Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents


Q: There is no "Install" or "Setup" application, where do I put the files?
A: PostArmor is a very simple application, it doesn't need to change anything on your system, and to maintain compatibility with all operating systems it doesn't write anything in the Registry (on MS Windows), in the Preferences folder (on Mac OS) or any other "special" place that is platform-dependent. Thus, to install the software, just copy the folder/directory that comes with the packaging for your system in a place of your convenience, for example "Program Files" on MS Windows, "Applications" on Mac OS, and so on. On operating systems with a strong user control (i.e. Mac OS X, all the Unixes, etc.) be careful to install in a place where the software has permission to write in its own folders.
CAUTION: When upgrading from a previous version, it is advisable to maintain the old filters folder untouched, unless explicitly required, as all your setup is contained there. Therefore, copy to the old folder just the .jar file, the launcher app (if any) and the docs: DO NOT copy the filters folder!

Q: There is no "Uninstall" option, how do I remove the application?
A: Again, PostArmor is a very simple application, to remove it completely from the system just remove the folder it is in, together with the docs and the filters folders.

Q: Why can't I close the account list window without exiting the program?
A: This question comes from Mac users: the matter here is the cross-platform nature of PostArmor. Mac OS is the only one where an application can stay active without any window open, all other OSs require a "main" window to stay on the screen while the app is active, when this is closed the application exits. If the window is disturbing, you can always minimize it...

Q: Where is the executable? I can't find anything to launch PostArmor!
A: This question comes from Windows users instead: actually, if a recent version of Java is installed, there is no need of an executable, as the .jar file can be double clicked to launch the application. In case an old version is installed (pre-Java 2), the .bat file included performs the same function.


Q: I have lost my e-mail password, can I use PostArmor?
A: Yes, as long as your e-mail client has it. PostArmor, when contacted by the client, asks for the password of the account and sends it along to the mail server. For security reasons, the password is not retained when PostArmor quits, so the only function you cannot use is the "Check now!" for the first time after launch: once the e-mail client has given the password at the first connection, PostArmor can check the mail server on its own (for periodical autocheck, for example).

Q: There is no "Port" option in my e-mail client, how do I configure it to use PostArmor?
A: Unfortunately, some good e-mail clients don't allow the configuration of the port, or, as Eudora, keep it hidden from normal users, preventing them to search for PostArmor on the standard port it is listening at (8110). In that case, the easier option is to launch the software using the "-pop" flag (see the User Notes), specifying the use of the standard POP port (110). For example, on a Java 2 system, the command line would be:
java -jar PostArmor.jar -pop 110
On a multi-user operating system, the procedure has to be followed by a System Administrator, and of course prevents the installation of a "standard" POP server on the same machine. To simplify things for GUI based systems, on Mac OS 9 the default port is already 110, while on Mac OS X a special Launcher has been included in the distribution.

Q: How can I use my e-mail account with PostArmor?
A: accounts, as implemented in Mac OS X, are just IMAP accounts with many configuration details added automatically: thus, you can insert your user name and "" as IMAP server in the PostArmor configuration window. On applications like Apple Mail, you'll have to create a new POP account with the same data, as PostArmor doesn't emulate a IMAP server in this release, but only a POP.

Evaluating spam

Q: PostArmor lets too much spam come in my mailbox!
A: PostArmor comes with some standard filters and a spammers list that has proven to be very effective during the testing period, with a success rate of over 95%. It is a never ending war, however, and for every new armor there is a new bullet, and vice versa. The easiest thing to do is blocking the originating address (some spammers always use the same sender), so that any further message from there will be blocked, while a more sophisticated tactics is picking out some significant key words from the subject (or any other header) and setup a filter that blocks all messages with similar subjects.

Q: PostArmor blocks too much of my normal mail!
A: The main reason this could happen is that you've subscribed to some mailing list: mailing lists are by definition sent to a large number of recipients, thus they have all the appearance to be spam. To avoid misjudgment, add the domain(s) of the mailing lists from where you expect to receive messages to the accepted senders' list: for example, PostArmor comes with automatic pass-through of messages coming from Yahoo! Groups.

