How to implement a per-user default mail client in Windows XP?


Windows XP does not provide you an option to set a per-user default email client. One setting affects all users, machine-wide. See MS article titled: Unable to Set Different E-Mail Programs for Different Users

However, this tip allows you implement a per-user default mail client. Out of the following three aspects, only the mailto: handler can be set as per-user default, using this tip.

Example: You can have Microsoft Outlook as the default email client, and another user profile can have Microsoft Outlook Express as the default. And the third user can have Hotmail as the default. This is done by overriding the mailto: handler using HKEY_CURRENT_USER key, which takes precedence over the global settings. Only the mailto: aspect has been covered in this page. Other handlers include news:, snews: etc, which are not covered in tip. Because, the mailto: handler only is invoked whenever you click a email link in a website or email message. The information at the bottom of the page tells you how to undo your per-user setting and switch back to factory defaults.

For Microsoft Outlook as the default email client, apply this REG fix:

NOTE: Change the drive letter/Path in the REG file accordingly

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto]
"URL Protocol"=""
"EditFlags"=hex:02,00,00,00
@="URL:MailTo Protocol"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto\DefaultIcon]
@="\"C:\\PROGRAM FILES\\MICROSOFT OFFICE\\Office\\OUTLOOK.EXE\",7"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto\shell]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto\shell\open]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto\shell\open\command]
@="\"C:\\PROGRAM FILES\\MICROSOFT OFFICE\\Office\\OUTLOOK.EXE\" -c IPM.Note /m \"%1\""


For Outlook Express as the default email client, apply this REG fix:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\mailto]
"URL Protocol"=""
"EditFlags"=hex:02,00,00,00
@="URL:MailTo Protocol"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\mailto\DefaultIcon]
@=hex(2):25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,00,65,\
00,73,00,25,00,5c,00,4f,00,75,00,74,00,6c,00,6f,00,6f,00,6b,00,20,00,45,00,\
78,00,70,00,72,00,65,00,73,00,73,00,5c,00,6d,00,73,00,69,00,6d,00,6e,00,2e,\
00,65,00,78,00,65,00,2c,00,2d,00,32,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\mailto\shell]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\mailto\shell\open]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\mailto\shell\open\command]
@=hex(2):22,00,25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,\
00,65,00,73,00,25,00,5c,00,4f,00,75,00,74,00,6c,00,6f,00,6f,00,6b,00,20,00,\
45,00,78,00,70,00,72,00,65,00,73,00,73,00,5c,00,6d,00,73,00,69,00,6d,00,6e,\
00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,22,00,20,00,2f,00,6d,00,61,00,69,00,6c,00,75,00,\
72,00,6c,00,3a,00,25,00,31,00,00,00


For Hotmail as the default email client, apply this REG fix:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto]
"URL Protocol"=""
"EditFlags"=hex:02,00,00,00
@="URL:MailTo Protocol"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto\DefaultIcon]
@=hex(2):25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,6c,00,65,\
00,73,00,25,00,5c,00,49,00,4e,00,54,00,45,00,52,00,4e,00,7e,00,31,00,5c,00,\
48,00,4d,00,4d,00,41,00,50,00,49,00,2e,00,44,00,4c,00,4c,00,2c,00,31,00,00,\
00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto\shell]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto\shell\open]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\CLASSES\mailto\shell\open\command]
@=hex(2):72,00,75,00,6e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,33,00,32,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,\
00,20,00,22,00,25,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,67,00,72,00,61,00,6d,00,46,00,69,00,\
6c,00,65,00,73,00,25,00,5c,00,49,00,4e,00,54,00,45,00,52,00,4e,00,7e,00,31,\
00,5c,00,48,00,4d,00,4d,00,41,00,50,00,49,00,2e,00,44,00,4c,00,4c,00,22,00,\
2c,00,4d,00,61,00,69,00,6c,00,54,00,6f,00,50,00,72,00,6f,00,74,00,6f,00,63,\
00,6f,00,6c,00,48,00,61,00,6e,00,64,00,6c,00,65,00,72,00,20,00,25,00,31,00,\
00,00

Automate this task using DefaultMail

If you have any other mail clients installed in your system (including the above ones), you may try "DefaultMail" utility, which automates the above process. In addition, sets Start Menu default mail client per-user.

defaultmail.JPG (36241 bytes)

How will I undo per-user settings and switch back to the global defaults?

To undo the per-user changes, open Internet Explorer, Tools, Internet Options, Programs tab. Choose your email client from the list and click Apply. If your email client is already chosen as default, choose a different one and then click Apply. Then, redo the procedure and select your preferred global default email client. When you do so, the per-user settings are erased and thus the per-computer setting is enforced (default).