How can I set the default email program?

A. The system registry maintains a list of email programs under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\Mail registry subkey. You can configure any one of these programs to be the default application for sending and reading email by performing the following steps:

  1. Open the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) options dialog box (go to IE, click Tools, then select Internet Options).
  2. Select the Programs tab.
  3. Click on the E-mail drop-down box, select the preferred default application, then click OK.

Be aware that changing this value also modifies the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\mailto\shell\open\command value to reflect the new client. Because the IE value modifies HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, the default mail application you select is set on a machine basis, not on a per-user basis. As a result, you can't establish a different default mail application for multiple users on a single instance of Windows.

If you log on as a regular user (i.e., non-Administrator) and change the default mail application, Windows will ignore your changes. If you log on as an Administrator and change the default mail application, your changes will affect all users on that system.

You can create user-based shortcuts on the Start menu, Quick Launch bar, and desktop to make it easier for users to open a preferred email client. However, programs that use MAPI calls, mailto: links, and "Send Page by E-Mail" in IE will still use the default mail application that you set for the machine.

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