Email Filtering at Middlebury

This article covers the basics of Middlebury's email filtering, including Quarantine, Junk Mail folders, the Focused Inbox feature, and Clutter.  Learn what you can adjust and how to do it, as well as find some pointers about what to do when email gets "junked" or "quarantined."


General Details

Middlebury uses advanced email filtering technology to help prevent spam, phishing attacks, viruses, and other unwanted content from finding its way to our inboxes. When messages arrive they are first checked using system-wide criteria and may be directed to the Quarantine area before any personal safe- or block-list settings are used.  Messages identified as harmful (such as phishing, impersonation attacks, or malware) will not be delivered at all.

Sometimes the email filters may flag a desired message as bulk email and subsequently route that email to Outlook's own Junk Mail folders. If this happens, community members can add the desired sender to their personal safelist, or if the message is part of a larger, legitimate email campaign, propose that the sender be included in Middlebury’s global safelist of trusted senders.

Other types of filtering are also available through Outlook, such as the Focused Inbox feature. It provides a "Focused" tab for what are felt to be your most important messages and an "Other" tab for messages that may be of lesser interest.  Sometimes older versions of Outlook may send junk mail to a Clutter folder.


Junk Mail Folder Use

Important: Items in the Junk Mail folder are automatically deleted after 30 days and cannot be recovered.  

Outlook's Junk Mail settings enable you to safelist or block senders of bulk email, according to your needs.


How to Adjust Your Outlook Junk Mail Settings

You can control which messages you see (assuming they make it past the initial system-wide checks) by adjusting your junk mail settings. The links below contain instructions for the commonly-used email clients at Middlebury:

NOTE: Your personal junk mail settings are only applied after messages have successfully passed tests that may send them to Quarantine.


How To Work With The Quarantine

Messages in your Quarantine should be treated with special caution as they have been tagged as spam, phishing or bulk email by advanced email filtering technologies. Do not click any links in Quarantined messages or release them to your Inbox unless you are absolutely sure that the message is legitimate. Be particularly suspicious of messages asking you to update your account, reset your password, expand your email storage quota, etc. Remember, any message that asks for your password or username is not to be trusted. For more information about how to protect yourself from phishing attacks, please see http://go/phish/.

Quarantine Notifications

If you have messages in your Quarantine, the email system will send you a daily Spam Notification email. You can check your Quarantine at any time by logging into http://go/quarantine/ or http://go/spamq/. You may also log in directly via

If you are missing a time-critical message that was not delivered to your inbox or Outlook Junk Mail folder, you may want to check your Quarantine via http://go/spamq/ in case the message was flagged by the email filters.

Flagged messages are stored in Quarantine for 15 days, after which time they are automatically deleted.

Releasing a message from Quarantine

You can release a message from Quarantine by logging into the Quarantine web page, then using one of the following methods:

  • Click anywhere on the entry for the message in question to select it, scroll through the details displayed, then click on the Release email link to release the message to your Inbox.
  • To release multiple messages, click the checkbox beside their entries, then click the Release link.

You can also click on the Release link in the Spam Notification message to release specific messages.

Deleting messages from Quarantine

Messages in Quarantine are automatically deleted after 15 days.


Other Email Filtering

Focused Inbox Feature in Outlook 365

Focused Inbox separates your inbox into two viewing pieces — Focused and Other -- accessible via links that appear above the message list. Microsoft displays what it feels are your most important emails in the Focused view, while the rest remain accessible via Other.


Old Clutter Feature in Outlook 2016

Outlook's Clutter feature has been replaced by Microsoft's Focused Inbox feature. Please note that your version of Outlook could still have the Clutter feature in effect. If some of your email messages are being moved to the Clutter folder then you can follow the steps below to turn off this feature.


What to Do if Email is getting "Junked" or "Quarantined"

If some of your email ends up in your Junk folder or the Quarantine area and you don't think it should -- here's what to do:

  • Add the email address (or domain) to your Safe Senders list.  Refer to How to Adjust Your Outlook Junk Mail Settings for details.
  • Make sure the email address (or domain) is not in your block list.  If it is, you should remove it.  Refer to How to Adjust Your Outlook Junk Mail Settings for details.
  • If you had previously turned on the setting to "Only trust email from addresses in my Safe senders and domains list and Safe mailing lists" then you need to add the email address to your safe senders list.  (To check this setting via Webmail, click the Settings icon (gear cog), then choose View all Outlook Settings.  From Mail settings, click Junk Mail.)
  • Do you have one or more Inbox rules that automatically move email to the Junk folder?  One of these rules might be causing the issue.  Refer to Inbox rules in Outlook Web App to review the rules you have in place.
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Article ID: 272
Thu 3/10/22 3:10 PM
Wed 11/1/23 12:44 PM

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Email is an electronic messaging service available to all Middlebury faculty, staff and students