Ask the Expert

SMTP error 554: Message blocked because it contains a banned word

I have recently installed Windows Small Business Server 2003, which includes Exchange Server 2003. One of my users sent an email that got returned as undeliverable with the following text:

"You do not have permission to send to this recipient. For assistance, contact your system administrator. < #5.7.1 smtp;554 5.7.1 This message has been blocked because it contains a banned word.>"

I cannot find where the banned word list is maintained in Microsoft Exchange. I do not have any additional add-on packages from any source installed -- just what came from Microsoft as part of the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition.

Can you tell me where this list is maintained, and how to change or update it? Thanks!

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Intelligent Message Filter for Exchange is the only Microsoft spam filtering for Windows Small Business Server 2003, and that has to be added on to Exchange. ISA Server is included with Windows Small Business Server Premium Edition, and does have an SMTP filter. This could have been enabled during the installation process.

I did a quick search on the text "This message has been blocked because it contains a banned word" phrase to try to identify the product that is generating it, but I didn't have much luck. Usually, this text string is fairly unique with the SMTP error 554 5.7.1 NDR.

There is another possibility, and that is that there is a personal spam filter running on your user's system that could be filtering mail as well.

I hope this gives you some ideas of where to start looking.

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert Q&A? Let us know.

Related information from

  • Troubleshooting Guide: Resolving NDRs caused by 5.7.1 or 5.7.3 errors
  • Learning Guide: How to fight spam on Exchange Server
  • Tip: Tune up your Exchange Intelligent Message Filter with IMF Tune
  • FAQ: Exchange and Small Business Server issues
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server NDRs
  • This was first published in February 2006

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