The 'mailto:' or default mail program is a concept maintained by Windows and changed using Internet Explorer. Usually. We examine how to change the default mail program to a couple of popular services.
When viewing some web sites, I want to send them an email for whatever reason. I click, “contact us”, a window opens and I type my question. When I press, “send”, I realize that the email is being sent using Outlook, and as a result I asked to setup a POP address etc. I prefer to send and receive my messages using my Yahoo account. Can you tell me how I can set it up so that when sending a message as explained above, yahoo will come up as my email carrier?
It’s not that hard to change the system default mail program to one of a pre-defined list of applications. Not surprisingly, HotMail and Outlook Express are among the default choices.
If you want something else, like GMail or Yahoo Mail, things get a little more interesting.
First the easy part.
The system has a notion of a “default” email client. That means this is the email program that will be used when a generic request to deal with email is received. The most common type of request is the HTML “mailto:” action you’ll see on web pages. If a link is encoded with “mailto:” instead of “http:” when someone clicks on it the browser will fire up the default mail client for that user to compose a new email message.
In your case your system’s default email client is obviously Outlook.
To change it, fire up Internet Explorer, hit the Tools menu, the Internet Options… menu item, and then click on the Programs tab. You should see something like this:
If you then click on the E-mail: dropdown, you’ll see the full list of available options:
It’s that simple, right?
The system has a notion of a ‘default’ email client … the email program that will be used when a generic request to deal with email is received.
I can hear several of you yelling at your computers right now: “Why doesn’t my list show Yahoo Mail like in the example!?“.
Well, the “problem” is that something needs to be installed or set up on your system in order to make those options available. You’ll notice that Thunderbird is on my list as well, and that showed up after I installed Thunderbird.
Yahoo was added to my list after I installed Yahoo Instant Messenger. Installing YIM actually has the potential
to install quite a bit, so I definitely advise selecting the “custom” install and paying close attention to all the install options. I turned many things off, but left “Browser Services” checked, which I believe includes the feature we want:
But what about GMail?
GMail actually doesn’t show up on my list, and yet it is my current default mail program. To do this, I installed the GMail Notifier. It’s a handy little utility that notifies you when you have new GMail messages. And as I found out, one of the configuration options during the installation is to set GMail as the default mail handler:
That option is available again in the Notifier when it’s running, so you can reset it properly should it ever get changed.
Now, as to why it doesn’t show up in Internet Explorer’s options list – I have no idea.