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MailFrontier Desktop review: MailFrontier Desktop

Of the antispam apps we've seen, MailFrontier Desktop is the best at doing exactly what it's supposed to do: block spam.

Daniel Tynan
2 min read

MailFrontier Desktop 4.2


MailFrontier Desktop

The Good

Excellent accuracy; minimal false positives; blocks foreign-language e-mail; easy to use; highly customizable.

The Bad

Only e-mail tech support available; can't import address books after installation.

The Bottom Line

Move over, Norton AntiSpam. MailFrontier Desktop is our pick for pain-free yet effective spam relief.

MailFrontier Desktop 4.2 serves up powerful spam-fighting tools that are so easy, you don't even have to think about them--exactly what you want from a junk-mail filter. The program's performance is outstanding, too. In our informal tests, it trapped more of the junk straight out of the chute than Norton AntiSpam 2005 or McAfee SpamKiller 6.0, while tagging fewer legitimate messages (false positives). After just a few days of training, MailFrontier Desktop trapped nearly all of our junk with almost no false positives--the best results we've seen from any desktop antispam filter.

Setup is easy: Just download the 3.5MB install file and let her rip. The program automatically creates a toolbar inside Outlook or Outlook Express and sets up a folder to stash suspect messages. Note: We discovered the hard way that you can't import an address book once you've installed the product; you'll either have to reinstall or manually enter each address.

If MailFrontier Desktop misses a piece of spam, select it and click the Junk button. MailFrontier sends the message to its Junk Mail folder and adds the sender to your Blocked list. If it blocks a legit message by mistake, click the Unjunk button to put the e-mail back into your Inbox and add the sender to your Allowed list--overall, an easy process.

Hate combing through your MailFrontier folder looking for legit mail? Turn on the program's optional Challenges feature. When someone not on your Allowed list sends you mail, MailFrontier Desktop e-mails a challenge that the person not on your Allowed list must respond to before his or her message can reach your Inbox. Because virtually all spam is sent by automated computer scripts, only real humans will be able to get that mail past MailFrontier.

MailFrontier Desktop is far more configurable than Norton AntiSpam 2005 or McAfee SpamKiller 6.0. You can choose to block some forms of spam, such as sex or gambling ads, and not others. Like Norton AntiSpam, MailFrontier also lets you block any messages coming to you in a foreign language.

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Do you find some types of spam more to your liking than others? MailFrontier 4.2 lets you customize its spam filter to let in more of one kind of message and less of another.

Another unique feature is MailFrontier Desktop's scam filter, which isolates potentially fraudulent e-mail known as phishing scams. In limited tests, however, MailFrontier failed to identify any of the known scams we threw at it.

Unlike Norton AntiSpam 2005 or McAfee SpamKiller 6.0, MailFrontier Desktop provides only e-mail support for its desktop users. (Small-business customers get one free phone call, then must pay $100 per incident; enterprise versions come bundled with support.) We sent our e-mail question on Friday evening and got an accurate answer the following Tuesday. That's a fine turnaround if you're a casual user, but business users will demand a more prompt response.


MailFrontier Desktop

Score Breakdown

Setup 9Features 9Support 7