Protocol HTTP Does Not Have a Registered Program When Opening Internet Shortcuts

When you double-click an internet shortcut (.URL) file or click on a hyperlink in your mail client, you may encounter the error Unable to open this Internet Shortcut. The protocol “http” does not have a registered program. This is akin to saying “hey! you haven’t configured a web browser as the default“. Now you know where to look for the solution… the “Default Programs” applet.

The corrupt http: protocol association settings can be repaired using these steps:

Windows 10

  1. Click Start, Settings.
  2. Click Apps, and then click Default apps.
  3. Click Web browser and select a different browser from the list.
    http protocol fix default browser
  4. Repeat step 3 and this time, set your preferred browser as the default.

Windows 8 and earlier:

  1. Click Start, select Default Programs
  2. Select your web browser  (e.g. Internet Explorer) from the list
  3. Click Set this program as default
  4. Click OK

If that doesn’t do it, follow these steps:

  1. Click Set program access and computer defaults
  2. Click Custom, and select your web browser
  3. Click OK.

This resets the default web browser, thereby fixing the http and other protocol association settings automatically.

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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 in 2005.

14 thoughts on “Protocol HTTP Does Not Have a Registered Program When Opening Internet Shortcuts”

  1. I don’t suppose know how to deploy this solution via GroupPolicy ? I have the same issue across all my Windows 7 workstations (server 2012).

    Many thanks!

  2. Thank you!!! It worked just like you said. I got a message saying needed to update Adobe Flash….Then all hell broke loose. It downloaded flash and also downloaded Google Crome which I didn’t want. This is how my problem started.

  3. Perfect. This have been making me crazy for two days. Tried everything to fix this and even talked to my top tech guy and he couldn’t tell how to fix it!!! Much appreciated.

  4. Thank you so much! I originally had Internet Explorer as my default, then I downloaded some thing and forgot to deselect Google Chrome… so it turned all of my shortcuts to open in Google Chrome. I just deleted it and that exact pop up popped up.. I tried this and set it back to Internet Explorer and it works now! Thank you so much!

  5. This didn’t work for me. Win 7; I followed this, but: In the “Set program access and computer defaults”, in the Click Custom, instead of checking ‘use current web browser’, I wanted to uncheck it and instead, put a check by Google Chrome, but when I check Chrome… the checkmark to the right that reads to Enable… goes gray. I still can ADD shortcuts to my google icon on my lower task bar — but I can’t open them; still says unable to open this internet Shortcut. The protocol “ChromeHTML” does not have a registered program.

  6. Thank you 1 x 6 to the 10th power.
    You “hit the nail on the head”!
    Fast and simple.
    Good job. Take tomorrow off with pay.


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