Outlook 2003 not listed in Default Programs

When you click Start – Default Programs – Set Your Default Programs, Outlook 2003 entry may be missing from the Programs list even though it is installed in the system. As a result, you may be unable to set Outlook 2003 as the default e-mail client.

To restore Microsoft Outlook 2003 to the Default Programs list in Windows Vista, use one of the following methods:

Method 1 – Repair your Outlook installation

1. Start Microsoft Outlook

2. From the Help menu, click Detect and Repair

3. Insert your Office/Outlook installation media when prompted.

If the above does not work, you might want to use the tool discussed in Method 2 below.

Method 2 – Run the OL2003fix tool

Download the file OL2003Fix. Unzip and extract the contents to a folder. Double-click the file OL2003fix.exe. This tool should repair Outlook 2003 registration in the system.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

17 thoughts on “Outlook 2003 not listed in Default Programs

  1. Tried this on my system (OL2003, Windows7 64 bit). Now mailto links open dozens of blank IE windows. The fix is worse than the problem.

  2. Ramesh,

    I have Outlook installed in D:/Microsoft Office/Office 11/

    I ran the fix changing the the Server to install mode but the software reports it is unable to locate outlook.exe.


  3. Ramesh,

    Can I ask you to eith post or email what registry keys are affected by this tool. I have the issue but it is on a Citrix Server installation on Win 2008 Standard server 32bit OS. I need to backup the keys in case the fix does not work.


  4. @niced00d: It’s a false-positive. Some AV programs report so, if the exe is compressed using UPX. BTW I wrote the program.

  5. This tool did not work for me. I think it looks only at the C drive default install location. It could not find the location of my Office 2003 since I installed it to a different physical drive.

    How can I manually include outlook into the default programs list ?

  6. Excellent! After trying various other advice found on the Net to get Outlook 2003 to appear in the in the Default Programs list in Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit and Microsoft telling me Outlook 2003 is not compatible with Windows 7, someone recommended this Outlook fix program and it did the job in the blink of an eye!

    One suggestion to you all at Win Help Online: I recommend you change the Readme file info to say that this works on Windows 7 (not just Vista!).

  7. Brilliant! We were tearing our hair out over this one (along with many others on numerous forums…) – repairing and even reinstalling Outlook did not help.

    Running OL2003fix fixed the problem on our windows 7 64-bit machine.

    Many thanks for posting.

  8. I recognize that it has been over three years since your reply, but I have to say thanks so much to yourself and people like you. It is tremendously helpful and timesaving when someone else not only does the footwork, but posts it online for others. So many times, people think I am a genius for fixing their problems, when it is me sharing the hard work of others. Thanks for your hard work.

  9. Sweet!!! A great repair! I have been wrestling with Windows Live coming up and could not find a work-around, now I’m in-business and functional. THANK YOU!!!

  10. A thousand thanks. The second option worked a treat for windows 7 64 bit. It made Outlook available for 2 default protocols Mailto and Send mail. Is there a fix to make outlook available for file extensions .eml and .vcf which is currently hogged by Livemail?

  11. This was fastastic and by the way works for Windows 7. Outlook 2003 not being a registered default program. Now IE8 will use outlook 2003 as the default email program. YIPIEE

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