In earlier Windows versions, I could easily force Windows to handle mailto: links in a particular way, specifically to open the Compose window for my GMail account, by at least tweaking the registry.

Now, in Windows 7, I can't find the old locations, or at least they don't seem to work the way I was hoping.

When I open the "Set associations" window and open the dialog for the mailto protocol, it lists Thunderbird and Windows mail, both of which are installed now.

What I'd like instead would be to open the following program (shortcut):

"%LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --app=https://mail.google.com/mail?extsrc=mailto&url=%1

This will, if I run it from my Start->Run dialog, pop open a new Google Chrome (my current browser) window, and open the compose dialog for my GMail account.

Does anyone know how I can do one of the following:

  • Either get the above shortcut added as a program in the Set Associations dialog, so I can pick it
  • Or, forcibly edit the registry to use that shortcut string instead, and in this case, what part of the registry do I need to edit?

Any help would be most welcome.

Note that I have tried the most-often cited way to do this, by editing the HKCR\mailto\shell\open\command registry path, this does not seem to have any effect.

I'm also running 64-bit Windows 7, there's some Wow6432Node registry keys spread around, could there be a different registry location I need to edit?

Also note that I'm testing both clicking on a link in a browser, as well as Start->Run and entering a mailto: address there. In my case, both still opens up Windows Live Mail which I installed for the news client interface.



Inside here, edit the (Default) value to:

chrome "https://mail.google.com/mail?extsrc=mailto&url=%1"

I think that might be what you are looking for.

EDIT - Once you update the registry value, the change is immediate.

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  • Unfortunately this does not seem to work on Windows 7. I am running 64-bit Windows 7, could this make the registry locations be different? – Lasse V. Karlsen Aug 29 '09 at 20:25
  • I am running Windows 7, tried it and the change is immediate. Hmm... – Kez Aug 29 '09 at 20:30
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    On my machine it still opens up Windows Mail, nothing I've tried has changed that. I even tried a program called "gMailTwo" which was supposed to change the default mail client as well, but this did not work either. – Lasse V. Karlsen Aug 29 '09 at 20:32
  • I'll take another look. In the meantime, have you tried Google's mail notifier? It's very lightweight and adds the mailto: option. You can choose which browser is opened. – Kez Aug 29 '09 at 20:37
  • I'll retry it, but last time I tried it didn't handle the https protocol, and I've configured GMail to require https, so it was just plain unable to check my email. – Lasse V. Karlsen Aug 29 '09 at 20:42

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