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Clear the clutter

In June 2016 we were introduced to Office365, but do we really know how all the functions of this online mail service work?

One such a function is the “Clutter Folder”. 

We have had many students (and some staff) who have reported that “email was missing” or that they were not receiving mail sent to them by mailing lists. While we initially thought that this was caused by users deleting mail or a problem with the email servers, an investigation revealed that in many cases the Clutter folder was the culprit. 

As it was originally designed, the Clutter folder was supposed to help users filter low-priority email, saving time for more important messages. Supposedly, the email server would keep track of the email users read and the ones they didn’t and put them into the Clutter folder. For all new students, as well as staff, the mailbox feature “Clutter” is turned on. Once it is turned on, Clutter is automatic.

Because mail is left unread for a couple of days, Outlook 2016 starts sending a lot of mail to the Clutter Folder, leaving students to complain that mail is not being delivered and “important mail is missing”. All the “missing” mail is still there. It is just in the Clutter Folder.

The best solution is to disable the Clutter folder entirely, so unread mail is not sent there. Here is how to do it:

  1. Sign in to Outlook Web Access (
  2. In the top right-hand corner, click the small cog icon. A sidebar will appear.
  3. Near the bottom of the sidebar is a heading saying My App Settings.
  4. Click Mail underneath this and you will be taken to the Mail Options page.
  5. On the left menu, underneath the Automatic Processing menu item, click Clutter.
  6. Uncheck the box that says Separate items identified as clutter
  7. Click the Save button at the top of the page.

Once the Clutter filter has been disabled, you can then move all your “missing” mail in the Clutter Folder to your Inbox. 


[Information supplied by David Wiles]


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