Determining internal vs. external email

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I've been trying to get a good Outlook filter to determine internal from external mail. You'd almost think this is a standard request, but it's actually pretty difficult, especially at a large organization like Intel. After some time trying to figure it out and following some bad advice from Microsoft, I ran across Ray Jezek's Blog : Outlook Rules with Exchange.

The idea is fairly sound, but alas, does not work at Intel, where we have many Exchange servers. When a message moves from one server to another, the message gets Internet headers, so the idea of filtering a message header for the word "Received" doesn't work.

I tried other variations on this theme, though, and finally came up with the solution. My rule now matches any message with a message header containing the text of one of the servers listed in's MX records. Internally, our mail will not use one of these hosts, so that's the only sure-fire way to catch external, and only external email that I've found. I suppose if the sender listed the IP address of the mail host my rule would fail, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. ;-)

Emil's Wicked Cool Blog