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Archiving filtered messages

You're filtering for spam, but what if a message isn't spam and needs to be retrieved. Here's how you can archive these messages.

Some users may implement filters on their Exchange Servers as an added precaution against spam mail. I received a request from an administrator who implemented message filtering on her Exchange 5.5 Server but was puzzled as to how to retrieve filtered messages. When message filtering is implemented, Exchange, by default, does not automatically archive filtered messages but instead deletes them. The following procedure shows how to archive filtered messages on both Exchange 5.5 and 2000 Servers.

Exchange 5.5

With Exchange 5.5 you will have to perform two operations:

  • Making changes to the Internet Mail Service
  • Making changes to the registry*

These changes will require restarting the IMS service and possibly rebooting the server after making changes to the registry. So you may need to perform this operation during off-peak hours.

  1. In the Exchange Administrator program go to the IMS object.
  2. Click on the Connections tab then select the Message Filtering Button.
  3. Deselect the checkbox that says "Delete Messages Instead Of Moving To The Turf Directory."
  4. Click OK.

Restart the Internet Mail Service for these changes to take effect.

Registry Changes

  1. Create a directory labeled: turf. This is where all of the filtered messages will be stored.
  2. Run Regedt32.exe.
  3. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetServicesMSExchangeIMCParameters
  4. Select the TurfDir value.
  5. Click Edit then select String. Here you can enter the path for the Turf directory you created.
  6. Stop and start the Internet Mail Service.

Exchange 2000

With exchange 2000 you need to first implement a messaging filter and then make changes to the filter.

Implementing the Messaging Filter

  • Open the Exchange System Manager
  • Expand the Global Settings
  • Right-Click Message Delivery and select Properties
  • Select the Filtering Tab
  • Click the add button. This will display the add sender dialog box
  • Here you can enter the e-mail address that you would like to add to the filter list.

Archiving Filtered Messages

In the Filtering Tab screen you will also be presented with three check boxes. Click on the checkboxes that say, "Archive filtered messages" and "Accept messages without notifying sender of filtering" to allow messages from the sender to be archived. The directory where the archive mail will be stored is exchsrvrmailrootSERVER(name of virtual server)Filter.

Once the process above is completed you will then need to enable the message filter on the SMTP Virtual Server.

  • Open Exchange System Manager
  • Navigate down to your server
  • Expand the protocols container under your server
  • Expand the SMTP container
  • Right-click on the virtual server that you would like to apply your filtering to and select properties
  • Click the advanced button
  • Select the relevant IP address and then click on edit
  • Select the Apply Filter checkbox

* Always use caution when editing the registry, as some changes could make Windows inoperable.


Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association Of Internet Professionals, the Institute For Network Professionals, and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.


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