I Love Microsoft Outlook – I Hate Microsoft Outlook

It’s everywhere – not quite Chicken Man (for those old enough to remember) – but Microsoft Outlook is used, it seems, in virtually every law office — and the 2007 Version is excellent. The small tweaks Microsoft made really helped improve the product overall (even though some actions remain counterintuitive). I recommend clients upgrade to it, especially any clients who are using Outlook 2000 or (yes) earlier versions.




I hate Mircrosoft Outlook 2007. Not the whole product, just the absolutely infuriatingly outrageous Junk E-mail Filter.  Why, you say? If you don’t like it, turn it off. Sorry, Microsoft has decided that even if you don’t want to use the filter, you’re stuck. It’s like saying that the brake on your car never really works. Here’s what Microsoft tells users about the Junk E-mail filter:

No Automatic Filtering   Although this turns off the automatic Junk E-mail Filter, Outlook continues to evaluate messages by using the domain names and e-mail addresses in your Blocked Senders List, and also continues to move messages from blocked senders to the Junk E-mail folder.

That’s right, even if you turn it off, Outlook continues to evaluate message and continues to moves messages to the Junk E-mail folder.

I’ve tried everything to shut this feature off. Nothing works, and every day, I am confronted with more messages that aren’t junk that Microsoft’s “brilliant” programmers have decided is junk. Today, I arrived in my office and e-mail from clients, the Philadelphia Bar Association, and others were instantly deemed”junk.” One supposed fix — clear everything from your the blocked sender and other folders — has only made matters worse. There’s even one website where someone posted a cartoon of Bill Gates rising from the dead as a way of expressing the poster’s “love” of the Junk E-mail filter. There are lots of posts about the filter, and not one can tell you how to stop it.

This is my plea to Microsoft. Perhaps you actually read the blogs. You have a great product in Outlook 2007, but please. Please. Please. If the user doesn’t want Outlook to filter junk e-mail, respect that user’s preference and allow him or her not only to turn off the filter (we can do that), but also to actually allow the filter to turn off. It seems such a simply concept. Just say no.  Unfortunately, the people who programmed this feature believe that they know better. Sorry, this time the user is right.

About Dan Siegel

Dan Siegel authors the Technology column in The Philadelphia Lawyer, quarterly magazine of the Philadelphia Bar Association; he also authors the Technology column in Trial Magazine, the official publication of the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA)). Dan is a nationally-known writer and lecturer about technology in law offices and in litigation. Sensing the need for a firm to address the technology needs of attorneys, Dan opened Integrated Technology Services, LLC, which focuses exclusively upon ways for lawyers and legal support staff to handle cases more efficiently. An attorney since 1984, Dan serves in many technology-related positions. He is Vice-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Law Practice Management Division and co-chairs its Practice Technology Committe. A solo practitioner, Dan chaired the Computer Committee at Anapol Schwartz in Philadelphia. Dan is also a certified Trainer for LiveNote and certified to support and train Time Matters, CaseMap, TimeMap and LegalFiles.
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