Outlook 2003 is incorrectly configured as the default mail client every time that you perform an Office installation or Office update that modifies Outlook

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Article ID: 933450 - View products that this article applies to.
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Symptoms

When you install Microsoft Office 2003, an Office 2003 service pack, or an Office 2003 update package, the default mail client that is configured in Microsoft Windows is removed. Instead, Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 is set as the default mail client.

You experience this problem if one of the following conditions is true:
  • The Office installation includes Outlook 2003.
  • The service pack or the updated package updates Outlook 2003.

Resolution

To resolve this problem, use one of the following methods, as appropriate for your situation.

Method 1: Pre-deployment

To resolve this problem before you install Outlook, use the Custom Installation Wizard (CIW) to create a Windows Installer transform (.mst) file to prevent Outlook from being set as the default mail client.

Note The Custom Installation Wizard is included in the Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit Tools. To obtain the Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit Tools, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=4BB7CB10-A6E5-4334-8925-3BCF308CFBAF&displaylang=en
To configure the setting to prevent Outlook from being set as the default mail client, follow these steps:
  1. Start the Custom Installation Wizard, and then follow the steps in the Custom Installation Wizard to the Change Office User Settings page.
  2. On the Change Office User Settings page, expand Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, expand Tools | Options, and then click Other.
  3. In the Setting list, double-click Make Outlook the default program for E-mail, Contacts, and Calendar.
  4. Click Apply Changes, verify that the Make Outlook the default program for E-mail, Contacts, and Calendar check box is not selected, and then click OK.
  5. Click Next, and then follow the remaining steps in the Custom Installation Wizard to create the transform file.
When you deploy Office, use the .mst file to modify the Outlook setting. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
829898 Support WebCast: Deploying Microsoft Office 2003 in an Enterprise Computing Environment

Method 2: Post-deployment

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


To resolve this problem after you install Outlook or after you install a service pack or an update that sets Outlook as the default mail client, use one of the following methods.

Method A

Create a batch file to set the (Default) registry value in the following registry subkey to the appropriate default mail client:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Clients\Mail
You can run this batch file at startup or by using the
Run
registry key. Also, you can configure a Group Policy object to run the batch file. For more information about how to use a Group Policy object to deploy this kind of batch file, see the "More Information" section.

Since this registry key in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER portion of the registry, a Repair of Microsoft Office or Outlook will not cause it be modified.

Method B

Use the Windows Installer program to remove and then reinstall Outlook. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Use the following MSIEXEC command to remove Outlook:
    MSIEXEC.exe /i path to MSI File REMOVE=OUTLOOKFiles
    Note This command is case sensitive.
  2. Use the following MSIEXEC command to reinstall Outlook:
    MSIEXEC.exe /i path to MSI File ADDLOCAL=OUTLOOKFiles OUTLOOKASDEFAULTMAILAPP=0 OUTLOOKASDEFAULTCALENDARAPP=0 OUTLOOKASDEFAULTCONTACTSAPP=0
    Note This command is case sensitive.

    This command specifies that Outlook is not the default mail client. Additionally, after you run this command, Outlook is no longer set as the default mail client when you update Outlook.

Method C

Use Registry Editor to change the repair installation process. A registry value is used during the Office repair installation process to determine whether your default mail client is Outlook. After you modify this registry value, Outlook is no longer set as the default mail client during the Office repair installation process.
  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  2. Select the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\Components
  3. On the Edit menu, click Find, type 02:\software\clients\Mail, and then click Find Next.
  4. When you find the key in step 3, click the File menu, and then click Export to create a backup for .reg file.
  5. Double-click the value that contains the 02:\software\clients\Mail data.
  6. Remove the following string in the Value Data text box:
    02:\software\clients\Mail
  7. Exit Registry Editor.
  8. Click Start, click Run, type Appwiz.cpl, and then click OK.
  9. Select Office 2003 product, and then click Change.
  10. Select Re-install/Repair, and then click Next.
  11. Select Re-install Office, and then click Completed.
  12. When Office re-installation is completed, verify that the default mail program is not changed to Outlook.

More information

The following example shows you how to configure a Group Policy to modify the default mail client.

Example

To deploy a registry entry to modify the default mail client, follow these steps.

Step 1: Create a .reg file to specify the appropriate default mail client

  1. Start a text editor such as Notepad, and then type or paste registry information that resembles the following:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\Mail]
    @="Outlook Express"
    
    Note This example uses Microsoft Outlook Express as the default mail client that you want to configure. However, you can replace Outlook Express with the mail client that is appropriate for your organization.
  2. Save the text file as a .reg file. For example, save the file as MailClient.reg.
  3. Copy the MailClient.reg file to a shared network location such as the Netlogon share on a domain controller.

    Note If you copy this file to the Netlogon share of a domain controller, you must copy it to the Netlogon share of the domain controller that holds the PDC Emulator operations master role.

Step 2: Create a script to update the Windows registry

  1. Start a text editor such as Notepad, and then type or paste script information that resembles the following:
    @echo off
    regedit /s \\example.com\NETLOGON\MailClient.reg
    Note In this script, the location of the registry file is the Netlogon share of a domain controller. However, you can modify this location, as appropriate for your situation.
  2. Save the file as a .cmd file. For example, save the file as UpdateMailClient.cmd.
  3. Copy the UpdateMailClient.cmd file to the same shared network location to which you copied the MailClient.reg file. For example, copy the UpdateMailClient.cmd file to the Netlogon share of a domain controller.

Step 3: Create a Group Policy object to run the script at startup

  1. Log on to a domain controller, and then start the Active Directory Users and Computers tool. To do this, click Start, click Run, type dsa.msc, and then click OK.
  2. Right-click the container in which you want to configure the Group Policy object, and then click Properties. For example, right-click the domain container or right-click an organizational unit container.
  3. Click the Group Policy tab, and then click New.
  4. Type a descriptive name for the policy, and then press ENTER.
  5. Click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
  6. To prevent this policy from being applied to certain users or groups, add the particular user or group, and then click to clear the following check boxes in the Allow column:
    • Read
    • Apply Group Policy
  7. After you modify the permissions, click OK.
  8. Click Edit to start the Group Policy Object Editor tool.
  9. Expand Computer Configuration, expand Windows Settings, and then click Scripts (Startup/Shutdown).
  10. In the results pane, double-click Startup.
  11. Click Add, and then type the UNC path of the .cmd file in the Script Name box. For example, type \\domainControllerName\NETLOGON\UpdateMailClient.cmd.
  12. Click OK two times, and then exit the Group Policy Object Editor tool.
  13. Click Close to exit the ObjectName Properties dialog box.
When client computers apply Group Policy, the .cmd file updates the Windows registry to specify the default mail client. Therefore, you must make sure that the policy is only applied to the computers for which you want to modify the default mail client.

Properties

Article ID: 933450 - Last Review: September 3, 2013 - Revision: 4.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
Keywords: 
kbexpertiseadvanced kbtshoot kbprb KB933450

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