How do I know for which account CAS is prompting?

Outlook Express (OE) support died in 2002. Windows Mail (WM) replaced OE but only in Windows Vista. Windows Live Mail (WLM) replaces both OE and WM. Comodo AntiSpam (CAS) only supports the old dead OE and not WM or WLM (and many other common e-mail clients). That means I cannot use the Import button in the e-mail accounts list within CAS to get it updated (by grabbing the account info from the unknown/unsupported e-mail clients). I’d have to manual click New to create the e-mail account within CAS.

Alternatively, CAS seems to trigger when it sees e-mail traffic for which it has not yet had an account defined to recognize that traffic. In a test, no accounts were defined in CAS. I installed Windows Live Mail (WLM) and in it I defined an e-mail account. I started CAS. When there was a mail poll by WLM, CAS noticed the e-mail traffic and popped up a warning which was followed by a dialog to configure an e-mail account within CAS. The problem is that the user is given no clues as to which e-mail account on which CAS triggered. The user could have a dozen e-mail accounts defined in their e-mail client but not all of them might be enabled in that e-mail client. While CAS pops up its config window to have the user enter the parameters for that account, it doesn’t pre-fill in any of the fields to clue the user as to what account on which CAS triggered. Obviously CAS would know on which port it found e-mail traffic. It should also know to which mail host that traffic was directed. If the username were sent in clear text then it should see that, too. Somehow CAS found e-mail traffic and presented its prompt. Well, it should pre-fill in the info on which it triggered when it found that e-mail traffic; otherwise, the user has no clue for which e-mail account they should be entering its parameters in the new account being created for CAS.

I’m suspicious on what ports which CAS will monitor to trigger this create-a-new-account prompt. The standard ports are 25 for SMTP, 110 for POP, and 143 for IMAP (I don’t know if CAS even supports IMAP). But what if the mail host listens on different ports? Many ISPs are moving to port 587 for SMTP instead of the default of port 25. SSL POP usuallly uses port 995. SSL SMTP often uses port 465. I have seen some mail hosts that will listen on port 80 (to bypass censoring at companies that don’t permit access to off-domain mail hosts but still allow web surfing outside the company and that is on port 80 by default). I cannot find any configuration settings in CAS as to which ports that CAS will monitor for e-mail traffic.

By the way, if I have the same e-mail accounts defined in both Outlook and Outlook Express (to provide for backup, testing, or one polls some account but the other polls the other accounts), will CAS grab the e-mail accounts from both those supported e-mail clients and end up doubling the number of its own e-mail accounts? Say I have an account defined in both Outlook and OE. Will CAS show the account twice in its own e-mail account list? Currently I don’t have Outlook installed in the virtual machine under which I am trialing CAS but it seems its automatic grab of account info could end up with duplicate accounts defined in CAS.

Well, apparently I cannot use CAS on any host that uses an e-mail client that is not directly supported by CAS. Why? Because I get another prompt from CAS to define yet another new account on every mail poll by the unsupported e-mail client.

On a host where I deliberately installed Windows Live Mail (which is what I will be using instead of the 6 year-old support-dead Outlook Express), I did a mail poll. CAS noticed the e-mail traffic (on port 110) and popped up its warning dialog saying no matching account was yet defined in CAS. After closing that initial prompt, I’m presented with a window where I specify all the parameters for the e-mail account to create a new account within CAS. Okay, that’s done and I should not have to bother again with that e-mail account defined within CAS. WLM does another mail poll and again CAS prompts for me to define yet another new account although obviously I am polling the same e-mail account as before (there is only 1 e-mail account defined in WLM). If I go through the process again, I end up with 2 accounts defined in CAS but for the same e-mail account. On subsequent N mail polls by WLM, I would end up defining N duplicate accounts in CAS. Well, obviously I don’t want duplicate accounts defined in CAS so I would cancel out of the prompt from CAS to create a new account. But that also means on EVERY mail poll by WLM (or any unsupported e-mail client) that I would have to cancel out of CAS’ prompt to create a new account for it.

So I am restricted to using CAS only on a host where only its supported e-mail clients are installed. From what I remember during the installation, the only e-mail client supported are Microsoft’s Outlook (don’t which versions or if all versions are supported) and Outlook Express (for which support died back in 2002 and hasn’t changed since service pack 2 for Windows XP). Windows Live Mail will replace OE (and Windows Mail). If this problem is exhibited for WLM then I suspect the same happens for Thunderbird users. The restriction of installing and enabling CAS on a host where only Outlook and/or Outlook Express is installed definitely limits which users can use CAS. It pretty much immediately eliminates CAS as an anti-spam solution for me because I’ll be using WLM instead of OE on those hosts where I don’t have a license to use Outlook. Because of this problem with CAS, any further testing of it by me will have to devolve to using Outlook Express; however, that also means I will not be using CAS except as a trial in the virtual machine because I do not and will not be using OE on my parent hosts and instead use Outlook on one of them and WLM on the others (I only have 1 license of MS Office XP and I do comply with licenses and why I use non-Outlook e-mail clients on my other hosts).

The probable and easiest fix to CAS to get around this disaster is to disable all the automatic grabbing of account info (from supported e-mail clients) and eliminate the prompting when noticing e-mail traffic for which it does not currently have an account defined within CAS. Switch CAS to just do manual creation of e-mail accounts within it. If the user wants specific e-mail accounts monitored by CAS, have the user create accounts for those. Don’t try to detect when there is e-mail traffic because it simply doesn’t work with unsupported e-mail clients. Trying to make CAS support every e-mail client is a waste of time and results in only supporting the most common e-mail client, like the top 5 of them, and with users of the other unsupported e-mail clients still having problems with CAS. Let the user decide, not CAS.

Hi VanguardLH:

   :THNK You give excellent comments on CAS account settings. Thanks a lot!
   We will consider improvments, such as supporting Windows Mail or Live Mail, avoiding duplicating the same account  in CAS, supporting grabing accounts information from most popular mail clients, avoiding prompting on the traffic of unkown email accounts.
   Thank you again, VanguardLH.