Technology Advice by Ryan Taylor Adams

Fix Outlook Express to Properly Handle E-mail (mailto:) Links

July 5th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Printer Friendly Version


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Many people rely on Outlook Express to send and receive e-mail. One of the most common issues with Outlook Express is that it will fail to handle “mailto:” links on web pages correctly. Clicking an e-mail address in a web page may open a blank window, present an error message, or not respond at all. In any case, the following steps will usually fix the problem.

Follow these steps to configure Outlook Express to properly handle “mailto:” links:

  1. Download this REG file. Save it to your desktop.
  2. Double-click on the REG file on your desktop.
  3. You will be asked if you want to merge the file with your registry. Click “yes”. Also reply in the affirmative to any additional notifications that pop up.
  4. Open your start menu and click “Run…”
  5. Type “REGSVR32 URLMON.DLL” without quotes.
  6. Press “OK”.
  7. Open the “Run…” window again.
  8. Type ‘ “C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\MSIMN.EXE” /REG ‘ with the double quotes.
  9. Press “OK”.
  10. Restart your computer.
  11. Open up Outlook Express, go to the options window, and click “Make Default” at the bottom.

That should do it. If you still are having issues, you probably have a more serious problem that will need attention.

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stuart Kirk // Aug 29, 2008 at 3:23 AM

    I’m having a similar problem with Outlook/Outlook Express, in that mailto links open in Express despite outlook being default. Would running the reg file in the outlook directory solve this issue?

  • 2 Ryan Adams // Aug 29, 2008 at 7:22 AM

    No. This registry only alters what program is used to pen “url:” links. There are several other guides available on the Internet that detail how to reset Outlook to be the default “mailto:” handler. Most boil down to changing the default to something else, saving the setting, then changing it back to Outlook.

  • 3 MIS Dude // Apr 8, 2009 at 2:18 PM

    Thanks for the info. Is this applicable for Vista?

  • 4 Ryan Adams // Apr 8, 2009 at 7:49 PM

    @MIS Dude: No, DO NOT USE THIS ON VISTA. Microsoft replaced Outlook Express in Vista with a program called Windows Mail.