Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, June 24, 2004


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Windows & .NET Magazine


1. Commentary
- Day-to-Day with IMF

2. Resources
- Featured Thread: Pseudo Front-End Servers
- Outlook Tip: Adding Elements to Outlook Signatures

3. New and Improved
- Organize Outlook Notes
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!


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Editor's note: Share Your Exchange Discoveries and Get $100
Share your Exchange Server and Outlook discoveries, comments, or problems and solutions for use in the Exchange & Outlook Administrator print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions (500 words or less) to [email protected] We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length. If we print your submission, you'll get $100.


==== 1. Commentary: Day-to-Day with IMF ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected]

When Microsoft released the first version of the Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter (IMF), I installed it on two servers: my home server and my work server. Each server has about 20 users, and these users are fairly evenly divided between those who have used the same email address for years (like me) and those whose addresses are newer and thus less widely distributed. Some users on both servers liberally publicize their addresses, while others tightly guard them. Each server receives anywhere from 500 to 1000 legitimate messages and 200 to 400 spam messages per day. I was already using the excellent NetIQ MailMarshal SMTP to filter spam on both servers, so IMF didn't have much to do. Unfortunately, the old box I was using to run MailMarshal SMTP gave up the ghost this past week. Rather than rebuild it, I decided to let IMF have a crack at stopping the spam all by itself. To begin my test, I set the IMF gateway threshold to 6 and the store threshold to 8. (For more information about what these numbers mean and about IMF in general, see "Exchange Gets Filtered," November 2003, .) These values are fairly permissive, but I was a little worried about throwing away legitimate email. I set the IMF mode to Archive. After a few hours, I didn't see any messages in the archive; then I remembered that you have to stop and restart the Store on the machine that's running IMF to get the software to notice mode changes. After I did that, spam started hitting the archive directory. So far, the results have been pretty good. Most of the users are using Outlook 2003, a few folks use Outlook Web Access (OWA) only, and a handful of others run Microsoft Entourage 2004 for Mac (which uses a junk mail filter based on the same code as IMF and the Outlook 2003 Junk E-mail Filter). After 5 days, the users--and I--have gotten only a handful of spam in our Inboxes. IMF hasn't flagged any legitimate messages as spam at the gateway and has misjudged only two legitimate messages at the store threshold. (I found both messages in my Junk Mail folder. Interestingly, one of them was a post to a security mailing list, and one was a mailing-list message from a address. Go figure.) IMF definitely lacks many of the features I've grown accustomed to in third-party antispam products, though. For example, the IMF interface in Exchange System Manager (ESM) doesn't provide any way to review archived messages. However, Daryl Maunder has written a Web-based tool, and James Webster of the Exchange team at Microsoft has written a GUI tool in C#. Both are useful; you can find links to them, and screenshots, at . In addition, IMF requires you to use Performance Monitor to get statistical data about what's happening with messages, and you can't change the filter's rules. The software doesn't block attachments according to type, and it can't perform any kind of content-based inspection (e.g., quarantining inbound encrypted messages, selectively adding disclaimers from certain users). Still, IMF isn't intended to compete with third-party products. It's a simple, free spam filter meant to add one more level of protection--and it does a good job at that.


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==== 2. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Pseudo Front-End Servers
A forum reader has run into a problem while trying to implement a pseudo front-end server configuration. If you can help (or just want to join the discussion), go to the following URL:

Outlook Tip: Adding Elements to Outlook Signatures by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: We use Microsoft Word as our email editor (i.e., WordMail) with Outlook 2000. How can we add a business card and logo to our signature?

A: Microsoft Office 2000 uses AutoText entries for the email signature in WordMail. Any AutoText entry that you mark with the style called E-mail Signature will become an email signature. To create a WordMail signature that includes a picture such as a logo, perform the following steps:
- In a new Word document, create the signature you want to use. Click Insert, Picture to add a logo.
- Select the entire signature, click Format, Styles, then apply the E-mail Signature style.
- Format the text to your liking.
- Select the entire signature again, then click Insert, AutoText.

Your signature should now appear on the WordMail signatures list. Outlook stores these signatures in Word's template file.
You can't use this technique to attach a vCard, however. Personally, I find logos in signatures annoying because they increase the message size without adding any significant value for the recipient. Receiving a vCard attached to every message from a particular correspondent is even more annoying.
Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2002 make the process of creating signatures for WordMail easier because you no longer have separate signatures for the built-in Outlook editor and WordMail. Both editors use the same signature files--stored as .rtf, .htm, and .txt files for each message format--and you can edit them directly in the appropriate program (e.g., use Word for .rtf signatures).
See the Windows & .NET Magazine Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips.

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==== 3. New and Improved ==== by Angie Brew, [email protected]

Organize Outlook Notes
PhatWare released PhatNotes (formerly HPC Notes), a tool for organizing notes in Windows Mobile-based devices. You can use PhatNotes to import or export Outlook notes and email messages, or you can synchronize your notes directly with Outlook 2000 or later. PhatNotes lets you create notes and organize them by type, subject, creation date, or modification date. The product features rich text editing and formatting capability, hyperlinks between notes, customizable views, a spell checker, and a hierarchical notes organizer. PhatNotes is available in Lite, Standard, and Professional editions. For pricing, contact PhatWare at [email protected]

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