jwSpamSpy – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Version 11.0910; last updated 2011-09-10


What happens to my email after the evaluation period expires?

The jwSpamSpy evaluation version provides all product features for 30 days after installing it. If you let this period expire without purchasing and activating a license, jwSpamSpy stops filtering. It will then pass all emails straight through, without checking whether any of them are spam emails or viruses. Therefore you will not lose access to valid emails, but you will have to manually delete spams again.

You can purchase a license and activate it any time the product is installed, or after uninstalling and reinstalling it. Uninstalling and reinstalling does not change the original expiry date, you can not pause or extend the evaluation period by doing so.

It is preferable to purchase the license before the evaluation period finally expires because during this period the license will be automatically activated, provided the email used for the purchase is one that is filtered by jwSpamSpy.

Do I have to pay an annual fee for using your spam filter?

Our registered version never expires. It never cripples or disables itself. As we improve the product to adapt to new tricks used by spammers and fix problems, we make updated versions available to registered users, usually at least once a month. New versions will be automatically downloaded within one calendar year of activation. After one year you can keep on using the version you currently have or you can chose to get more updates by purchasing an update license. We haven't finalized the price for this license yet, but it will be cheaper than the regular retail product.

jwSpamSpy picks up mail but my email program doesn't receive any.

The way jwSpamSpy works it that it sits between your mail program and your (ISP or company) mailserver (see
"How jwSpamSpy works" in the ReadMe file). It first picks up mails from your regular mailbox as if it was your email program, using your username and password to gain access. Next it sorts out spams and viruses. Finally it allows your mail program to pick up mail from jwSpamSpy, now responding as if it was the original mail server. For the last step to work, your mail program must check the filtered mailbox provided by jwSpamSpy instead of the normal server it accessed before you installed our filter. The new server is the local machine, which is accessed either using the IP address or the Computer Name.

If you use Microsoft Outlook Express (OE) then during the installation jwSpamSpy Setup should by default have made all the neccessary changes to the OE settings. If for any reason this didn't happen, you can make those changes yourself and things should start working as expected.

In Outlook Express go to "Tools | Accounts | <your mail account> | Properties" and click the "Servers" tab (the names may differ for non-English version of OE). Make sure the "Incoming mail (POP3)" setting is set to or to the name of your computer and not to the normal mail server you have been using before! Make sure you configure the email program for the same value selected when you ran Setup. The default in Setup is which works for all configurations (addressing the mailbox by the computer name is provided as an option for cases where the email program and the filter run on different machines).

Whenever you define a mailbox to be filtered in jwSpamSpy, it will tell you what the host setting to use is ( or the computer name). The About dialog of jwSpamSpy also displays this value.

I have configured a mailbox in jwSpamSpy but my email program still picks up lots of spam.

In our tests, jwSpamSpy filters 99% of spam or better. If it appears that jwSpamSpy does not filter incoming mail, there are two possible reasons:
  1. You are using an evaluation version of jwSpamSpy and the evaluation period has expired. Use "Help | About jwSpamSpy" in Manual Mode to check the expiration date. If you are using the evaluation version, you will see a message such as:
    Unregistered evaluation version (expiry date: 2005-12-31)
    If you're using the registered version (i.e. you have purchased and installed a license key) then your name and purchase date should appear, for example:
    Jane Doe (Jane's Widget Inc. ) [2005-05-27]
  2. Your email program settings need to be changed to pick up mail from a local mailbox provided by jwSpamSpy. If you are using manual or automatic mode, jwSpamSpy retrieves mail from your ISP's mailserver, discards the junk and stores the legitimate mail in a local mailbox. If your email program picks up mail from the ISP mail server directly, jwSpamSpy can not prevent spam from getting retrieved and furthermore, legitimate mail that passed all jwSpamSpy's checks will sit uncollected in the local mailbox. Please read the ReadMe file for a description of how jwSpamSpy works if you are not sure about this.

Do I need to whitelist all my friends and family to make sure their mails get through?

We view whitelists more as a band aid for special cases, not as a general mode of operation when filtering out spam. This view is reflected in the design of jwSpamSpy, which does not normally require you to whitelist the addresses of people who you regularly communicate with.

