Why Is My Hotmail Junk Filter Not Working? (Detailed Guide)

Why Is My Hotmail Junk Filter Not Working

Have you noticed junk mail making it into your inbox even though Hotmail junk email filters are turned on?

Me too!

Outlook’s (previously Hotmail) junk filters evaluate every incoming email and decide whether an email belongs in your inbox or in the junk folder based on parameters such as email content, when that email was sent, who sent it, etc.

In this article, I will show you how to customize your email settings properly so that Hotmail junk emails end up in junk and legit emails end up in your inbox.

Reasons For Hotmail Not Filtering Junk Mail

We cannot exhaust the reasons for Hotmail not filtering junk mail as these are on a case-by-case basis. However, the majority of the time, junk email filtering issues come down to the following:

When you haven’t configured your junk email settings, or if those settings aren’t configured properly. Similarly, legitimate emails will end up going to the junk emails folder if you don’t customize the filters properly.

After software has been retired, this may interfere with existing configurations of related or dependent software. This, for example, happened when SmartScreen was retired in 2016, affecting junk email filter options.

In addition, users with more than one Outlook account may experience this problem if they have only configured junk email settings for one account, even when all of them are running from the same mail app.

Methods To Fix Outlook Junk Mail Filter To Reduce Spam

Note: The methods below are based on outlook.live.com. If you are using Outlook on your desktop, navigate to the section below on “Tips for Fixing Junk Email on Desktop Outlook”

Method 1: Check Outlook Junk Mail Filter Settings

Step 1: Log into your Outlook email account then click on the Settings icon (it’s the cogwheel on the top right corner of your screen). This will open up the drop-down box shown below.

How to set hotmail filters_step 1

Step 2: Navigate to the end of that drop down and click “view all outlook settings”.

How to set hotmail filters_step 2

This will launch a detailed settings dialog box on your screen.

Step 3: Scroll down and click “Mail”, then click “Junk Email”. This will open up Outlook junk email settings, which has a section for adding emails you want to block and safe emails. If you have specific emails in mind that you would like to block, add them to the relevant section.

How to set hotmail filters_step 3

There’s also a section where you can add safe mailing lists. Add any allowed mailing lists in this section.

Lastly, scroll down to the Filters section and select the two options, then save.

How to set hotmail filters_step 3b

Note that after enabling these options, any disallowed emails will be automatically filtered out. Any time you receive new emails from a legitimate sender, add their email addresses to your mailing lists.

Method 2: Fix Junk Mail From Inside Your Inbox

Let’s assume you receive a new email and it lands in your inbox. If you click on that email and go to more options (the three dots encircled in the image below), you’ll see options to either handle the email as junk or not junk.

Method 2 of Filtering Hotmail junk emails_

If you double click on the email to open it in its own window, you’ll also have the same options, where you can block or mark the email as “Not Junk”.

Method 2 of Filtering Hotmail junk emails_2

Method 3: Check Service Status

Microsoft has a service portal where you can check the status of all your services including One Drive, Skype, MSN, Microsoft To-Do, Your phone, and your Outlook account.

Open the website on your computer to check the status of your Hotmail account. You don’t need a log in.

Method 3 of fixing Hotmail junk emails_.jpg

Method 4: Set Rules in Outlook

Rules give you more power to decide how to customize spam handling. You can for instance set a rule such as:

“When I get a message From Sender X, containing the following words (name words) in the subject line, Mark as junk”.

In this example,

The rule is: When I get a message

There are two conditions: An email from sender X and keywords

There is also one action: Mark as junk

So, any time that sender sends you an email, it will be automatically be marked as junk.

You can also set exceptions to your rules to avoid messages being erroneously marked as junk.

Method 4 of fixing hotmail junk email

If you are setting rules in an exchange account (your desktop outlook mail client), your interface may look a bit different but the rule options remain the same.

Method 4 of fixing hotmail junk email_rules in exachange

Method 5: Use Anti-Spam Software

While Outlook filters work and I certainly do recommend you use them, you should also try out anti-spam software because they have a wider reach in terms of what they can do.

From blocking DDOS attacks to Malware, viruses, and phishing attacks, most anti-spam software relies on machine learning to do what they do effectively.

Some anti-spam software are free, others are freemium and others are paid. Some only cover Microsoft’s services while others cover different mail services like Thunderbird, Gmail and Yahoo.

Other Reasons For Hotmail Not Filtering Spam Emails

Doing any of the things below could also result in an increase in outlook junk mail, or worse.

  1. Replying to emails from unknown people, or clicking on links from unknown email IDs.
  2. Installing unverified software or third-party extensions
  3. Working with outdated email software or browser, outdated versions of software are more vulnerable to exploitation by spammers.
  4. Giving access permission to unknown applications. In this case, find those applications and uninstall them. You may also have applications in your file that you didn’t install or don’t remember doing so. Uninstall them.
  5. Sharing your Hotmail email address on forums or on social media

Tips For Fixing Junk Email On Desktop Outlook: Adjust The Sensitivity Of Your Filters

Outlook (Hotmail) on desktop gives you additional options for increasing the sensitivity of your Outlook junk filters. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Outlook on your desktop. On the Home tab, select the blocked icon. It’s on the “delete” group.
Adjust junk filters sensitivity

2. Next select junk email options.

Adjust junk filters sensitivity_2

3. Set your filtering option to high. If you want to go for very extreme measures, you can decide to permanently delete all suspected junk or to only enable safe lists.

Adjust junk filters sensitivity_3

Note from the options above that you can also set safe senders lists, safe recipients, and blocked senders, just like you can on outlook.live.com.

Why Is There A Hotmail Junk Mail Increase In Recent Years?

If you have noticed an increase in your Hotmail junk mail recently, it could be due to these reasons:

Your Hotmail filters aren’t sensitive enough. For example, setting to “no automatic filtering” will allow most junk mail to pass through into your inbox.

It is also possible that you may have subscribed to a third-party site, which later sold your email to spammers.

Spammers also trawl sites looking for email addresses. Any information shared in text format is spammable.

The outlook junk mail folder may also be full or inactive. Empty or enable it if any of these options apply. It’s always good to change the passwords of your mailbox regularly to keep it from being compromised.

If you suspect that your inbox is compromised, change your password. But before you do, run a virus scan on your computer to ensure there are no trojans messing with your mailbox or passwords.