This product from Sunbelt Software sells itself on being uniquely developed to be both user- and admin-friendly, which is quite a claim. It also says it is the best-selling anti-spam product for Microsoft Exchange environments, with over 4,500 enterprise installations. Judging from what we saw, it is easy to see why.

Installation went very smoothly, and before we knew it we were confronted with its simple Microsoft Management Console administration screen. The software comprises two components – the administration console and the report viewer.

iHateSpam runs on Windows 2000/2003 server together with Exchange 2000/2003. The minimum system requirements are a Pentium II 500MHz with 256MB of RAM.

If your network has several mail servers, you have to install the main component of the software on each, but the report module can be loaded on a desktop machine to make it more easily accessible.

The standard configuration uses an Access database in the installation folder, though Sunbelt recommends you use SQL should you have large amounts of reporting activity. The MMC interface is extremely intuitive and easy to use.

Everything that you will need to maintain a successful anti-spam policy can be found here. We were able to set up filters based on a number of criteria including whitelisted senders, blacklisted senders, blocked character sets as well as custom rules.

We were also able to establish policies so that different groups of users could share different rules depending on their needs – the filters can be assigned to individual users, groups or the whole firm.

iHateSpam dealt with our test batch of emails very well and was not fooled by the false-positive emails we had set up. This is because the engine of iHateSpam uses a comprehensive weighting system to determine whether incoming mail is junk or not.

iHateSpam for Exchange is a great piece of software that, if your company operates Exchange, would be hard to beat.