Inbox Rules aren't running when messages are received

  • Thread starter Christian Blackburn
  • Start date

Christian Blackburn

Hi Gang,

My Outlook 2003 rules aren't running automatically. I have four of
them and when I do run them (manually) on my Junk Mail folder they
delete about 64/100 e-mails safely. Naturally, I would like my rules
to run on every new e-mail as it comes in or at the very least when I
first open the junk mail folder. I have it set to check messages
after they arrive. Is there some setting that makes it check these
messages as or when they arrive?

Christian Blackburn

Remove ABCD from Email address to reply

How do you know the rules aren't running? I suspect the real problem is the
way that Outlook processes email upon arrival. When email arrives Outlook
decides if the email is spam and sends it to the junk mail folder before
processing rules and the email will then bypass any rules. If Outlook does
not classify the email as spam then the rules come into play.

Diane Poremsky

Junk mail is filtered first, then your rules run. They will not run on the
mail moved to the junk folder by outlook.

Christian Blackburn

Hi Guys,

Thank you both very much for your help. Is there any way to have the
rules run automatically when I open the junk mail folder? Perhaps I
could write a macro or something? Last I knew Outlook 2003 had the
worst macro capabilities, because Microsoft is too worried about e-
mail security and doesn't seem to be able to conceptually separate the
two. I would even settle for being able to press a keyboard combo and
have a macro run my rules.



Junk mail is filtered first, then your rules run. They will not run on
the mail moved to the junk folder by outlook.

It sure would be nice (in some future version) to have an option on a
mail rule to "Run this on new mail but before the junk mail filter".

I object to using my disk space for mail I know to be junk.

Diane Poremsky

Because of the way the junk filters work (they are not part of the rules
engine), they either need to run before or after rules - you can't run some
rules before junk filter then some after. When Outlook 2003 was released,
rules ran first. Users who used rules to move all mail based on accts were
moving a lot of junk. Ol2003 SP1 changed the order so junk is filtered first
then rules run.

The amt of disk space the mail in Outlook's junk folder uses it not much -
mine is 6 megs on a 100 gb drive for 1 days worth of junk (almost 600 items
right now). You can set autoarchive to run every day or so and set the junk
mail folder to have autoarchive delete mail more than xx days old so that it
never builds up but gives you time to look for false positives.

If this is still unacceptable, disable Outlook's junk filtering and use a
3rd party tool - many are trainable and configurable. Some are free. Most
work better than Outlook's. Sue's low maintenance method also works good.
See for Sue's method and other


Ol2003 SP1 changed the order so junk is filtered first then rules run.

Aha! That explains the extra junk mail that's been finding its way into
my junk mail folder.

I was merely stating a preference for the following sequence:

1. Run my rules that say "run before junk mail filtering"
2. Run junk mail filtering
3. Run my rules that say "run after junk mail filtering"

I'm a programmer, I'd estimate the additional code required to support
that at about 40 lines of code.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I'd *definitely* suggest:

4. Run the new mail notification LAST, if anything survived.

Diane Poremsky

It would take a lot more than 40 lines as junk mail is not rules based. It
uses a different filtering engine and either needs to run before or after
rules. Allowing users to choose which goes first or trying to start the
rules engine, stop it, then restart it for each message has the potential to
introduce a lot of bugs.... however, feel free to use your programming
skills to write a replacement for the rules engine and junk mail filtering
that will be highly customizable. Or just use one of the other junk email
filtering solutions that are available for Outlook - most support more
configurations and suffer fewer false positives.

See for 3rd party junk

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