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Set the default email for mailto links

Normal links on a web page take you to a new web page or website, but there is a special type of link called a mailto. It is used when the website wants to display an email address for contact purposes. When you click a mailto link on a web page your default email program or service starts and a new email message is created. It is a convenient feature, except when the the wrong email program is run. For example, you may use Gmail, but instead Outlook is started. How do you set the default to whatever mail program or service you want to use?

Setting the default depends on which web browser you are using and the simplest to configure is Firefox. If you have the latest version then click the Firefox button in the top left corner and then Options. Select the Applications section and then scroll down the list until you get to mailto. Select it and click the drop-down list on the right. Choose one of the options on the list, such as Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo! Mail. If the program you want to use isn't listed then click Use other. A small window opens and a Browse button enables you to select a program on the disk drive.

Firefox mailto

If you use Google Chrome then there are a number of extensions that will configure mailto links. Click the spanner icon in the top right corner and select Tools, Extensions. Click Get more extensions and enter mailto into the search box. Mailto: is a good one that enables you to choose from AOL mail, Fastmail, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail and Zoho mail. Mailto: for Gmail is a simple extension that opens a new Gmail compose window when mailto links are clicked. There is Mailto: Hotmail and Mailto: Yahoo! Mail and others.

Here's a slightly different method. click Start, Run and enter regedit. In the left hand pane find the following key, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Classes \mailto \shell \open \command and double click the Default value on the right hand side. Change the contents to "C:\Users\YourName\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" https://mail.google.com/mail?extsrc=mailto&url=%1, replacing YourName with your Windows account name. Now Google Mail with open in Chrome whenever you click an email link in any web browser, including Internet Explorer.

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