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.

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How to Set Up Junk Mail Controls

October 5, 2006

JunkMailControlsSo you’re getting a bunch of junk mail and you want it just go away, but it keeps coming. Wouldn’t it be nice if Thunderbird could learn what is and isn’t junk and then make the bad stuff go away? Actually, it can. Let me show you how to set it up.

Go to Tools > Junk Mail Controls. Here you are going to find the preferences and settings for the built-in Junk Mail filter for Thunderbird.

To set it up, start by click the “Move incoming messags determined to be junk mail to:” box. Make sure the “Automatically delete junk messages older than _ days from this folder” option is also checked.

Next, check the box that says “When I manually mark messages as Junk:” and sure the “Move them to the ‘Junk’ Folder” option is the one that is selected.

Then, check the box that says “When displaying HTML messages marked as junk, santize the HTML”.

There is an option that you don’t have to check, but it might be a good idea to set up. At the top of the Settings tab, you can tell Thunderbird to not mark messages as junk if the message is sent from certain people. In my case, since I work at school I told Thunderbird to not mark any messages from people in my school address book as junk mail. You might want to do the same for your family address or just everyone in your Personal Address Book. This will help prevent good mail from going into the junk filter and being deleted.

Now that you’ve done all that, your junk mail controls are set up and ready to use. You’re probably saying to yourself, “What did I just do and why? How do I use the Junk Mail Filters?” Read the rest of this entry »