Discard easily all spam mail without checking it!
Gmail and all major Desktop clients do a terrific job in classifying spam / junk mail, separating it in special folders. However, this is not the end of our problem, because once in a while, and rather often, some mail that we do want, is also classified as junk! This means, we have to browse the endless list of junk trying to locate what perhaps we need.
I tried to find some super filters list that would let me delete instantly real spam without the danger of deleting also useful messages. Unfortunately, this list does not exist! Then I tried to find some super powerful configuration in Gmail, Thunderbird and Outlook: it does not exist either! Then I thought of changing my email address with a new one that spammers do not have (for the moment). Impossible! I’d have to inform all of my friends and colleagues about this change, and even if I managed to do it, still, I don’t remember all those places where I used my current address to subscribe! if I change this address I’m in real danger of losing useful messages.
Here is what I finally did. Instead of fighting spam directly, why not try protecting the useful mail?. Now I knew I had a real solution, something that can be done. I opened the Message Filters dialogue of Thunderbird. Something similar you can find in any client and in the Filters of Gmail. If you read carefully, I’m sure you will be able to modify my directions, find a way to apply them in Outlook or any client.
The first rule I used saves instantly a lot of useful mail. Select From, then is in my address book, then Personal Address Book. Repeat this rule, each time selecting one of your other address books (assuming you have more than one). When you finish, proceed to the second step, Perform these actions and select Move Message to, then select any folder you like, e.g. the “Inbox”. Add another action rule, to Set Junk Status to “Not Junk” and another one to “Mark as Unread”.
This means that if you receive a message from a person, forum or anything, from any address that exists in any of your address books, this message immediately avoids junk classification, is saved in a normal folder and is marked as not junk and unread! If you tell also your client to automatically add to your address book anyone you send a message to, you will have immediately protected all the replies you might be getting from those recipients in the future!
Now you need to add a few more rules to your Filter to make it more powerful. Browse past messages in your mail folders and locate sources (“From”) and subjects of messages that you recall they have been wrongly classified as junk. Create rules to dictate that mail from these sources or with these subjects is treated the way your Filter treats any mail that comes from sources included in your address book(s).
Finally let your Super Saver Filter work and watch the results when new mail arrives. Check your spam / junk folder for a week or two in order to find out more messages that need to be protected and when you are sure that now in your spam folders nothing but spam arrives, you can stop worrying about it, no more browsing the endless list, you can leave it as it is to empty itself automatically in the schedule you configured, each day, each week, whatever. Just take care to have your filter run after junk classification, to avoid messing up with jobs performed by other filters on normal mail.