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Whenever I click on anything that has a @ symbol in browser, Word, Excel, or anywhere else, Windows launches Mail app. I do not want it to launch anything. I uninstalled the Mail app, so now Windows launches a table asking me which program to use to open that link. I do not want to use any program, I just want Windows to ignore me clicking on email addresses. How do I do that?

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You probably have set Word to automatically detect and convert text to hyperlinks, so it indeed converted text containing @ to hyper-links.

To undo this option:

  • Enter the menu File > Options > Proofing,
  • Click AutoCorrect Options...
  • In the dialog, position to the AutoFormat tab
  • Untick "Internet and network paths with hyperlinks"
  • Click OK.
  • To convert to simple text all existing hyperlinks, press Ctrl+A to select the entire document and then press Ctrl+Shift+F9

Take a backup of the document before starting on the above.


Excel is a particularly difficult case, because it follows a hyperlink with a simple click, unlike Word that only does it for Ctrl+Click. This makes it quite frustrating to edit a cell that contains a hyperlink.

You will find various methods for editing such fields and avoiding activating the hyperlink in the post How to stop Excel following hyperlinks when I click on them?

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  • This isn't just on Word, but on dozens of other applications. And in most cases, I do need them as hyperlinks. I just don't need them to be opened on this particular PC. Dec 6 '19 at 20:18
  • Each application may have its options - this isn't a Windows settings. Office apps have it in Options > Proofing, but you need to do them one by one. A global possibility is that you might possibly have installed a utility that does it, which you can test by booting into Safe mode to disable it.
    – harrymc
    Dec 6 '19 at 20:23
  • In any case, you need Ctrl+Click to follow a link, just a click shouldn't be enough.
    – harrymc
    Dec 6 '19 at 20:27
  • Sir, I believe you misunderstand. Each application has options to turn the words with "@" symbol into hyperlinks or not, but clicking on such links is a Windows "mailto" protocol, which I want to disable. This behavior isn't application-dependent. Dec 6 '19 at 20:27
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    Well, but it is. In Excel, for example, a simple click is enough to launch Mail app. Dec 6 '19 at 20:36
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Someone has to make an app that handles the mailto protocol. The app must not do anything (like silently open and close itself).

You can test the reasoning in PowerShell:

(Set-ItemProperty 'HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Associations\UrlAssociations\mailto\Us
erChoice' -Name ProgId).ProgID

When it asks for a value, leave it blank.

Now Windows will either reset it on its own or ask you which app you want.

More convincingly, if you go into regedit and delete the HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Associations\UrlAssociations\mailto\UserChoice node, Windows will eventually notice its gone and recreate it.

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I can only imagine that you are clicking on the @ to copy some text around that. If so, I basically start the mouse select from before the link and slide over the "@" area, then copy, then edit that elsewhere as I use it. Hopefully there is at least a space between email addresses where you can start your select.

If this isn't the use case, please clarify.

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  • That is sometimes the case, but most of the times, it isn't. I just need my PC to ignore these links altogether. What you suggested is sometimes very inconvenient. For example, I need to double-click a word that as the "@" symbol in it, rather than doing the slide selection. Dec 6 '19 at 19:51
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    You don’t indicate what application these links appear in, however, it’s the application that’s making them into links that Windows is treating as a mailto link.
    – Ramhound
    Dec 6 '19 at 20:01
  • This isn't just on Word, but on dozens of other applications. And in most cases, I do need them as hyperlinks. I just don't need them to be opened on this particular PC. Dec 6 '19 at 20:18
  • So disable the functionality within the application on that PC?
    – Ramhound
    Dec 6 '19 at 20:48
  • Most applications do not have an option to disable it... But it still depend on Windows as to which mail application to launch - and I want to tell Windows to ignore this request when it receives it from any application. Dec 7 '19 at 7:40

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