Outlook Junk Mail Filter through Group Policy

outlook junk mail filterA quick fix to provide a safe senders list to an organization through group policy and outlook settings.

I am running a Windows Server 2003 domain, a mix of Windows XP – Windows 7, and Office 2007.

I had an issue where certain emails from a specific domain periodically go to users’ junkmail. Here are the steps to publish a safe senders list through group policy. The first two steps are not required, but recommend for this solution.

1) Set expectations that even after implementing this policy, you cannot guarantee that the issue will never happen again.
2) Allow domain.com through any centralized spam filtering systems.
3) Create a .txt file that stores a list of safe senders (domains or addresses) each on a new line
4) Save the .txt file to a file share that is accessible by all clients. I put it on \DCNetlogon
5) Add the Office 2007 Administrative Template to group policy.
Office 2003
Office 2010
6) Create a new GPO for customizing Outlook or Office. My policy is pretty slim so I use one GPO for all of Office.
7) In the GPO go to User Configuration>Policies>Administrative Templates>Microsoft Office Outlook 2007>Tools|Options…>Preferences>Junk Email
8) Open Specify path to Safe Senders list
9) Set this policy to enabled and specify that path to the .txt file you saved in step 4.
10) Now, here was the catch. This setting indeed tells Outlook where to locate the import file. It does not, however, tell Outlook to actually go import the file. This is done through a registry key. So in the same GPO navigate to User Configuration>Preferences>Windows Settings>Registry
11) Right Click Registry and select New Registry Item.
12) Set the properties to the following:
Action: Update
Key Path:SoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftOffice12.0OutlookOptionsMail
Value Name: JunkMailImportLists
Value Type: REG_DWORD
Value Data:1
Base: Decimal

I have not tested this with Office 2010, so if anyone has and can verify the registry location for me as well as if the steps are the same, I will gladly update and give credit.

Apply the group policy, and the next time GP is updated on the client and Outlook is restarted, the safe sender list will be imported.

8 thoughts on “Outlook Junk Mail Filter through Group Policy”

  1. I cant seem to find the following path in my GPO User Configuration>Preferences>Windows Settings>Registry

    Do you know what could cause this?

    Am using Windows Server 2003

  2. Does this import the list everytime Outlook is started? If the list is updated, will Outlook import the changes the next time it is started?

  3. Yes Outlook will import the list each time it opens. It will pick up the changes when it is restarted. One thing I never tested is if say you have [email protected] in the list and it is imported, and then you remove that email address from the txt file. I am not sure if that will stay in outlook or be removed. I just never actually tested that.

  4. Removing the address from the GPO's Safe Senders list does NOT remove it from Outlook.
    If anyone has an idea to globally remove an address from all Safe Senders lists please advise.

  5. Andrew – have you done any testing with Office 2010 yet? When I do a GPO edit with junk mail settings, I do not see the the optins you listed for adding a regustry key. Thanks for the help.

  6. you will need to change the registry key to overwrite the list of safe senders, then remove the email address from the list, then upon next Group Policy check, outlook will overwrite the local list with the list from the server and voila!

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