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Outlook 2003 rules failure

Sorry to post a tech-support type question here, but this is driving me nuts and the usual MS KB searches, Google, and newsgroup checks have turned up nothing useful. Since I'm sure other JoS readers can share the horror of seeing their inboxes suddenly begin overflowing with spam that used to be under control, I'm hoping someone might have a clue how to work around this.

I upgraded my Outlook XP client to Outlook 2003 over the weekend, and now it seems that inbox rules no longer fire. This means that the junk mail that SpamAssassin is flagging on the server is no longer getting filtered out of my inbox. I've tried recreating the rule from scratch, and it works fine as long as I run it manually, but it seems that for some reason it's not triggered when new mail arrives.

I'm *not* running Exchange Server; I'm using IMAP connections to mailboxes on my hosting provider. I've looked at and played with just about every rules- and receive-behavior-related option I can find in Outlook to no avail. Yes, I suppose I could manually run the rule each time I fire up Outlook, but that seems unnecessarily painful (the UI for this is pretty retarded if you ask me), though it's probably necessary if I can't find another workaround.

Oh, and the problem isn't that I'm filtering on body text when I have only downloaded message headers; the filter is just "subject includes **JUNK**", so it should work even with just headers being downloaded.

Anyone else encountered this problem and know of a fix?

John C.
Monday, April 12, 2004


Is SpamAssassin still flagging the emails you received?

Ram Dass
Monday, April 12, 2004

Do you have lots of rules?  Outlook has a 32K character limit per account for *all* rules.  In Outlook 2003 they made the rules take unicode characters effectively sawing your rules limit in half since unice takes two bytes per char.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Yes, Ram, SpamAssassin is still flagging the messages and if I run the rule manually it does sort them out.

Paul, this is the only rule I have, so I don't think the 32K limit is the problem ;-)

John C.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Outlook 2003 fucks up Spam Assassin. It's a well known bug. Go to the Sunbelt site and get the patch.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I'm having the same rules don't fire automatically like they should.  I am connected to Exchange 2000 via IMAP.  Very frustrating.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

We had a case at work where upgrading to 2003 stopped all client side rules working.

If you move a .pst to another location the same thing happens.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, April 15, 2004

I've got the same problem. Client rules don't fire. We are using Exchange. On Outlook 2000,  I had written my own filtering routine and hung it on the Newmail event. When I "upgraded" to 2003, I deleted my routine because the stuff in 2003 was "good enough" and I was tired of enabling the macros every time I loaded Outlook. The client rules have never automatically fired. They run fine when I run them manually. Other people have no problems. Maybe it's something that the "upgrade" process screwed up. I've also had other conversion-related problems. I keep getting a popup saying it had a problem with an "ECF File", whatever that is, and it "Has a problem with a reminder - can't find the appointment it refers to. I found the appointment by doing a search for it. It doesn't appear on my calendar and I can't delete it from the search box because Outlook can't find it to delete it. Looks like Outlook is living down to Microsoft's quality standards.

Greg Steele
Thursday, April 22, 2004

If you find the solution please share as I am having the same problem (apparently a lot of people are by a search but MS isn't saying much).

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I have to say that I have similar problem to yours.
I have 28 rules in my Outlook 2003 that is connected to Exchange v5.5.
1) After upgrading from Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2003 Beta 2, some of the rules wasn't processed automatically, I had everytime go to menu and run all rules manualy (why is not there any button for "RUN ALL RULES NOW" ???, I have to selecet everytime 28 rules !!!)
2) After reinstalling my system and installing Outlook 2003 (final version) the problem with rules was there again.
3) I neede to add another rule once - O2003 didn't allow me to do it - I searched Microsoft and found the limits - very funy MS!!! So I have reduced their names and got it added.
After some time I wanted to clear some characters on one of the rules (like "MS Win98, Win95" to "MS W9x") it said me again about the limits - aaagrrrhh !!!! So I had again to reduce the rules - at the begining I had more then 28 rules - I had about 36 rules.

Has anyone any cure for this ??? At least a program / plugin that enables me some button like "Run ALL rules now" ???
I'm thinking about AutoIt,  but if there is something else, maybe it would be usable too ...

What why the hell are not all rules processed ?

BTW. When starting Outllok 2003 each new day I see that O2003 runs the whole set of rules on each message instead of running one rule in the whole inbox and then continue witrh another rule ... ???? Why it takes more time then running rules manually ???

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Where are the rules stored?

Dave Jackson
Saturday, May 8, 2004

I have the same problem.

George Payne
Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I've been going nuts reorganizing my rules to make them fit into the Exchange server 32K limit. Finally I made them fit by making a two-pass approach of first assigning categories and then moving messages based on the categories. But, of course, they don't work because the Outlook client-side message won't fire automatically. I have to run them manually.

I thought I might ease the pain somewhat by doing less sorting by folder and instead using coloring. So, I set up rules that color messages based on category. That doesn't work either! Even though the rule is easy to set up (Organize->Using Colors->Automatic Formatting...), Outlook 2002 refuses to color based on category.

David M
Monday, June 7, 2004

Just FYI; having the same concern.  I've upgraded from XP to 2003 and performed clean installs on multiple machines and when importing the rules; they do not show up under the "Run Rules" dialog; it's just blank.  Activating my SPAM rules under my Inbox also fails.  I've tried this on an IMAP account, POP3 account, and direct connect to an Exchange 2000 server.  As of this morning, there wasn't a hot fix or resolution on TechNet (that I could find).

David Longnecker
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Got this from a tip site. hope it helps:

If you use Outlook 2003 and have multiple POP3 accounts you may use Rules to move the messages to their own folders. However, when you use rules to move message, the new Junk Email filter doesn't remove the junk mail from those accounts.

To avoid this problem, use rules to set flags on each account so you can see at a glance which messages are from which account. You can use the For Follow Up search
folder to see the messages grouped by flag color.

Or create a search folder for each account. Create a Custom search folder and used the Advanced tab on the criteria to filter by E-mail account. Enter the display name of the account, as seen in Send/Receive.

A third option is to create views for each account, using Filter's Advanced tab.

Using an older version of Outlook? While you don't have the junk filtering problem or search folders, you can create custom views or an Advanced Find to view email by accounts.

Kureen Paige
Thursday, July 15, 2004

So does anyone know where the rules are stored or what?

I have lost about 50 of em' I want them back but cannot find them.

Please help...

Chris Jackson
Friday, July 23, 2004

I have found that setting up rules using the Out of Office Assistant works.  This is the only solution i have found so far when using 2003 and Exchange.

Jon Reed
Sunday, August 8, 2004

I'm having a similar problem with user rule forwarding mail to their blackberry account.  The strange part is when the rule quites working (about every 2-3 weeks) when you delete the rule and put the (exact) same rule back in it starts working.

I just now went in to the Exchange server and did the 'delivery options' thing that was suggested and previous post.  The test worked.  Time will tell if its more stable than the Rules Wizard.

Friday, August 13, 2004

For the last two days I have been having a similar problem but rather than not working at all they just seem to take about 5 minutes before they are applied. I am running Office xp on XP with an exchange surver.  Bloody irritating because the mails come in and they sit and look at you until you cannot take it any more and move them yourself or simply open the rules dialog which gets them to run.

Iain Beal
Thursday, September 2, 2004

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