Configuring Microsoft Outlook to display Sender ID information

Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 can automatically evaluate the Sender ID status of each inbound message and add the result to the message's properties in Outlook.

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Available in Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2, Sender ID allows companies to add a special SPF (a.k.a. Sender Policy Framework or "Sender Permitted From") record to their DNS servers that lists the mail servers authorized to send SMTP mail on behalf of their domains. The idea is that, as more companies adopt Sender ID technology, it can eventually be used to filter out spoofed SMTP messages.

Once Service Pack 2 has been applied, Microsoft Exchange will evaluate the Sender ID status of each inbound message and add the result to the message's properties in Outlook.

Even if you aren't interested in displaying Sender ID information through Microsoft Outlook, the technique I am about to show you is useful for creating filtering rules that get rid of spoofed messages.

Understanding Sender ID results

When a Sender ID check is performed against a message, there are seven possible results:

Pass The message has originated from a domain authorized mail server.
Neutral The domain provides no information about the sender.
Fail The message is spoofed. Either the sender's domain does not exist, the sender is not permitted, the domain is malformed, or there is no PRA information found in the message header.
Soft Fail The message is likely spoofed, but can't be confirmed.
None The domain does not list any SPF records.
TempError The receiving server encountered a non-specific error during the check.
PermError There was a problem with the SPF records that the sender's domain has published.

Building a script to extract Sender ID information

Now that you know what the various error states mean, you need to build a script to extract Sender ID information from messages. Fortunately, you don't have to create a script from scratch, because Microsoft has already provided one.

The following script is taken from the Microsoft Web site. It is intended for use with Outlook 2003 and should be saved as a text file named SenderID.CFG in the \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\forms\language ID folder.

;**********The CFG file**********
[Description]
MessageClass=IPM.Note.SenderID
CLSID={00020D0C-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}
DisplayName=SenderID Extension Form
Category=Standard
Subcategory=Form
Comment=This forms allows the SenderID to be viewed in a column in Outlook
LargeIcon=IPML.ico
SmallIcon=IPMS.ico
Version=1.0
Locale=enu
Hidden=1
Owner=Microsoft Corporation
 
[Platforms]
Platform1=Win16
Platform2=NTx86
Platform9=Win95

[Platform.Win16]
CPU=ix86
OSVersion=Win3.1
 
[Platform.NTx86]
CPU=ix86
OSVersion=WinNT3.5
 
[Platform.Win95]
CPU=ix86
OSVersion=Win95
 
[Properties]
Property01=SenderID
 
[Property.SenderID]
Type=3
;NmidString=PR_SENDER_ID_STATUS
NmidInteger=0x4079
DisplayName=SenderID
 
[Verbs]
Verb1=1
 
[Verb.1]
DisplayName=&Open
Code=0
Flags=0
Attribs=2
 
[Extensions]
Extensions1=1
 
[Extension.1]
Type=30
NmidPropset={00020D0C-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}
NmidInteger=1
Value=1000000000000000
;**********END CFG

Configuring Outlook to use the script

  1. Open Outlook and select Tools -> Options.

  2. Select the Other tab and click the Advanced Options button.

  3. Now click on the Custom Forms button and then the Manage Forms button.

  4. Click the Install button to install the SenderID.CFG file into your forms library.

  5. Repeatedly hit OK until you close all of the open dialog boxes.

  6. When you get to the main Outlook screen, go to your Inbox, right click on any of the column headings and select the Field Chooser command.

  7. At the top of the Field Chooser dialog box, there is a dropdown list that allows you to pick from various types of fields. Scroll through this list and find the Forms option (on my machine, it's the last option on the list).

  8. Outlook will now display your forms library. The Sender ID Extension Form will appear on the list. Drag the Sender ID Extension form and drop it onto the column headings. You should now see the Sender ID status for each message in your Inbox.

You'll notice that the Sender ID status is displayed numerically. The following list shows what the various numbers mean:

1    =    Neutral
2    =    Pass
3    =    Fail
4    =    Soft Fail
5    =    None
6    =    Temp 
7    =    Temp Error
8    =    Perm Error

Changing Sender ID status viewing options

To see the actual Sender ID status rather than a numerical code:

  1. Right click on the column headings in Outlook once again, and select the Field Chooser command.

  2. When the Field Chooser appears, click the New button.

  3. You will see a dialog box appear that asks for the Name, Type, and Format of a new field. You must now create a new field with the name SID and set the field type to Formula.

  4. Paste the following formula (provided by Microsoft) into the Formula field:
    IIf([SenderID]=1,"NEUTRAL",IIf([SenderID]=2,"PASS",IIf([SenderID]=3,"FAIL",
    IIf([SenderID]=4,"SFAIL",IIf([SenderID]=5,"NONE",IIf([SenderID]=-2147483641,
    "PERM_ERR",IIf([SenderID]=-2147483642,"TEMP_ERR",[SenderID])))))))
    
  5. Click OK to create the new SID field.

  6. Finally, drag the new SID field into the Outlook column headings and get rid of the Sender ID field you created earlier. Outlook will now display the SID status in words rather than numerical codes.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer he has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at http://www.brienposey.com.


MEMBER FEEDBACK TO THIS TIP

The SenderID.cfg file does not work for me. I do not have a "Language ID" subfolder. Even after creating one, the file will not install. It says it cannot find an IPMS.ico file.
—Michael D.

******************************************

This doesn't work. I get the error: "The form could not be installed. The file cannot be found. File C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\FORMS\LanguageID\IPMS.ico."
—Wesley B.

******************************************

I hecked into this problem, and discovered that the forms library is not in a consistent location. In some versions of Microsoft Office, the forms library is located at \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 11\Forms\Languages; in other versions, the Languages folder doesn't exist, but a folder named 1033 does. On those versions, the SenderID.cfg file should be placed into \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 11\FORMS\1033 folder.
—Brien M. Posey, tip author


Do you have comments on this tip? Let us know.
Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Article: Microsoft sheds light on anti-malware plans
  • Column: Why Sender ID is a non-starter
  • Learning Center: The spamfighter's toolbox
  • Reference Center: Spam prevention and management



  • This was first published in November 2005

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