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Quarantined messages in Exchange Online

Exchange Online Protection (EOP) is a spam and malware filter available as part of the Exchange Online service. It is currently set to assess whether email is spam via both EOP's own Spam Confidence Level ruleset and the SpamAssassin scores assigned by PPSW. Any item of mail that is ranked at a value of five or higher from either of these checks is sent to a central quarantine area, where it is retained for 15 days before being deleted. This setting is equivalent to the settings used by Hermes.

Quick link: Go to your personal quarantine page >

 

There is no way to disable Exchange Online's quarantine function, but there are two ways to deal with messages that have been quarantined.

Notification email from quarantine@messaging.microsoft.com

If any messages addressed to you are held in quarantine, you will get a notification email from quarantine@messaging.microsoft.com listing any messages that have been quarantined in the last 24 hours, e.g.:

Sample quarantine messge

 

Although you could just click the 'Release' or 'Report' links in this email, to be particularly cautious in guarding against potentially fraudulent emails, we strongly advise you to manage your quarantined messages via your personalised web page:

How to use your personal Exchange Online quarantine admin web page

Your personal quarantine web page lists all the messages that have been withheld over the last 15 days (even after you have released them to your inbox). Go here:

https://admin.protection.outlook.com/quarantine >

You will see a page that looks something like this, showing all messages quarantined within the last 15 days, even if you have released them to your inbox:

quarantine1

 

Review the items in your quarantine and just ignore any junk messages. If you want to keep any messages you have two choices:

  1. Quickly release a message to your inbox with a single click
  2. Release a message to your inbox and train Exchange Online that it is not junk (it's only one extra click, and worth doing)

How to release messages to your inbox (without reporting them as 'not junk')

Highlight a message and click the envelope icon to release it to your inbox (this doesn't educate Exchange Online that it is 'not junk', and other messages from the same sender may get quarantined in future):

quarantine2 envelope


Tip: To select multiple messages for release, you can hold down CTRL and click multiple messages or use the [CTRL + A] to select all.

How to release messages to your inbox and educate Exchange Online that they're 'not Junk'

It's worth taking the time to report messages as 'not junk' – you're helping Exchange Online to learn which messages you want to receive and, over time, this will improve the quality of its spam filtering so you'll have to deal with fewer quarantine notifications:

  1. Highlight the message(s) and click the pencil icon:

    quarantine2 pencil


  2. In the dialog box, click the link to Release selected message(s) and report as false positive 

    quarantine3

  3. Click the Close button.