If you run a business, you will constantly receive sales enquiries and orders from people whose addresses you had never seen before and whose addresses by definition are not whitelisted. If some of these emails were trashed, you would lose valuable business. That is simply not acceptable.

Protecting valid emails from non-whitelisted sources is a top priority for us. It is more important than catching as much spam as possible (where we do pretty well anyway). The vast majority of valid emails will get delivered by jwSpamSpy without any interference. A small percentage, maybe 1% in our own email traffic, will however be flagged as suspicious (i.e. likely spam) because of various observations made by the filter that match spam profiles. If a valid message has some problems with it, it is usually only flagged and then delivered, but not deleted.

Messages flagged as suspicious are a grey area between clearly spam and clearly valid messages that need human inspection. In our filter we try to keep this portion as small as possible, so as not to require too much of your time. You can set up filter rules in your mail client (e.g. Outlook Express) to sort these into a separate folder that you then inspect maybe once a day. Most of the suspicious messages will be spam, but if one should turn out to be valid mail, it can easily be retrieved. If you expect the sender may write to you again in the future then you should whitelist the sender address.

If you are using Outlook Express you can also take your entire address book, export it to a text file and then import it into the sender whitelist. That ensures that all the people who you have previously replied to or who you manually added to the address book can send you mail without any problems. This is how you do it:

Go to Outlook Express and use "File" / "Export" / "Address Book" / "Text File (comma separated values)" / "Export". Select a file name. Uncheck all fields but the email address, then click "Finish".

Then open the jwSpamSpy dialog, select "Tools" / "Email addresses" / "Whitelist" / "Import file". Browse to the folder where you saved the ".csv" export file and select it, then click "Open". Wait until the file has been loaded, then click "Apply" and "Close". All these addresses will have been added to your personal whitelist and will never be flagged.

The icon says "Please check pending suspect mails!" What should I do?

If jwSpamSpy suspects that a message is spam but isn't quite sure, it puts it into a quarantaine folder for 24 hours before rechecking it. It then either filters it out as spam or delivers it as valid mail or forwards it as an attachment, depending on the final spam rating. This allows the filter to catch more spam while still delivering valid mail. The vast majority of valid mails are never quarantained.

While any mails are in the suspect folder(s), jwSpamSpy displays a tooltip message "Please check pending suspect mails" when you move the mouse to the system tray icon. To review the pending mails, click on the icon with your right mouse button and select "Suspect mails". After you select the mail account that has the pending mails, a Windows Explorer window will open that shows the quarantaine folder. You can now open any mail files one by one and check their contents. If you don't want one, just the delete the file. If you do want to recover one file, follow these steps:

  1. If the Explorer window does show the folders on the left, click the "folders" button on its toolbar to enable the folder view to the left of the files view.
  2. You'll see the current folder is called "suspect". In the same parent folder you'll see a folder called "clean". Drag the file you want to recover to this folder. The file will be delivered on the next mail pickup and the sender address will be whitelisted, so that future mails will be delivered without objections.
Any whitelisted sender will never go into the suspect folder. See the following for more information on whitelisting:

A message has been forwarded as possible spam. How do I retrieve it?

If jwSpamSpy suspects that a message is spam but isn't quite sure, it forwards the original message "wrapped up" as an attachment to a notification mail. If you don't want it, just the delete the whole message. If you do want to recover it, open the notification message and use the mouse to drag the attachment to any folder in Outlook Express (such as "Inbox"). That extracts the original message to the folder, just as if it had never been filtered. There you can open it normally. Then you can also delete the notification message.

Netscape and Mozilla and some other email clients do not allow you to drag attached emails to an email folder. With these clients you can save the attachment as a file in a specific folder that exists for your mail account (jwSpamSpy version 1.00.050705 and later). Normally the path of this folder is

where name@domain is the name of your email account. You can see the folders for all your mail accounts by right-clicking on the system tray icon and selecting "Open mail folder". After saving the attached message as a file, it will be delivered next time jwSpamSpy checks for new mail from the mail server.

Note: If you see a message "OE removed access to the following unsafe attachments in your mail: ", then you first need to enable access to attachments to retrieve them using this option:

Tools | Options | Security | Virus Protection
"Do not allow attachments to be opened or saved that could potentially be a virus" (uncheck this)

Blocking access to attachments in Outlook Express 6.0 is a cheap way for Microsoft to stop the spread of viruses. However, it's very crude, over the top and quite intrusive. With this option, you can't even open photographs that you've been sent! We do recommend that you re-enable access to attachments. Since jwSpamSpy filters most viruses, it is quite safe to do so.

