When I had to re-install everything on my computer, I opted not to install a few programs including the one I used to manage spam. It wasn’t bad, but I felt it wasn’t as effective as it could be. I rarely hear about a 100 percent effective spam solution, but I had enough of the tool.
I’ve been using Thunderbird for email and am happy with it. I also use Outlook for one of my clients and it drives me insane. It has its good and bad points. Anyway, Thunderbird’s spam and scam manager doesn’t work worth spit. I was spending too much time going through my inbox to weed the junk.
Went to Thunderbird’s forums to see if anyone found a solution. Came across open source POPFile. Figured I’d look into it. Where has this baby been??? Being an organized freak, it’s a great fit.
Buckets o’ mail
It took me a little time to figure out this buckets business. But now I rarely have anything coming to my Inbox. Everything goes into a bucket or “folder” as most of us call ’em. Before using this app, I had all newsletters and general emails go to a folder, junk going into another folder and everything else (if the email did its job, it’d be personal emails) in the inbox.
Now, I have four folders: personal, occasional, newsletters, and junk. The only emails that land in the inbox are unclassified emails. I get about one every few days.
You can set up POPFile to modify the subject header or leave it alone. Some of you probably get junk email that gets [spam] added into the header. It’s trouble rather than helpful. Sometimes, without thinking, I hit “reply” and the recipient person would see [spam] in the header. That’s why I have such suspected emails going into a junk folder. Why clutter the inbox with [spam]?
Control Center
Any time I see an email appear in the wrong folder, I go into POPFile’s browser-based (which looks great in Firefox, by the way) Control Center and reclassify the bucket.

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The control center also shows a dashboard. You can see how much you email you get for each bucket. The data also shows the number of false positives and false negatives. Currently, the application has a 92% accuracy (it was 76% on March 30). The accuracy continues to climb. You can reset the data anytime to get fresh numbers. According to the help docs, it takes about 1000 emails to get the accuracy rate up to the 90s.

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Magnets, Configuration, Security, and Advanced Features
Magnets resemble message filters except you use them in POPFile instead of your email client. You can have POPFile look at the To, From, CC, or Subject for a value that you enter. If the value matches, then it goes into the selected bucket.

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In Configuration, change skins, language, History page view, and POP3 preferences.

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Security contains options for server operation, remote servers, automatic update checking, and reporting statistics to POPFile. Here you can set up an interface password.

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Advanced tab lists words that POPFile ignores. You can add and remove words from the list. You can also adjust the parameters here. For ultra-geeks, this app has command-line options.

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* The latest POPFile release.
* An e-mail account that uses the POP3 protocol (most accounts do, although you can’t use POPFile with web-based services like Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail without extra software)
* Around 10 MB free disk space
Final Notes
After using it for two weeks, I’m happy with the app. Email also downloads faster than it did with the previous app (both used the local host). POPFile is a Sourceforge project, therefore it’s free. Its Web site is available in the following languages: Norsk, Deutsch, Portugues do Brasil, Francais, Dansk, Espanol, Arabic, Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, and Korean.
It comes in two versions: “an easy-to-install Windows version, and a cross-platform version for technically-minded users.”