Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Microsoft is fixing one of the worst things about email

Published May 11th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
Office 365
Image: Microsoft

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

  • Microsoft has enabled a Reply All Storm Protection feature to all Office 365 accounts worldwide.
  • The feature will prevent people from using the reply all response to email chains once certain conditions are meant.
  • The protection will kick in once 10 people use “reply all” to emails involving over 5,000 recipients within 60 minutes.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

We may be talking to friends and coworkers via instant messaging more than ever, but email isn’t going away anytime soon. Like it or not, we all depend on email to some extent, and we’re yet to see anyone overhaul the email experience. But several companies are still trying to improve email, and one of them is trying to fix one of the worst things about email. Microsoft has just enabled a feature it announced last year on Microsoft 365 (Office 365) accounts that will prevent annoying “Replay All Storms” in the future.

If you’ve been at the receiving end of a “reply all” email chain, you know how bad things can get. Someone in your organization chose “reply all” instead of “reply” intentionally or by mistake, and all hell broke loose from there, as others may have been tempted to go for “reply all” responses themselves.

Microsoft announced plans to enable a Reply All Storm Protection feature on email accounts at Ignite 2019, and the feature is finally ready to roll out to all Microsoft 365 accounts worldwide:

Initially the Reply All Storm Protection feature will mostly benefit large organizations who have large distribution lists. When the feature detects a likely reply all storm taking place on a large DL it will block subsequent attempts to reply all to the thread and will return an NDR to the sender. The reply all block will remain in place for several hours.

The Reply All Storm Protection will work using the following conditions at first: “10 reply all-s to over 5000 recipients within 60 minutes.” Once a storm is detected, the replies will be blocked for four hours, offering the following message to anyone attempting to reply to the conversation.

Image source: Microsoft

Those parameters might change in the future, Microsoft explained in its advisory, as the company will tweak the feature based on customer feedback and analytics.
While the feature is active on your Outlook account, you won’t start noticing it until the next massive reply all storm hits. Microsoft says the function is already working internally:

We’re already seeing the first version of the feature successfully reduce the impact of reply all storms within Microsoft (humans still behave like humans no matter which company they work for ;) and believe it will also benefit many other organizations as well.

The Reply All Storm Protection feature is something others should consider adding to their own email products in the future.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

More Tech