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Freeware tool fine tunes Exchange's built-in spam filter

IMFCompanion is a no-cost spam tool that provides greater administrative control of Exchange 2003's Intelligent Message Filter functionality.

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Exchange 2003's Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) is a new function that helps Exchange administrators reduce spam deliveries to user inboxes. Spam gets filtered at the server level rather than the desktop, so users rarely, if ever, have to deal with it directly..

Messages trapped by the IMF are held in a subdirectory of Exchange's MAILROOT folder, which by default is EXCHSRVR\MAILROOT\VSI <x>\UCEARCHIVE. (The <x> is replaced by the SMTP virtual server instance number.) However, neither Exchange nor IMF provides any direct way to examine the contents of the folder. This is unfortunate, because this functionality can be useful if you're trying to determine the best confidence threshold for the spam filter, or if you're trying to recover an inadvertently blocked message.

IMFCompanion is a freeware tool that allows administrators to browse the UCEARCHIVE directory in an interactive way. The program uses a three-pane display: the top pane shows all the messages in the UCEARCHIVE; the bottom two panes show the header and body. Click "Unblock" to forward the message to Exchange's pickup directory for delivery. The pickup and UCEARCHIVE directories can be specified by the user.

Important note: If you don't have IMF set to archive messages (i.e., if it's set to delete or reject messages at the gateway), IMFCompanion won't be of much use.

Lastly, IMFCompanion can be used with any mail system where messages are stored in standard RFC 822 format, not just Exchange.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter and a regular contributor to SearchExchange.com.

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