and several to include safe senders under the Junk eamil section of the otlk11.adm file. I am at a complete loss here, and frustrated. Dont know what else to try. Is it server related or registry related or group policy related. Once again Thank you. and if you have any suggestions I sure appreciate it.


  7. Well, it is really difficult to say what went wrong in your case. It seems that you configured everything correctly. Check if the registry key JunkMailImportLists at Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Options\Mail is really set to 1. Use the registry editor to check this. The IMF settings don’t influence the safe senders list. You should be able to use Group Policies to import email addresses in Outlook even if you don’t have IMF installed. You can also try if you are able to access your safe.txt from the client computer using the Windows Explorer. Maybe your user account doesn’t have the rights to access it. The email addresses in safe.txt have to be separated by line breaks. Hope that helps.

  8. John 15 years ago

    It is working. I finall created a test user and it worked. I then deleted my Outlook profile and created another one and it worked. Thanks for all the help.


  9. Mark 15 years ago

    What happens if clients don't have SP2 or are running older versions of Outlook? It doesn't break anything does it?

  10. As far as I remember IMF won't work then, i.e. it does not filter mails for these post boxes. These users will just get their SPAM as usual 😉

  11. Mark 15 years ago

    Yeah, they will get spam. 🙂 My question was more along the lines of group policy trying to apply settings to outlook11 when a client may have outlook10 or outlook9. Any potential issues? I am just trying to determine if it is safe pushing to 900+ users running 3 different versions of outlook with different service pack levels.

  12. John 15 years ago

    The roll out of my "Junk E-mail" filtering policy is still haunting me. The adding of domains by a network shared list is working -- Thank you -- But enabling cached mode for existing users who did not have cached exchange mode enabled is not working. Basically the policy setting to enable cached exchange mode is not turning on for these users. I have found this article:
    it says to apply this setting "Select Cached Exchange Mode for new profiles drop-down list" I do not see this setting in the outlk11.adm template. How can I turn on Cached exchange mode for all of my existing users who are not currently using cached exchange mode? I am currently using the setting - User --> Administrative Templates----> Microsoft Outlook 2003 ----> Tools Email Accounts ---> Cached Exchange Mode --> Enabled ---download full details. Any ideas?


  13. Hi John,
    sorry, I never used Group Policy to enable the cached mode of Outlook. However, I recommend not doing this. I used cached mode myself for a while and I often had problems with it. You don’t need it for the IMF or for importing safe senders. So why you do you want to enable cached mode?

  14. Thorben 15 years ago

    Hi all,

    to establish the policy as 'NOT tattooed', replace the line

    KEYNAME Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Options\Mail


    KEYNAME Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Options\Mail

    Works also, and the regkey is removed if you don't want to use the policy anymore.

  15. John 15 years ago

    We are using Outlook 2003 as our client. Outlook 2003's Junk E-mail option will not work unless the Cached Exchange mode is set. I guess I don't fully understand the IMF in regards to Outlook 2003. IMF is setup on our 2003 server - can it do all of the filtering for Outlook? Thanks again.


  16. John, the SPAM filter of Outlook and the IMF use the same rules. So, you can disable Outlook filtering. The only difference between the Outlook filter and the IMF is that the latter filters mails on the server. That is the reason why you don’t need to run Outlook in cached mode. The Outlook filter can only work after all mails are on the client machine. Otherwise the network traffic would be too high, I suppose.

    Thorben, thanks a lot for the tip!

  17. Nick 15 years ago

    Guys, Thanks for all the useful advise I now have this up and running, just 1 thing, If I use %logonserver% wildcard in the group policy to specify the location of my safesenders text file the file isn't read. If i use \\servername it works fine. ie

    %logonserver%\netlogon\safesender.txt (doesn't work)
    \\servername\netlogon\safesender.txt (works fine)

    Have a feeling this might be an issue in GP but can't remember anyone used this?

  18. Why do you need this environment variable? Do you have more than one safesender.txt?

  19. Nick 15 years ago

    I have various locations in the UK and Europe that will be using the safesender.txt, and would prefer to leverage the file replication of the netlogon share to avoid users coming over internet links to 1 particular server. It's not a major problem at the moment (the txt file is v small) but just think it would be a "tidier" solution to have each location looking at their local copy. I suppose i could get around it by creating a seperate policy for each location and linking it to a site, but I'm always looking for the "least effort" method.

  20. Ian 15 years ago

    Nick Were you able to find a fix for the %logonserver%\netlogon\safesender.txt?
    I'm having the same problem it works fine with the server name but i dont want all my users coming to one domain controller.

    Thank you in advanced.

  21. Nick 15 years ago

    no sorry Ian, I never managed to get that to work I just stuck with the one DC.

  22. Jason 15 years ago

    Hello Michael, when trying to append the information you posted

    Class User
    CATEGORY “Junk Mail Import Lists

  23. Jason, if you pasted the text from the web page then the quotation marks might be the problem. Delete them after you pasted the text and then key them in again. Hope that helps.

  24. Josh 15 years ago

    I actually had a bit of trouble with the information posted above. Here is what I did to fix it...

    Class User

    CATEGORY "Microsoft Office Outlook 2003"
    CATEGORY "Tools | Options..."
    CATEGORY "Preferences"
    CATEGORY "Junk E-mail"
    KEYNAME Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Options\Mail
    POLICY "Enable Junk Mail Import Lists"
    VALUENAME JunkMailImportLists

    This will add the entry to the correct location in the Microsoft Office 2003 / Tool | Options area for the junk mail settings. I haven't pushed this out via group policy yet but I have tested with my Local Settings using gpedit.msc.

  25. adam 14 years ago

    Ive successfully managed to get this working, all users now imports the safe senders list from a share on the server.
    However, if I add a safe sender to the list, it only updates it locally on my machine and not the file on server for everyone.

    The file has the approperiate permissions.
    Does anyone know why this wouldnt update?


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