How to “unjunk” messages

October 17, 2006

You’re in a panic.  A whole batch of new messages just showed up, then disappeared from your Inbox.  You check the trash, they’re not there.  You check some of your saved messages folders, they’re not there.  You know one of them was important, but you don’t know where it is!  Calm down, everything’s going to be fine.  You’ve just experienced the magic of the Junk Mail Filter.  Until you’ve trained it to know what you think is or is not junk, it will continue to think lots of things are junk and do what you just described.  Here’s how to help the filter learn and retrieve your messages.

  1. Go to your Junk folder.  Inside this folder, you will find a list of messages.  Some are probably “keepers” and others are ones you’d like to throw away.
  2. Click on one of the “good” messages.  When you do this, it will show you the message, but at the top, there is a green section that says “Thunderbird thinks this message is junk” and a button labeled “This is Not Junk”.
  3. Hit that button.  Unfortunately, hitting this button doesn’t magically put this message into your Inbox, so…
  4. Drag the message back to your Inbox.
  5. Repeat this process for the messages in the Junk folder that you would like to keep.

Junk Mail Folder

This is a small hassle, but it’s worth it to not have to read through a thousand ads for “male enhancement” or other solicitations for who knows what.  Keep training that filter and it will, eventually, start getting it right more often than it gets it wrong.