Can I use xp_sendmail to send email from SQL Server without installing Microsoft Outlook?

You don't have to install Outlook on a SQL Server that uses SQL Mail. SQL Mail only requires that you load a Messaging API (MAPI)-compliant mail client on the server, and for better or worse, Outlook is the easiest client to use for SQL Mail. However, you can use any MAPI client.

I rarely discuss third-party tools in this column, but I'm making an exception this time. If you want an alternative to Outlook, check out XPSMTP, a shareware tool available at http://www.sqldev.net. Gert Drapers, a Microsoft architect and former group program manager on the SQL Server tools team, wrote this tool and runs SQLDev.Net as a private, Microsoft-independent site. XPSMTP is similar to the built-in xp_sendmail utility, but as the name suggests, XPSMPT requires only SMTP connectivity. The tool doesn't support any of the mail read or processing capabilities that the built-in SQL Mail tools do, but in my experience, few customers use SQL Mail for anything other than sending mail. XPSMTP might be a cost-effective way for you to send mail from SQL Server. It's hard to beat free!