Exchange 2003 Front-end server running Brightmail 6

Exchange 2003 Back-end server with mail stores etc.

Spam is properly tagged by brightmail in header with flag 'X-bmifolder: 1'

In most cases these messages are moved to the user's 'Junk E-mail' folder as they should be, however a few are still making it to the inbox.

In talking with Symantec, they say all they do is tag the header and then Exchange moves the mail to the 'Junk E-mail' folder based on the tag. So therefore it's an issue with our Exchange server. Well that's fine if it's true, but what mechanism in Exchange is doing the move etc. so I can troubleshoot? It doesn't look like a standard tag, so how does Exchange even know how to process it?

As a work-around it looks like I can create a rule in the Outlook client to move the email based on text found in the header, but if it's a client side rule it's less than ideal and will only cover that user.

Note - somewhat similar question but for Exchange 2007: Can I enforce mail rules server-side in Exchange 2007?


I believe we've got this addressed now. The 'problem' was in fact on the exchange server side.

Exchange 2003 is able to understand the x-header after all and uses it to determine the Spam Confidence Level (SCL)

Here's a nice tutorial on viewing the SCL of email in Outlook.


With that I determined Exchange knew the email was spam but was still delivering it to the inbox.

Here's two quality links for how Exchange 2003/Outlook handle spam.

http://www.exchangeinbox.com/article.aspx?i=27&t=3&all=1 http://www.exchangeinbox.com/article.aspx?i=25&t=3&all=1

So it turned out the issue was the user had multiple people listed as contacts in Outlook, and Outlook by default white lists the address of anyone in your contacts. This applies equally to spammers spoofing the sender address.

So the answer was to go into OWA webmail / Options / Manage Junk E-mail Lists / and un-check 'Trust e-mail from your contacts’


I wonder if the junk mail filing is being done by the intelligent message filter built into Exchange (from SP2). If so have a look at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2006.10.weightlists.aspx?pr=blog

This describes the almost unknown CustomWeightEntry feature in the IMF. Irritatingly it doesn't have the option to check headers, but it can check the subject line so you could have your mail filter add something to the subject line.



I was wondering if you would share more details about how you were able to get Exchange to recognize the X- header and associate an SCL level with it. I'm having a similar problem (Exchange 2003 is ignoring the header I'm setting) and would love to know how you resolved your problem.

  • It appears that this happens out of the box. (We do have Brightmail installed on the front end servers, but they claim not to change anything in Exchange) In my case Exchange was seeing and assigning an SCL value to the email, but the Outlook/OWA setting was overriding the behavior in having it moved to the junk mail folder. Were you able to see an SCL value for the email? The email marked with 'X-bmifolder: 1' in the header is tagged at level 9 for us which assures a junkmail status. – atom255 Jul 27 '09 at 16:29
  • If you're still having the issue, try posting up a new question with as many details as the can and I'll take a look at it along with the rest. – atom255 Jul 27 '09 at 16:30
  • I've opened a new question up at: serverfault.com/questions/46720/… If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Thanks! – Nick Jul 27 '09 at 21:12

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