In this chapter, we presented a quick overview of two common mail systems used on Windows: Internet email and Microsoft Exchange.

The protocols defined by the various standards are still the most common in use for Windows. Many Windows users use email only through an Internet service provider, and the vast majority of these provide email servers that use the POP3 and SMTP protocols. We presented enough information for you to have a basic understanding of these protocols, and how to make use of them from Python. For further information, you should consult the Python documentation on these Python modules.

In many corporate Windows environments, Microsoft Exchange is the mail server of choice. Although Microsoft Exchange generally supports the Internet protocols, it also supports a far more flexible and simple interface using COM. If you work in an Exchange environment, we’ve given you enough information to get started with the rich model exposed by Exchange. For more information, see the CDO documentation at

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