Outlook has a great feature that allows us to “ignore” particular email conversations that do not really interest us without asking the sender(s) to remove us from future emails. When we select Ignore on an email message, Outlook deletes that email and it also keeps track of all future emails related to the ignored message. If a future email related to the originally ignored email arrives in our Inbox, Outlook automatically moves these future emails to our Deleted Items folder.
But how about if we no longer want to ignore a particular conversation? Easy! Simply remove the “ignore” status of the email thread using the following steps:
- Select your Deleted Items folder;
- Select the email that is currently set to be ignored by Outlook;
- Click Ignore on the Delete section of the Hometab on the ribbon:
- If prompted, click Stop Ignoring Conversation:
At this point, the email is automatically moved from our Deleted Items folder to the folder from which the it originated, and future emails for this thread will not be automatically deleted.
We can determine if an email is being ignored by the status of the Ignore button in the ribbon. If the Ignore button is highlighted (as in the screenshot above), the conversation thread on that email is currently being ignored by Outlook.
When we enable the Ignore option on a conversation, a message is created in the Associated Contents table of the Conversation Action Settings folder of our mailbox (which we can look at using MFCmapi for example):
It is important to have the following in mind:
- If there is no activity on a thread for 14 days, the conversation action message for the thread is automatically deleted;
- The age of the conversation action message is determined by the oldest message for the conversation;
- We can modify the number of days at which the conversation action messages expire using the following registry data:
- Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\x.0\Outlook\Options\Conversations
- DWORD: OnGoingActionsExpiration
- Value: integer specifying the number of days after which an inactive conversation has its conversation action message deleted.
- We can start Outlook using the following switch to delete all conversation action messages: Outlook.exe /CleanConvOnGoingActions. Using this switch will not move emails back to their original location, but because the conversation action message no longer exists for the conversation, any new messages for the conversation will remain in the Inbox;
- We can also get different behavior from this feature, depending on the version of Exchange being used:
With Exchange 2007 and a cached mode profile, Ignore is based on SUBJECT. For example, any message with “Help!” as the subject will be automatically sent to Deleted Items as long as we clicked Ignore for a previous message with Help! as the subject;
With Exchange 2010 and later versions, Ignore is based on the CONVERSATION ID and only the messages related to the same ignored conversation are automatically sent to the Deleted Items folder.