How to fight spam - the final guide

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 18, 2005
Updated • Mar 16, 2016

This short guide has the intention to provide new users with an easy way to enjoy the internet and avoid one big issue that stands between the enjoyment and that is mail spam or simply spam.

Once you create an email address you will sooner or later receive emails that promise you fortunes, penis enlargements (even for women), and lots of hot chicks who want to meet you, or that scare you into thinking there is something wrong with your PayPal or bank account, or credit card statement.

This soon gets very annoying (and maybe even costly in regards to bandwidth) and this guide tries to offer solutions to get rid of most of the spam with simple measures that don't take a degree in computer science to implement.

Fighting Spam

a. Email client

Spam is not a matter of the email client. Its still reasonable to choose a client that fits your purpose. Several weeks ago we found out that authors here on Ghacks are using different email clients. While none were using outlook (express), clients that were used differed a lot. My advice would be to choose a email client other than outlook, there are lots of free ones available, for example.

b. Spam prevention

There are many ways to get rid of most of the spam and even prevent that your email addresses are collected by the spammers, including..

Don't publish your email address on the net, if you have to publish it use a form that most spam collectors don't recognize, for example instead of writing [email protected] write admin (at) without making it a link. you could also use a form mailer which hides your email address (Update: Spammers have become sophisticated enough to parse obfuscated addresses as well, so not an option anymore). So, don't post your email on the Web, ever.

If you subscribe to certain services don't use your real email address that your friends write to.

Basically, you have two choices:

Create an email address simply for the purpose of subscribing to certain services on the net. You could use free email services like: Gmx or Yahoo or others, choose as you like.

If you want to subscribe to a service where you receive a "confirm your registration" email but never receive an email again from the service you could also use the following services.

there is a big list of additional services available here.

When the service you want to subscribe to asks for a valid email address enter anything you like in the form (for in this case, check the website for instructions)


Then switch to the mailinator website and enter "youchoosethistext" in the form field on the front page. You then see all mails that the user "youchoosethistext" received for the last hours. The mail from your service should be there and you can simply read and reply to finish your registration. The advantage of the method is that the email address you instantly created will be gone after a few hours, leaving no traces of your real email address or your identity (just for the record, the mailinator guys of course have your ip address and so does the service you registered an account with).

BUT, you should be aware that all other users are able to check the email for user "youchoosethistext" as well. So, if you registered on a forum like deny and people can see your email address ("youchoosethistext" they simply can go to the forum to request a new password to take over your account. So, either make sure you pick a unique email address that is not leaked anywhere ever, or use a service that you can password protect or limit in other ways instead.

What if I receive lots of spam already?

Lets assume you already receive lots of spam but you cant change your email address. You could choose to use a program that blocks spam before it arrives in your email client.

A program that sits between your client and the server of your email provider and checks all incoming mail blocking spam from being displayed in your email client.

Please note that some email clients ship with their own anti-spam solutions which means that you may not need these specialized third-party solutions in this case. Also, depending on the email provider, anti-spam may be used on the provider level as well.

The best third-party program for the purpose is in my opinion Spamahilator.

I tested spam-blocking programs in the past weeks and came to the conclusion that Spamahilator is simply the best: it's fast, blocks about 99% of all spam without configuration.

Some of its features are

  • block certain words, you can edit, add, delete words
  • block certain domains, allow domains to send
  • block attachments of a certain type
  • learn while receiving
  • added functionality with plugins

Its really easy to configure and to maintain.

Other programs worth mentioning.

Email checkers

Problem with many new, modern worms is obvious: they gotta be downloaded to the mail client. Some of them (attachments) don't even need to be run to start a nasty job if they make use of exploits, so downloading those messages can be dangerous.

Email checkers retrieve information about mail on the mail server. Some display the number of new messages while others display information about each mail like the subject line as well. Good ones come with options to delete mail on the server right away so that it does not arrive in your email client at all.

That's all you need to know and do to prevent most of the spam on the net, fairly easy isn't it?

Filtering mail from spammers

Some anti spam programs let you filter incoming mail based on email addresses, subject lines and even geographical regions. Internet Databases collect those addresses and provide lists containing them.

Some programs allow you to import the lists so you don't have to add all ips manually. Beware though, that adding a list might also filter out mail that you want to receive, if you want to add a list make sure to check it first before adding it.

Additional Information can be obtained:

How to fight spam - the final guide
Article Name
How to fight spam - the final guide
Find out how to fight spam to keep your email inbox clear from it using various easy to implement methods.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. JMGG said on January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

    You said that Outlook isn’t your main email client, so which is your main one?

    1. BalaC said on January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I think its thunderbird

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Salaam said on September 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Awesome! This actually solved my problem… what a stupid bug.

  3. Claud said on December 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

    If this is the same bug that I’ve encountered, there may be another fix: (1) hover over open Outlook item in Taskbar, cursor up to hover over Outlook window item, and right-click; (2) this should give you Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize — choose Move or Size; (3) use your cursor keys, going arbitrarily N/S/E/W, to try to move or size the Outlook window back into view. Basically, the app behaves as though it were open in a 0x0 window, or at a location that’s offscreen, and this will frequently work to resize and/or move the window. Don’t forget to close while resized/moved, so that Outlook remembers the size/position for next time.

    1. Lynda said on February 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      THANK YOU Claude!!! I could get the main window to launch but could not get any other message window to show on the desktop. You are my hero!!!!

    2. Chad said on November 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Solved my issue! 6 years later and this is still problem…

    3. Ivan X said on January 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

  4. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This solved my Outlook problem, too. Thank you. :)

  5. Charles said on December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you so much, this started happening to me today and was causing big problems. You are a life saver, I hope I can help you in some way some day.

  6. garth said on November 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    You are a god – thank you!

  7. Faisal said on February 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

    thanks a lot…. work like charm.. :-)

  8. Simon said on March 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Yah…thanks Claude. I’ve been having the same problem and tried all the suggestions…your solution was the answer. It had resized itself to a 0/0 box. Cheers

  9. Olu said on April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent post. This had me baffled even trying to accurately describe the problem. This fixed it for me.
    Thank you

  10. Coenig said on July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Thanks a lot for the article. Don’t know why it happenend, don’t know how it got fixed, but it was really annoying and now it works :-)

  11. Fali said on January 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks a lot. I was facing this issue from past 3 week. I tried everything but no resolution. The issue was happening intermittently and mainly when I was changing the display of screen ( as i use 2 monitors). The only option i had was to do system restore. But thanks to you.

    1. MIki said on January 10, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I’ve been tried to sole this problem for 12hours. Your comment about changing the display of screen helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

  12. Christina said on January 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you…don’t know why this happened but your instructions helped me fix it. Running Windows 10 and office pro 2007

  13. Oz said on July 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Great tip! Thanks!

  14. Tracy said on September 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

  15. shawn said on September 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    It’s Worked for me, too
    thank you very much!

  16. Jari said on October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I had a similar issue with Outlook 2013 on Windows 10 and this helped me to fix it. Thank you very much!

  17. Michel H said on November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you so much. Solved!
    Considering you published this in 2012, incredible not been debugged by Microsoft.
    Thank you again. M

  18. Ziad Bitar said on January 9, 2017 at 2:00 am

    This problem was faced by only one user logging to TS 2008 r2 using outlook 2010.The issue was resolved.


  19. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Great tip. Thank you!!!! If it helps, I had to use the Control Key and the arrow keys at the same time to bring my window back into view. Worked like a charm.

  20. Rochelle said on March 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

  21. anom1234 said on May 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Man, you are a fucking god. Thanks a lot, what an annoying bug!!

  22. JC said on October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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