Setting Gmail As Default MailTo Client for Google Chrome and Internet Explorer

April 10, 2010 | Filed under Email, Google, Internet Explorer


Gmail is one of the most popular email service offered free to anyone in the world with a whopping 7GB and counting of email space plus a very good spam filter. However Google Chrome development team has yet to come out with a built-in configuration to set the default email client. When you see a webpage that has a contact link with a mailto:, you can click on it and nothing will happen. As for Internet Explorer, if you do not have any email client software installed, you will get an error message that says Could not perform this operation because the default mail client is not properly installed.

Here is how you can open your Gmail account with either Google Chrome or Internet Explorer when clicking on a mailto hyperlink.

1. Type regedit in the Search Programs and Files bar and hit enter
2. Right click on HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, select New > Key and name it as mailto
3. Now right click on mailto, select New > Key and name it as shell
4. Continue right clicking on shell, select New > Key and name it as open
5. Finally right click again on open, select New > Key and name it as command
6. Click on command and at the left pane you should see the name (Default) with the type as REG_SZ. Double click on the (Default) and set the following value date:

To use Internet Explorer to open Gmail when clicking mailto link:

"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"

To use Google Chrome to open Gmail when clicking mailto link:

"C:\Users\YOUR USERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --app=

This method works only on Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, it only made sense that we posted the 2 registry value data to reflect on IE and Chrome. Users don’t normally use Chrome as their default web browser but wants to open Gmail in Opera when clicking the mailto hyperlink…


3 Responses to “Setting Gmail As Default MailTo Client for Google Chrome and Internet Explorer”
  1. Suvega S says:

    Thx.. I tried this on IE and it worked…

  2. R Kelly says:

    I tried this and while I don’t get the ” Could not perform…” error message, unhappily nothing happens when I click on an email address. I’m using IE 8 in Windows 7. When I tried to follow the above instructions I found that the mailto…command registry enties had already been created so I just edited the value data entry for IE as suggested. Any ideas what went wrong?

  3. Greg Z. says:

    Works great!!! Thanks

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