How to change the default mail client for Internet Explorer

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Article ID: 154359 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

This article describes how to change the default mail client for Internet Explorer.

MORE INFORMATION

Changing the Default Mail Client

To change the default mail client in Internet Explorer, follow these steps.

Internet Explorer 5

  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  3. Click the Programs tab.
  4. In the E-mail box and in the Newsgroups box, click the program you want.
  5. Click OK.

Internet Explorer 4.0, 4.01

  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. On the View menu, click Internet Options.
  3. Click the Programs tab.
  4. In the Mail box and in the News box, click the program you want.
  5. Click OK.

Internet Explorer 3.0

  1. Start Internet Explorer.
  2. On the View menu, click Options.
  3. Click the Programs tab.
  4. In the Mail box in the Mail And News area, click the program you want.
  5. Click OK.

Registered File Types That Are Modified When You Change the Default Mail Client

In Internet Explorer, these changes modify the URL:MailToProtocol registered file type that is listed when you use the following steps.

Internet Explorer 4.0, 4.01, 5 for Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0

  1. In My Computer, click Options (or Folder Options) on the View menu, and then click File Types.
  2. Click the URL:MailToProtocol line to select it, click Edit, click Open in the Actions box, and then click Edit. The command line that controls the program that is used to open a MailTo Uniform Resource Locator (URL) appears in the Application Used To Perform Action box.

Internet Explorer 4.0 for Windows 3.1

  1. In Internet Explorer, click Internet Options on the View menu, click the Programs tab, and then click File Types.
  2. Click the URL:MailToProtocol line to select it, click Edit, click Open in the Actions box, and then click Edit. The command line that controls the program that is used to open a MailTo Uniform Resource Locator (URL) appears in the Application Used To Perform Action box.

Internet Explorer 3.0

  1. In Internet Explorer, click Options on the View menu, click the Programs tab, and then click File Types.
  2. Click the URL:MailToProtocol line to select it, click Edit, click Open in the Actions box, and then click Edit. The command line that controls the program that is used to open a MailTo Uniform Resource Locator (URL) appears in the Application Used To Perform Action box.
Some programs may modify this setting without updating the list of programs available in Internet Explorer options for this function. For example, the Eudora Internet mail client changes the URL:MailToProtcol registered file type to:
C:\EudoraFolder\EUDORA.EXE /m
For additional information about the behavior that occurs in Internet Explorer when you install Eudora, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
149617 Eudora changes default MailTo Handler
You can also change the default program back to Internet Mail or Windows Messaging in the Mail box on the Programs tab.

Selecting Internet Mail in the Mail box changes the URL:MailToProtcol registered file type to:
rundll32.exe C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\mailnews.dll,Mail_RunDLL
Selecting Windows Messaging in the Mail box changes the registered file type to:
rundll32.exe url.dll,MailToProtocolHandler %l

Specifying Microsoft Outlook as the Default Mail Client

To specify Microsoft Outlook 97 as the program you want to open MailTo URL addresses, use the following steps.

Internet Explorer 4.0, 4.01, 5 for Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0

  1. In My Computer, click Options (or Folder Options) on the View menu, and then click File Types.
  2. Click the URL:MailToProtocol line to select it, click Edit, click Open in the Actions box, and then click Edit. Click the Application Used To Perform Action box and press DELETE to delete the data in the box.
  3. Type the following single line for the Application Used To Perform Action box for the Open command:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\OUTLOOK.EXE" -c IPM.Note /m "%1
    NOTE: Type the quotation marks in the box.
  4. To save the changes, click OK until you return to My Computer.

Internet Explorer 4.0 for Windows 3.1

  1. In Internet Explorer, click Internet Options on the View menu, click the Programs tab, and then click File Types.
  2. Click the URL:MailToProtocol line to select it, click Edit, click Open in the Actions box, and then click Edit. Click the Application Used To Perform Action box and press DELETE to delete the data in the box.
  3. Type the following line for the Application Used To Perform Action box for the Open command:
    C:\OUTLOOK\EXCHNG.EXE /m
  4. To save the changes, click OK until you return to Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer 3.0

  1. In Internet Explorer, click Options on the View menu, click the Programs tab, and then click File Types.
  2. Click the URL:MailToProtocol line to select it, click Edit, click Open in the Actions box, and then click Edit. Click the Application Used To Perform Action box and press DELETE to delete the data in the box.
  3. Type the following single line for the Application Used To Perform Action box for the Open command:
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\OUTLOOK.EXE" -c IPM.Note /m "%1
    NOTE: Type the quotation marks in the box.
  4. To save the changes, click OK until you return to Internet Explorer.

Specifying Microsoft Outlook Express as the Default Mail Client

To specify Microsoft Outlook Express as the program you want to open MailTo URL addresses, use the following steps.

Internet Explorer 4.0, 4.01, 5 for Windows 95/98 and Windows NT 4.0

  1. In My Computer, click Options (or Folder Options) on the View menu, and then click File Types.
  2. Click the URL:MailToProtocol line to select it, click Edit, click Open in the Actions box, and then click Edit. Click the Application Used To Perform Action box and press DELETE to delete the data in the box.
  3. Type the following single line for the Application Used To Perform Action box for the Open command:
    "C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\Msimn.exe" /mailurl:%1
    NOTE: Type the quotation marks in the box.
  4. To save the changes, click OK until you return to My Computer.

Internet Explorer 4.0 for Windows 3.1

  1. In Internet Explorer, click Internet Options on the View menu, click the Programs tab, and then click File Types.
  2. Click the URL:MailToProtocol line to select it, click Edit, click Open in the Actions box, and then click Edit. Click the Application Used To Perform Action box and press DELETE to delete the data in the box.
  3. Type the following single line for the Application Used To Perform Action box for the Open command:
    "C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\Msimn.exe" /mailurl:%1"
    NOTE: Type the quotation marks in the box.
  4. To save the changes, click OK until you return to My Computer.

Specifying Older Mail Programs

The list of mail programs that you can choose under the Internet Explorer options is made up of registry keys that outline the behavior of the program you want to use. The program should be written to add itself to the registry. If you are using an older mail program, you may want to contact the program's manufacturer to determine how to make it the default mail program.

How to Modify the Registry

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

This section describes how to add your program to the list of Internet service programs available to Internet Explorer.

By changing the values that are stored in the registry for extended services such as mail and news, it is possible for Internet Explorer to start programs that provide specialized Internet services. By appending new key definitions to the end of the registry path, it is possible to add other programs to the menu items that are available within Internet Explorer.

For example, to include a mail client program in the list of available programs, register your client programs in the following registry key:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Clients\Mail\Your_Mail_Client_Name
Define the client and the path to the program to be started by Internet Explorer:
Key: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Clients\Mail\Your_Mail_Client_Name\shell\open\command
Value: "C:\Program Files\Your Folder Name\YOUR_MAIL_CLIENT_NAME.EXE"
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.
For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
176571 Cannot specify mail program in Internet Explorer
The information in this article applies to: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0 for Windows.
Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.

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Article ID: 154359 - Last Review: July 2, 2010 - Revision: 4.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.01
Keywords: 
kbhowto KB154359
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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