MH Message Handling System


The MH Message Handling System is a software system developed for managing, storing and sending electronic mail. It operates on a framework that enables users to manage emails as individual files in a filesystem. This protocol allows for flexible command-line based email management, making it simpler for users to automate and customize their email workflows.


Em-Aitch Message Handling System

Key Takeaways

MH Message Handling System: Key Takeaways

  1. User-Friendly: MH Message Handling System simplifies the process of sending, receiving, and organizing emails. It allows users to easily organize, search, and filter their messages, making it highly user-friendly.
  2. Flexibility: MH provides extreme flexibility as it is structured into a collection of small and single purpose programs. This means that users can use only the components they need and they can also easily customize the system to fit their requirements.
  3. Compatibility: MH is designed to work on Unix-based systems, making it compatible with a wide array of technologies and platforms. This compatibility is a great advantage for administrators managing email systems in diverse environments.


The technology term “MH Message Handling System” is significant as it represents an email system and a set of electronic mail protocols and software applications. Typically used on Unix systems, it enables receiving, sending, storing, and retrieving electronic mail messages. It leverages a novel approach where each email message is kept as a separate file in a designated directory, promoting user-friendly operations like sorting, deleting, and reorganizing emails. The MH Message Handling System assists in enhancing overall email efficiency and allows development of custom scripts and components because it incorporates command line and batch processing. This ability to automate and customize email tasks makes it an essential tool in network communication infrastructure.


The MH Message Handling System is a highly innovative and robust tool primarily designed to facilitate the streamlining and management of electronic mail on Unix-based systems. Its main purpose is to provide users with the ability to send, receive, and organize electronic messages in an efficient and user-friendly manner. Unlike other monolithic mail user systems which present email as a single, unbroken list requiring linear navigation, the MH system distinctively allows users to manage each email as an individual file in a directory. This unique feature enables users to employ a variety of tools and utilities to parse and process the emails, thereby considerably enhancing the flexibility and performance of email handling tasks.MH Message Handling System is used by individuals as well as organizations, leveraging its features to increase productivity in managing emails. Users can utilize the system’s underlying structure, which allows each message to be a distinct file, to sort and group emails based on their specific needs. Customized scripts or external programs can be used in tandem with the MH system to extend its capabilities, ranging from automated email filtering, marking, and categorization to more complex operations such as mass email handling or integration with other software systems. Overall, the MH Message Handling System serves a crucial role in creating an efficient and adaptable environment for managing electronic communications.


1. Microsoft Exchange Server: This company-wide email server software from Microsoft uses Message Handling System (MHS) to manage, send, and store email communication throughout an organization’s network. It’s an essential component for business email administration and user mailbox management.2. Novell GroupWise: A collaborative software platform by Novell that uses MHS to provide email, calendaring, instant messaging, and document management. It was initially built around the MHS protocol for messaging communication and has evolved to support other protocols too like IMAP and SOAP.3. X.400 Services: Originated from ITU-T, X.400 was a suite of protocols for Message Handling Systems (MHS), with the goal to provide universal email service. It was deployed by a considerable number of enterprises and organizations globally for their internal and/or external email services, being an earlier real-world example of the MHS technology.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q: What is MH Message Handling System?A: The MH Message Handling System is an email system and a set of electronic mail commands developed at the RAND Corporation for Unix-based operating systems.Q: How does MH Message Handling System differ from other email systems?A: Unlike other mail interfaces where messages are typically stored in a single file and users interact with them directly, MH stores each email in a separate file and users interact with commands to perform functions like read, delete, and forward messages.Q: Which operating systems support MH Message Handling Systems?A: MH Message Handling System was developed for Unix based operating systems. However, it is adaptable and available for other OS such as Linux and Mac OS as well.Q: What are the main features of MH Message Handling System?A: Some features of MH include powerful scripting capabilities, flexible command-line options, and the ability to integrate with a variety of text editors and mail utilities. It also allows sorting, selection, and manipulation based on message headers.Q: Is MH Message Handling System user-friendly for beginners?A: MH tends to be more complex than graphical email systems and can have a steep learning curve for beginners. However, its versatility and power make it a favorite among intermediate and advanced users.Q: How can I get started with MH Message Handling System?A: The best place to start would be downloading the software from a trusted source or official MH website, then following user guides and tutorials to understand its structure and commands.Q: Does MH Message Handling System support attachments?A: Yes, MH supports email attachments. The functionality depends on the commands and processes implemented.Q: Can I integrate MH Message Handling System with other email clients?A: Yes, certain email clients allow for interaction with MH, enabling you to use its powerful features within a more user-friendly interface.Q: Are there alternatives to MH Message Handling System?A: Yes, there are various other email systems such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Apple Mail, which may offer more user-friendly interfaces, although they may not provide the same level of command-line control as MH.Q: What is the future of MH Message Handling System?A: While less popular than more user-intuitive email services, MH continues to be maintained and evolved, especially for users who appreciate command-line control or need powerful scripting capabilities.

Related Tech Terms

  • MHS Protocol: A standard set of communication rules that allows electronic messaging platforms to communicate and exchange messages.
  • ADI: Abbreviation for Application Data Interface, a tool allowing applications to send and receive messages through MHS.
  • MTA: Stands for Message Transfer Agent. It’s a software that transfers electronic mail messages from one computer to another.
  • X.400: A suite of ITU-T Recommendations that defines the ITU-T Message Handling System.
  • UA: User Agent, acting on behalf of the user to send or receive messages over MHS.

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