Step-By-Step: Stop the Spam--How to Filter Out Junk E-Mail

We'll spare you the discouraging statistics on e-mail spam. Just look at your in-box. Day in and day out, spam costs individuals and corporations time and money. Purveyors of spam are getting cleverer all the time, but so are the makers of software designed to stop it.

Though the newest versions of Microsoft Outlook (included in Office 2003) and Eudora incorporate sophisticated spam-blocking features, users of older e-mail clients such as Outlook Express will need more-powerful blocking tools.

A wide range of reasonably priced and free spam filters are available. Some integrate with your e-mail client, and some are stand-alone. All employ combinations of automatic and semiautomatic spam-stopping techniques. See "Natural-Born Spam Killers" for an overview of blocking technology, and go to this link for a list of downloadable antispam utilities.

Every antispam package is different, but most share some core features. Below is a list of common settings for maximizing spam blocking, though your software may not have all of them. The examples shown are from Symantec's Norton AntiSpam 2004, Sunbelt Software's IHateSpam ($20), and MailWasher (free). We can't show details for every program, so read the manual and online help for your software carefully.

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