I use Yahoo as my email but when I’m on another program and I want to send
an email, it defaults to Live Mail, which I don’t use. Then I have trouble
getting it into Yahoo Outbox. What do I do?
In this excerpt from
Answercast #98 I look at ways to configure a default email program to send
email from your computer even if you are using an online email program.
Clicking mail links
I think what you’re experiencing is a confusion in how Windows, or your browser, treats what are called “mail to” links. It’s also a concept that can appear in other programs under Windows.
Default email program
It all boils down to what Windows thinks your default email program is. And I have to stress it’s the “default” email program.
If you’re using something like Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail (using your browser) you’re not actually using an email program. You’re using a web browser to access your email on the web. So then, when a program, some other program, wants to fire up the default email program, well, what it fires up is not gonna be related to what you actually use.
There are a couple of ways around this and I do have an article specifically about setting the “mail to” or default email program. What it boils down to is that you have basically two options – or actually perhaps three.
Manage “mail-to” manually
The first of course being – do nothing.
Live with this behavior although it is inconvenient – I’ll absolutely grant you that. But it is one, somewhat practical, solution.
Browser based default email
Another approach is to search for a solution that will actually fire up the browser-based email in response to a request for the default email program.
This doesn’t always work; and it’s not always available.
For example, I’m not actually aware of a solution for Yahoo. I believe there’s a solution for Hotmail and I think there might be a solution for Google Mail, but I don’t necessarily know of one specifically for Yahoo. Perhaps someone will provide one in a comment.
What that would do is somehow tie this concept of a “default email program” to your web browser. Your web browser will then bring up the appropriate web page that will allow you to create the email message. That is typically what you’re attempting to do when you click on one of these “mail to” links.
Local email program
The third solution is typically the solution that I try to encourage people to use. It’s a little bit more complex but it works.
What you end up doing is going ahead and configuring a mail program on your PC.
Set a local program to send
You can use Windows Live Mail, if that’s what you’re comfortable with. You can fire up Thunderbird. You can use Outlook; you can use anything that is installed as a program on your PC.
In other words – if you were accessing your email through a program on your PC, that’s the software that you would be installing.
We’re not going to change the way you access your email. This is simply a solution to make this “default mail program” concept work.
Use your local SMTP
What you end up doing is you configure that email program with the appropriate SMTP sending options to your email service. Now with Yahoo, there are settings for that; for Hotmail there are different settings for that. Basically what they allow you to do is use the desktop email program to send email.
And that’s all you would ever do. Since you read your email using a web-based interface, there’s no need to use the email reading capability of the desktop email program. All you really want to do is have that program be configured so that it can send mail through your online email account.
Once you do that, you can then set that as your default email program.
Then when you click a “mail to” link or when you invoke some other program that wants to run the default email program to send mail, it fires up this desktop email program that’s configured to be able to send email through your account.
That’s my recommended solution. None of the solutions are clean when you’re using web mail – but those, I believe, are the three basic approaches you can take.
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)
Next from Answercast 98- Why does my screen suddenly scroll to the bottom when I’m typing?