How to set Gmail as the default system mail client on Windows 7?

This is not the same as setting the default client for mailto: hyperlinks. Gmail is my default for mailto links, but when I use Windows Photo Viewer (for example, other programs do the same) and select Email I get the error:

There is no email program associated to perform the requested action. Please install an email program or, if one is already installed, create an association in the Default Programs control panel.

As noted in a comment by @eselk to Can I make Gmail the default 'send mail to recipient' program in Word 2007? The Google Notifier a.k.a GMail Notifier also doesn't work for this purpose: "GMail notifier only takes over mailto: URLs, it doesn't support "Simple MAPI". What this means ... is that any program that uses simple MAPI to send email (most that send file attachments use MAPI), will not use GMail and will continue to use your default email client. The mailto: URL is pretty much only used by email hyperlinks or typing mailto: in the Windows Run box, not any "send as attachment" options in apps."

The registry solution here How to make Gmail the default handler for email on a Windows PC? does not work on my machine. The same answer references a program called Affixa which does, by report, seem to work. I don't want to resort to installing a program for this unless there really is no other option. What says Super User?

  • The gmail notifier simply does NOT work when you have a MFC or similar which wants to use the default mail system toscan documents. The link created by the notifier is useless inthis situation. Wish I could solve the problem but I, as yet, do not have an answer
    – user235682
    Jul 4, 2013 at 10:33
  • If a 3rd-party program is acceptable, here's one that works: affixa.com Sep 14, 2013 at 2:05

2 Answers 2


Microsoft made the decision to not support Simple Mapi on gmail in Windows 7, so there is no solution possible without changing something, either in Windows or by installing a third-party product.

One solution found on the Internet is by replacing C:\windows\system32\mapi32.dl by an older version from XP or Vista (it is advised to back it up first). A report on this technique says :

Tried replacing mapi32.dll and Msmapi32.ocx with versions taken from an XP machine. Now you can send messages, but the default client seems to be ignored (on the machine I tested it kept using Outlook instead of Thunderbird).

If you do not wish to change Windows software, there are also products that try to correct the problem.

The open-source project Tvhgooglemapi might be a solution. Here is how it is described :

Tvhgooglemapi is a simple tool that pretends to be a real mail client to windows but really only uploads the mail to the drafts folder of gmail and then opens the draft in the default web-browser. For the user this is almost exactly the same as having the gmail web interface as the default mail-client for some windows applications (the only difference being that he has to login twice if he is not already logged in to gmail and doesn't let the tool remember the password.)

For a detailed description see Integrating Apache OpenOffice 4.0 with GMail using MAPI.

A commercial alternative is Affixa, whose basic version is free for personal use.

Another commercial alternative is MAPI4Webmail (19.80 euros personal license).

  • This is hopeful news. I looked at Tvhgooglemapi, and think the approach is sound. Unfortunately neither the .4 or .5beta version works on my computer (prompt for login, but nothing after). So +1 for info and a new lead, but not accepted (pending results of standard troubleshooting procedures). Sep 17, 2013 at 19:40
  • 2
    It would b really great if someone who knows this stuff could inspect/audit the code and download .exe's for tvhgooglemapi to verify the program is legit and not just an email/password harvester or some such. Sep 17, 2013 at 19:41
  • You could test the exe on VirusTotal, but in general it's rare for an open-source project to be infected. For problems, you could try to file up an issue report, or try to get in touch with the developers (or become one).
    – harrymc
    Sep 17, 2013 at 20:05
  • I was very interested in this Tvhgooglemapi for implementing something like that in my own Delphi program. For my program Tvhgooglemapi didn't work (Mapi error code 3: Login error) but with Wordpad it worked. Since then i implemented direct mailing from Delphi 2 GMail with help of the source of "gmaildrafter" (which Tvhgooglemapi uses to send the mail). It's normal you get the login if you don't auto-login in Gmail (and one dialog on first sending of mail). Did you get mail in your Concepts?
    – Rik
    Sep 18, 2013 at 9:37
  • 1
    Just for info - I tried tvhgooglemapi 0.8.3 on Windows 10 successfully today. Aug 26, 2015 at 21:36

Some people complained that the other answer on here was just a link, so here is a scrape of that link. You still need to download the Gmail Notifier, also linked here.

Original URL: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/10966?hl=en

Download the Gmail Notifier: http://mail.google.com/mail/help/notifier/

Making Gmail your default mail application

You can designate Gmail as your default mailto handler. This means that when you click on any hyperlinked email address, a Gmail compose window will open so you can send a message to that address from Gmail.

For Windows:

  1. Download the Gmail Notifier.
  2. Right-click the Notifier icon in your system tray, and select Options.
  3. Check the box next to Use Gmail for internet mailto: links.
  4. Click OK.

If you decide later that you don't want to use Gmail as your default email application, simply uncheck the box.

For Mac:

  1. Download the Google Notifier.
  2. Open the Notifier.
  3. Click the Mail icon on the Menu bar and go to Preferences...
  4. Select the Gmail tab and choose Gmail as the program from the Compose mail in drop-down menu.

Note: The Notifier is currently available in English only.

Or, if you use Chrome, you'll be asked if you want to use Gmail for all of your email links in Chrome.

  • If providing an answer that another user has provided a resource to, it is courteous to provide credit.
    – Will
    May 30, 2013 at 21:43
  • 3
    this doesn't work, it's the same mailto method that doesn't use Simple MAPI described in the question. May 31, 2013 at 5:53

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