A message has been forwarded as possible spam, but it isn't. What should I do?

This should not happen very often. If it does you can contact us so we can address the problem.

The original message is attached to the notification and can be retrievd. See here for details.

If a valid (non-spam) email is flagged as suspicious and you receive mail from that source regularly, we recommend you whitelist the sender address (Tools | Email addresses | Whitelist). Emails from whitelisted senders are never flagged as suspicious.

In addition, you can forward a copy of the non-spam message to support@jwSpamSpy.com. We will try to improve our product so that in future mails like this one will pass through. Please make sure to forward the mail as an attachment, so that all email headers remain intact. In Outlook Express, use "Message | Forward as attachment". A regular "Forward" does not provide us with sufficient information about the message that showed the problem.

What happens to mail filtered as spam?

Filtered mail for every mail account is saved to a folder on your hard disk where it can be retrieved any time:

Deleted mail files are named The easiest way to find the right file is to use the Search function of Windows Explorer to look for the sender address or subject line. You can open these files under Outlook Express by double clicking on them in Windows Explorer.

If you don't want to take up disk space, it's OK to delete the *.eml files in the spam folder any time.

How can I unsubscribe from spam?

Many spam mails include a website or email address to unsubscribe, but that doesn't mean that you can unsubscribe. Legitimate companies that you are a customer of or operators of mailing lists that you have in fact subscribed to at some point will normally honor unsubscribe requests; not so with spam! Trying to unsubscribe from spam (such as mailing lists you have never subscribed to) will in fact invite even more spam, as it confirms to spammers that your particular email address is valid and active. The only feasible approach is to automatically filter all mails containing such bogus unsubscribe addresses.

I get a message that I'm offline, but I use DSL which is always on

The problem with the bogus "offline" message shows up on some machines. It's caused by some corrupted network-related registry entries in MS Windows.

Can you tell me which version of jwSpamSpy you have installed? Please view "Help / About jwSpamSpy" in the main dialog. Look at the top left corner of the "About..." dialog.

Here is how you should be able to suppress the offline-check.

Go to "Start / Run" and type
then click OK. Navigate in the left pane to the following key:


Look for a value called OfflinePrompt on the right hand side. Double click on it and enter a new value. Here are the possible settings, which are queried during automatic pickups every 10 minutes in Automatic mode:
A value of 0 is what you want for an "always on" DSL / cable internet / LAN connection.

The jwSpamSpy icon has disappeared from the system tray area

Windows XP by default hides system tray icons which have no changed or been clicked for a certain number of days. If you don't access the system tray menu of jwSpamSpy at all, this can happen to you too.

In the "Taskbar and Start Menu" properties of XP (right-click on the background of the system tray area) there's a "Hide inactive icons" option. If this is checked as it is by default, click "Customize" and select "Always show" for jwSpamSpy.

How can I use a host other than

If you installed jwSpamSpy with the default settings it will provided filtered email as a mail server at IP address, port 110. If you are running multiple mail filters or if you need to access the local mailbox from a different computer in the LAN then you may need to reconfigure the IP address / name of the mail host where jwSpamSpy provides mail for pickup.

One way to change the setting is to Exit the system tray application and then reinstalling the product, as the installer gives you a choice of either or the machine name of yur computer (which usually translates to an IP address such as

The quickest way of changing the IP address for the local mailboxes is to use RegEdit.

Go to "Start / Run" and type

then click OK. Navigate in the left pane to the following key:


Look for a value called Pop3Host on the right hand side. Double click on it and enter enter the machine name of your computer. You can find out the name of your computer in Windows Explorer under My Computer / Properties / Computer Name / Full computer name. You can also enter
ipconfig /all
at a DOS prompt and look for the value of "Host name". After you change the registry setting for Pop3Host you need to restart the Spamfilter. Right-click on the jwSpamSpy system tray area icon and select "Restart".

If you use the computer name, you need to configure your email client to use your computer name as the Pop3 server (incoming mail server) to pick up mail from.

How can I change the interval at which jwSpamSpy polls for new mail?

