How to make webmail default

Posted on 2010-01-07
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
A friend filled out an online email contact form (for a government department) and when he tried to send it , Outlook Express opened up as default client. He always uses his ISp's (Orange) webmail and does not want to use O.E. Is there anyway in which he can set his system to default to Webmail rather than OE? He has only the following options in Internet Explorer "programs": Outlook; Outlook Express; Hotmail, none of which are "webmail". I have Googled this query but can only find how to set default TO O.E and that I could do already!!
Question by:whitland
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Settings like this, that are not listed in IE, are usually found in the webmail program itself. Check to see if there are preferences or options within the webmail that will all you to set it as the default.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Unfortunately, I don't think it is possible to use a web-based e-mail client as default program for mail. However, if there is a client application and you are using Windows, you can use the "Default Program" found in your start menu or in the Control Panel to set this as default program for e-mail.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment


    it is not possible.

    the only way you can do it if you use your outlook to connect to your orange email acount with POP3 or IMAP. i know orange supportes it so it is possible.

    one thing you should know if you use pop3 all the emails will be download to your pc and you will not see your emails in your web mail.
    if you use IMAP all emails will stay on your wab mail but you will be able to work on them using outlook.


    Author Comment

    I contacted Orange tech-support in the end and they say that it is not possible to make contact docs default to their webmail. So basically the answer is "cannot be done". Seems a bit daft to me, when so many people use webmail routinely rather than Outlook etc, that internet enquiry forms need to be processed by a pc based client such as Outlook rather than direct to server.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    It could, logically, be done by specifying the URL to the "send mail" function in the webmail client. However, this would be rather difficult to implement, with these major problem:
    1. Authentication could be needed. If the user has to sign in to the webmail, he or she would be taken to the webmail start page, and not to the send mail page. That would pretty much ruin the idea.
    2. Problem number two is that, if it should be done, all webmail clients would have to implement features to make it possible to add text to the e-mail body or subject, which can be done with a local program.

    So, conclusion - it is not possible. (Today)
    LVL 38

    Accepted Solution

    Hi whitland

    >>> "I contacted Orange tech-support in the end and they say that it is not possible to make contact docs default to their webmail.  So basically the answer is 'cannot be done'.  Seems a bit daft to me ..." <<<

    It sure does.  A form that is completed within the web page and then the user clicks the "submit" button, SHOULD send the completed data from that page using the website's own submission method that does not call on any installed program associations on the user's computer and try to open the default email client.  That is not Orange's problem though, it's the Government Website's problem .... Unless perhaps the user opened up a Microsoft Word document, completed that, and then tried to send it.

    A standard "Click Here to Contact Us" LINK on a page usually WILL call on settings from the user's registry and open the default email client.  I am referring to a standard hyperlink that in the web page's code is something like this:

    <a href=" am puzzled by strange website behaviour">
    Click Here to Contact Us</a>

    That just uses the "URL:MailTo Protocol", and the default email client's command will be in the key:


    eg. where Outlook Express is set in Internet Options > Programs as the default email client:

    "%ProgramFiles%\Outlook Express\msimn.exe" /mailurl:%1

    I would say that the form on the government website is either misconfigured or missing some elements.

    Take for example the "Contact Us" web form on the Orange UK site:

    That just has a GIF image as the "submit" button, and the form posts the data entered in each field to Orange.  Clicking the button should NOT open the default email client on the user's computer.

    Could you tell us which government site and what page this form was on?
    I would be curious to check it out.


    Author Closing Comment

    Hi Bill

    Okay I accept that your answer does not actually solve my query but I very much appreciate the fact that you have taken the trouble to explain the causes in detail.

    The website involved is the one used to register for the Boiler Scrappage Scheme. No doubt setup by Crapita!

    I hereby award you ten out of ten.

    Very best regards


    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Thank you Tim

    Huh, a "Boiler Scrappage Scheme" now.  Wish they had had that 2 years ago when mine was about to give me Carbon Monoxide poisoning.  For those in the US, we now have "scrappage" schemes here in the UK designed to provide the incentive to get rid of cars and heating boilers that pollute the atmosphere and are fuel inefficient.  Almost like an enhanced trade-in for older qualifying cars or boilers where the government pays the scrappage allowance.

    It looks like this is the web page with the application form:

    It is a very standard web form that just uses ISAPI, NSAPI, CGI, ASP, or whatever, scripting and the POST method to submit.  I'm by no means expert on web page scripting, but it all looks pretty standard to me and I'm puzzled why it would have opened Outlook Express on your friend's PC.

    I haven't been able to test it fully though, even using one of my neighbour's details ;-)

    Just to add some notes that I took from research into a similar question about 5 years ago here about making Yahoo Webmail the default email client.  I knew I had the notes stored away somewhere on a spare partition, but it took me a while to find them again.   The expert Chris Py provided a couple of Yahoo search results to a previously asked questions and solution, but those links are long since dead.  Ultimately one of the pages captioned "Teach your computer to use Yahoo! Mail" prompted for the download and installation of "" using the following link that is still live:

    The downloaded "" contains "ymmapi.dll" and "ymmapi.inf".  The *.INF file is used to install the *.DLL, and the two remain hidden in the "C:\Windows\Downloaded Program Files" folder where the above link is stored as the "CodeBase", just like other Internet Explorer plugins like Acrobat Reader, Flash, and Java Runtime do.

    The Requirements were Windows 95 to XP and IE 4.0 upwards.
    The DLL file registers 3 new "Classes" with their own unique Class Identifiers (CLSIDs):
    YahooYMailTo Class
    YMailAttach Class
    YMailShellExt Class
    These just work as Internet Explorer Add-Ons.
    The DLL file also contains a popup dialog (screenshot attached) with a check-box to make Yahoo WebMail the default email client.

    I do recall that Chris Py discovered, just as has been highlighted by JonasLedel in point 1 of comment ID 26296276, that it probably would not work unless you were already logged into Yahoo Webmail.

    Now, in context with your question, perhaps some enterprising person may already have written a similar DLL for Orange WebMail.  A google search using terms like "Make Orange Web Mail Default Email Client" may yield results.

    Unfortunately I don't know enough about programming to modify that Yahoo DLL, or to compile a new one for Orange, or else I would now be attaching one as a a solution.



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