Q: I've addresses that forward to the one I want to check: how can I configure PostArmor to recognize them as "my address", letting them through?
A: The default weight assigned to a message that doesn't contain the user's address is 10. To compensate this, we've to add a rule with a negative weight of -10 when the recipient is a forwarded address. In other words, if I have "" as main address and "" as an address that forwards to the first one, the messages directed to will be regarded as spam with a score of 10, as they don't contain To compensate, we can add a rule set "Accept forwarded recipient" with a relation "Or", weight -10 and rules:

Bouncing and SpamCop reporting

Q: PostArmor always fails to bounce messages on my Mac!
A: The "Bounce" function, as well as the "Verify sender" and "SpamCop report" options, relies on the possibility to query a Domain Name Server (a special machine that "knows" where to find addresses on the Internet) for the mail server related to a given sender. Unfortunately, on Mac OS 9 there is no possibility for a non-native application to find out at least the address of the default DNS: thus, the application doesn't know where to ask the information it needs, and fails.

Q: So I have no chance to use the advanced functions under Mac OS 9?
A: PostArmor, starting from version 1.1, gives the user a one-time chance to specify manually a DNS when it's started the first time: if you answer with a correct address, it will be used and all functions will be enabled, if you don't the software assumes you don't know, and will not ask again.
You can add it later modifying the configuration file referring to the XML Format Guide

Q: But, how can I find what the DNS is for me?
A: You can use many, but it's good policy to use the nearest to your zone, i.e. the one that is responsible of your domain: to find it, go to this Demon page, in the second field type the domain of your ISP (normally it's equivalent to the part after the @ in the email address you have with them): in the page that follows, take the first answer after the NS and use that.
For example:
Q: Why don't you add an automatic function to send all spam to SpamCop without the user doing it all the time?
A: The SpamCop function needs a bit of explanation: if a mail server (or a software like PostArmor) doesn't use their service, notifying them of spam doesn't give any benefit. On the other hand, if PostArmor marks something as spam, it's likely that any other filter system around will do: thus, the sensible thing to do is sending them the (hopefully few) mails that PostArmor doesn't get (because there is nothing "suspicious" nor it's blacklisted already). After all, if PostArmor blocks a spam, chances are they've it already...


Q: PostArmor always fails to launch on my Mac!
A: Mac OSs before OS X, while normally have MRJ (Macintosh Runtime for Java) pre-installed, don't come with the Swing library included. You have to download it from the Sun web site, where you can find a Macintosh installer. Unfortunately, the standard installation puts the libraries in a place where an application has little chance to find them: these are the steps you've to do yourself for PostArmor to find the libraries it needs Update: As of November 2002, Sun has dropped support to any old Swing/JFC library. As such, while a version for Mac OS 9 is still present, we're forced to drop support for it as well.

Q: PostArmor launches on my Mac, but gives an error saying that it can't open port ...!
A: It seems that a strange bug prevents Java to work correctly in a network when the machine's name has weird characters in it (and unfortunately the default name assigned to the Mac when you install a fresh System does indeed contain non-standard chars). The solution is to find your machine's name (it's normally in the Sharing preferences) and rewrite it so that no special characters are used, possibly not even spaces.

Q: PostArmor sometimes takes too much time to check my mailbox!
A: PostArmor checks all the messages in a mailbox and maintains a cache of what has been evaluated already, to avoid re-checks. If too much time passes between checks, however, it could be that many messages have arrived, and the downloading and evaluation of the messages takes a longer time. Furthermore, the "Verify sender" option, while very effective, when inserted could take up even more time when you receive e-mail from people you don't know: use of the "Autocheck" option, with a frequency balanced on how much mail you receive, helps a lot in these cases. Of course, this doesn't apply to dial-up users.

Q: I've another problem with PostArmor, that's not described here...
A: PostArmor has a feature that can help pointing out problems. Logging code has been left behind as a troubleshooting tool: you can activate it doing the following:
A less verbose version is obtained if you click on the line "Website...", but that is almost useless for troubleshooting, just a activity record...

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