By default jwSpamSpy in Automatic Mode will check your ISP mail server every 10 minutes to see if any new mail arrived, but you don't always have to wait that long to make sure a new email is delivered. You can either double-click on the system tray icon and perform an immediate mail pickup, or you can check for email from your mail client twice in a row one minute apart. That is because if during the regular 10 minute interval your mail client checks for mail then the scheduled mail pickup will be moved forward and the next pickup a minute later should already get it.

If you wish to change the default from 10 minutes to something shorter or longer you can do that using the following procedure. Note that some ISPs do not like their mailboxes to be polled too often. They return intermittent errors if a mailbox is accessed too frequently. They do this to discourage excessive use of their resources.

To change the interval (for example, to every 5 minutes), use RegEdit. Go to "Start / Run" and type

then click OK. Navigate in the left pane to the following key:


Look for a value called Pop3Interval on the right hand side. If there is none yet, rick-click on empty space in the right hand pane and select "New / String value". Name the value Pop3Interval. Once it exists, click on the name and enter a value for it. The value specified there is the time in minutes. The shortest possible interval is one minute. If the value is not defined or is 0 then the default (10 minutes) is used. Specify the interval in minutes, for example 5. You should end up with a setting like this:
Pop3Interval    REG_SZ    5
After you change the registry setting for Pop3Interval you need to restart the Spamfilter for the setting to take effect, otherwise it won't take effect until you next restart your computer. Right-click on the jwSpamSpy system tray area icon and select "Restart".

Why does jwSpamSpy need my email password?

Our spam filter protects you from spam and viruses by acting as a "man in the middle" between your email client and your email server. It first retrieves all emails from your server (whcih requires this passowrd). Then it sorts out the junk. Finally it lets your email client retrieve the valid mail from the filter. See our Privacy Notice.

Can I use jwSpamSpy with a web-based email account (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.)?

Webmailers such as Yahoo or Hotmail are email systems that are primarily designed for being accessed via an Internet browser. jwSpamSpy is designed primarily for email accounts used with email clients such as Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook.

If you would like to use the webmail interface to read mail then you need to make sure non-spams are not picked up and moved to the local machine but are left in the webmail box. To do that, go to your mailbox settings in the jwSpamSpy main dialog. Change the setting for "Access mode" to "Delete or Preview". If you only ever read your emails in Outlook Express or another email client you can leave the Access mode as "Pickup, Delete or Preview".

You can use jwSpamSpy with webmailers provided one of the following is true:

There is no general rule whether webmail accounts directly support pop access. For example, Gmail / Googlemail and www.gmx.net provide POP3 access, but Hotmail does not. Yahoo.com accounts only have POP access if you purchase the Yahoo! Mail Plus option. Certain other free Yahoo accounts (e.g. yahoo.co.uk) can have POP access if you sign up to receive offers from Yahoo by email.

If your email account does not provide POP access you may still be able to use jwSpamSpy by combining it with third party products that provide POP access to webmail accounts that normally don't have it, such as Hotmail.com. Two such products are Web2Pop and Webmail Retriever. Here are some email providers supported by Web2Pop (according to their website):

POP access utilities for webmail accounts typically listen to port 110 on IP address, as does jwSpamSpy in its default configuration. Make sure you configure at least one of the two products for a different port number (e.g. 1110) or a different IP address (e.g. For example, Web2Pop could pick up mail from Hotmail and provide it to jwSpamSpy by listening to port 1110. Then jwSpamSpy would be configured to pick up mail from IP, port 1110 and would provide to Outlook Express by listening at port 110, IP address Outlook Express would be configured to pick up mail from from IP, port 110.

How can I use jwSpamSpy with Gmail / GoogleMail / SSL / AT&T Yahoo! Mail?

