“Application not found” Hyperlink Error in Mail

When you click on a hyperlink in your mail clients such as Microsoft Outlook, Windows Mail, or Windows Live Mail, you may see the Application not found or General failure errors.

General Failure. The application cannot be found.

This error occurs if the default browser is not correctly set, or the html file association and/or http protocol associations are incorrect. The same error may occur when double-clicking an Internet Shortcut (.URL) file in the system.

To resolve the problem, use Default Apps/Programs to reset the default Web browser preference.

Fix for “Application not found” hyperlink error

For Windows 10 and 11

  1. Open Settings → Apps → Default Apps.
  2. Under Web browser, select a browser from the list.
    outlook hyperlink error - reset default browser
  3. Repeat the same, but select your preferred (original) browser this time.

Switching the default browser back and forth will resolve the file association issues.

This should repair the hyperlink or http protocol associations automatically, thereby fixing the “Application not found” or “General failure” errors when opening hyperlinks from your mail client.

For Windows 8 and earlier

  1. Click Start, and click Default Programs
  2. Click Set program access and computer defaults
  3. Click Continue if you see the User Account Control prompt.
  4. Click Custom, select your Web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer), and click OK
  5. Close and re-open Microsoft Outlook.

Then follow these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel, Default Programs.
  2. Click Set your default programs.
  3. Select your web browser from the list.
  4. Click “Set this program as default.”
  5. Click OK.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

30 thoughts on ““Application not found” Hyperlink Error in Mail”

  1. Thank you so much. I’ve been searching all over for what to do about this. Stupid Google Earth download forced Google Chrome as default and when I changed it back to Firefox, nothing worked. Your clear directions worked like a charm. Thank you thank you thank you!

  2. Thanks. I looked all over for help, and yours worked, and was easy to follow. Thank you very much!!! That had been driving me up the wall.

  3. Once i got to step two, when i clicked on set program access and computer default, a screen popped up with different icons on it. i chose internet explorer and hit OK, it opened a window in internet explorer which remained blank… HELP!

  4. For a computer illiterate such as myself, this was much easier than I thought it would be.

    Thank you, thank you!

  5. Thanks a bunch. This worked for me as well after a lot of searching.

    But I do not get the (right-click) “Open with” shell command. I made Chrome my default browser, but I have two browsers and occasionally need to open an Internet Shortcut with the other browser.
    Right-click and Open with works on other file types, for instance .mht so it is there, but not on Chrome links.
    How can I add FF as my second browser, accessible with “Open with”?


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