Not receiving an important message? Check Junk Mail and Quarantine

search Junk Mail

This is a common problem. Someone has sent a critical message repeatedly and you cannot find it. There are two probable places to find it. Junk Mail or on the Exchange Server Quarantine. Here is how you find it…

Photo credit: Astrocatou / Foter / CC BY-NC and Nikon
(Intentionally used binoculars instead of telescope because it is a more familiar search icon)

Check Junk Mail

This one is easy. Go to Inbox. Look at the folder list on the left side and open the Junk Mail folder. Search for the message. If you find it – there are two thing you must do:

  • Ensure that similar messages do not land up in Junk Mail ever again
    Right click on the mail, choose Junk – Not Junk

    Junk Mail
    Choose Never Block Sender if you expect only that sender is likely to send you more mails. However, consider the other two options as well.
    If other persons from the same company are likely to send mails, choose Never Block Sender’s Domain option.

  • Move the mail to Inbox
    As this particular mail is useful to you, it should not be kept in Junk Mail folder.
    Open the mail and look at the header. Click on the blue message and choose Move to Inbox. Also notice the retention policy for Junk mail (30 days in this case – the blue box). This may be different for your organization.


  • What if the message is NOT found in Junk Mail?

    There is another place you should look at – it is called Quarantine. The mail server identifies suspicious messages and puts them into a special holding area called Quarantine. You cannot see these messages in Outlook.

    How to see Quarantined Messages?

    Here I am assuming that you are using Office 365. If not, you have to talk to your IT team to find out the exact location of quarantine messages.

    Periodically the mail server sends you a mail showing a list of Quarantine messages. Search for that mail. If you find the desired mail listed there, choose Release To Inbox. Also choose Report as Not Junk. Each of these clicks will open a browser page where you will need to confirm each action.

    Quarantine mails are sent periodically. If you cannot locate that mail, you will have to go to the server to look for the desired mail.

  • Go To
  • Login using your business email id and password
  • Look at the quarantined messages. Choose the Search button (lens) to find it if there are too many messages.
  • Highlight the desired message and click the Mail icon to release it to Inbox


  • If you expect more messages from the same source, click on the Edit button (the pencil). In the window which opens, choose the complex looking option:
    Release selected message(s) and report as false positive…


  • That’s It. Remember that Quarantined messages do not stay here forever. These are deleted typically after 15 days.
  • Recommended Best Practice

    If you get mails from lots of third parties often, it is a good idea to check the Junk Mail folder and Quarantine periodically – say every week.

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