Gmail and the latest version of AT&T Yahoo! Mail are different from other email providers because the POP interface they provide is only available via secure (SSL-encrypted) connections on port 995. Other email providers use port 110 and don't require encrypted connections. Currently jwSpamSpy does not directly support POP via encrypted connections, but it will work with Stunnel, a free third party on-on. Please follow these instructions:

  1. Download gmail.zip and save it to the "C:\Program Files\JoeWein\SpamSpy" folder on your hard disk.
  2. Extract its contents to the folder, which will create a subfolder "stunnel" and various files in it.
  3. Create a link (see instructions below) on your desktop or in the Windows Startup folder to "C:\Program Files\JoeWein\SpamSpy\stunnel\gmail.bat" so you can easily or automatically launch this when you restart your computer.
  4. configure a jwSpamSpy mailbox for your gmail account:
  5. Reconfigure your mail client for non-SSL settings on the inbound server, (e.g. port 110, does not require SSL). Do not touch the outbound mailserver (SMTP) settings. Use the jwSpamSpy host ( or computername) as the POP server. For example, in Outlook Express select Tools / Accounts / Mail / emailaccount / Properies and click on Advanced. Uncheck "This server requires a secure connection" and set the "Incoming mail (POP3)" port number to 110. In Servers / "Incoming mail (POP3)" specify or your computername. With this setup any email traffic that leaves your computer will be fully SSL-encrypted. Only the mail client and the spamfilter talking to each other on the same computer will not use SSL.
  6. The gmail.bat file includes a default for the Gmail POP3 server. If you're using AT&T Yahoo! Mail instead you need to edit Gmail.bat and change "-r pop.gmail.com:995" at the end of the second line to "-r pop.att.yahoo.com:995". Use whatever mail server here in the batch file that your ISP wanted you to use as the POP3 server for the mail client.
  7. To create a link in the Startup group, right-click on the Windows Start button, select Explore and navigate to Programs / Startup. Right-click on a blank area of the right pane and select New / Shortcut. Browse to the gmail.bat batch file at "C:\Program Files\JoeWein\SpamSpy\stunnel\gmail.bat" and name the link something like gmail.bat. Right-click on the new shortcut and select Poperties / Shortcut. Set "Run:" to "Minimized" and click Apply. Now every time you start Windows and log in a DOS box will open that contains a running copy of Stunnel. If you ever accidentally close it you can reopen it via Start / Programs / Startup / gmail.bat (or whatever you named the shortcut).

How can I use jwSpamSpy with SSL / AT&T Yahoo! Mail?

How can I use jwSpamSpy with Gmail or GoogleMail?

Can I use jwSpamSpy with IMAP mailboxes?

No, you can't. Currently, jwSpamSpy only supports the POP3 protocol, which is the most commonly used internet standard for picking up email.

Can I use jwSpamSpy with AOL?

No, you can't. Currently, jwSpamSpy only supports the POP3 protocol, which is the most commonly used internet standard for picking up email. It does not support AOL's proprietary mail system.

Can I use jwSpamSpy with Juno?

No, you can't. Currently, jwSpamSpy only supports the POP3 protocol, which is the most commonly used internet standard for picking up email. It does not support Juno's proprietary mail system.

Do you have a version of jwSpamSpy for Linux?

Do you have a version of jwSpamSpy for MacOS 9 or OS X?

We don't currently offer a native Mac or Linux version, but you don't have to run Windows on your own computer to be able to use jwSpamSpy, see below. If you run a non-Windows operating system, here are your options:

1) If you have any old Windows PC in your office then it is possible to use it to filter email on behalf of any POP3 based client, from Mac OS via Linux to Solaris. This is because our filter acts as a POP3 client to the mail server and as a POP3 server to the mail client. The only requirement is that the filtering machine runs Windows and has LAN connectivity to both the mail server and mail client (i.e. has a network card). Of course it needs to be powered up when the client computer wants to access email. Our hardware requirements are not very high, basically any five year old low end Windows machine will do (Pentium MMX, Celeron 300, etc).

2) If you run your own mail server on a Linux box, you can use SpamAssassin to score incoming mails and set your Apple or Linux mail client to query that score and file the mail accordingly.

3) You can use an external service such as http://spamfence.net/ to filter the incoming account and have the mail forwarded to a secret, clean account that your client reads.

Can I use jwSpamSpy with WebTV?

No, jwSpamSpy requires a computer that runs a version of Microsoft Windows.

Why does jwSpamSpy not stop all spam?

While we make every effort to identify spam and prevent it from reaching your email application, there is no 100% sure way of distinguishing spams and nonspam in software. Some types of spam are more difficult to distinguish from legitimate mail than others. In making judgements, overly aggressive efforts to reduce an already small "false negative" rate (i.e. spams slipping through) inevitably risk increasing the rate of "false positives" (i.e. non-spams getting intercepted). Our top priority is to not jeopardize any of your valuable mails. Even so, in our testing less than 1 percent of spams sent to our mailboxes manage to slip through the filter. As we improve our filter, we make new versions of the software available to registered users which will be downloaded automatically and installed with their consent.

I like your product! Can I help sell it and earn a percentage?
Yes you can! We currently pay 20% of the net revenue (about $5 per copy) for every license sold to a customer following a link from your site. To become an affiliate and receive HTML code to put on your website, sign up

I have a problem installing or running jwSpamSpy. What can I do?

First, make sure you have read and understood the ReadMe notes, which explain how jwSpamSpy works and how it needs to be configured. You may try to uninstall jwSpamSpy from the Windows Control Panel and retry the installation.

If this does not resolve your problem, you may contact us. It can be helpful if you provide the following information:

Please note that if your problem involves not being able to receive email, it may be useful to contact us from a different email account, such as from another computer in your office or household or from a webmail account (yahoo.com, hotmail.com, etc.). Otherwise you may not be able to receive our responses either!

How to send us screen shots
Display the email application account settings or whatever you need to show to us on your screen. Then push the "Print Screen" key on your keyboard. You can now paste the screen content to a bitmap file using a program such as Paint ("Start | Programs | Accessories | Paint | Edit | Paste | File | Save As"). Attach this file to your email.

How to send us jwSpamSpy Registry Setting Information
Microsoft provides a tool called regedit, which can save internal settings from the registry (a Windows-internal database for program settings) to a textfile. By emailing us a copy of this textfile, we can see exactly how you configured jwSpamSpy. This may help us reproduce and diagnose problems that you are experiencing. To generate this file, follow these steps:

  1. Click "Start | Run" (or use "Windows-key" + R),
  2. Enter "regedit" in the Open box that pops up and click "OK".
  3. When Regedit comes up, browse the tree on the left. Under "My Computer" you will find "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE", then "SOFTWARE", then "JoeWein", then "jwSpamSpy", then "1.0".
  4. Use "Registry | Export Registry File" to export these values as a .reg text file and attach it to an email.

How to send us POP debug information
jwSpamSpy supports an option to log all activity between the mail program and the local mailbox. This should help us diagnose any incompatibilities that may exist between certain mail programs and our mailbox server. This feature is disabled by default. Here is how you turn it on.

  1. Run the "regedit" tool (Windows+R or Start | Programs | Run, type "regedit", click "OK").
  2. Browse to the following key and select it:
  3. Right click in the right-hand window. Select "New | String value". Name the new value "Pop3Debug", open it and enter the digit 1 as a text string. Accept this value and make sure it shows up in the right hand window.
  4. Restart your machine (or unload jwSpamSpy via Exit, then start jwSpamStartup.exe in the jwSpamSpy program folder).
  5. Run your email program (Outlook, etc.) and check for email. Try this more than once.
These steps should have created a text file which you can email to us:
C:\Program Files\JoeWein\SpamSpy\logs\pop-debug.txt
It contains a log of all the commands the mail program sent to the local POP server and information about when connections were made or broken. Since this also includes the passwords sent by your program, you may want to use search and replace in a text editor on this file to change passwords to asterisks or something else before you email it to us. After you have created and mailed the file, you may disable debugging again by deleting the Pop3Debug key via regedit.

Privacy policy

joewein.de LLC respects your privacy:

  1. We do not pass any customer data to third parties, because we know you hate spam as much as we do.
  2. Any data collected when signing up for the evaluation version is only used to contact evaluation version users in connection with the evaluation product. We do not use it for any other purposes.
  3. Our customer database remains known only to us and Share-It, the company handling our online sales.
  4. All jwSpamSpy software settings are kept secure in the registry of the local machine.
  5. The settings are never sent to any other computer, except for the user name and password, which have to be sent to your mail server during email pickup.
  6. We don't know what email addresses you are using our filter for, let alone any passwords.
  7. The only contact jwSpamSpy makes with our webserver is to periodically check for updated program and data files.
  8. jwSpamSpy gathers no information on your computer, except as required for stopping spam. We spy on spammers, not on you :-)

Contact us:

Joe Wein <