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I'd like to rewire Windows' default behavior so that clicking on an email address anywhere (browser, document, etc.) opens in Gmail instead of Outlook. Is that possible? (Windows 7)

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I realize this straddles SuperUser and WebApps - hopefully it's OK to post here. – Herb Caudill Aug 9 '10 at 22:17
It wouldn't get closed on Super User as it's controlling your computer, but it might be OK here. – ChrisF Aug 9 '10 at 22:59

Control Panel > Internet Options > Programs

Change "E-mail:" to "Google Mail".

Then whenever you click on a mailto link etc. it will open Google Mail instead of Outlook.

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Just as a note to other people reading this: this option isn't available in Windows XP. – Senseful Aug 10 '10 at 0:09
If you install the GMail Notifier it gives you this option in XP too. – pelms Aug 10 '10 at 10:32
Hmm - that doesn't work for me in Windows 7. Under Control Panel > Internet Options > Programs I only have "Default web browser", "Manage add-ons", "HTML editing", and "Internet programs". The caption for "Internet programs" says "Choose the programs you want tot use for other Internet services such as e-mail"; but the button takes you to the "Default Programs" screen. From there I can go to "Set associations" and edit the MAILTO protocol; but the only options are Outlook and Windows Live Mail. – Herb Caudill Aug 10 '10 at 12:55
@eagle - that's odd as I'm running XP (SP3). – ChrisF Aug 10 '10 at 13:11
@ChrisF: do you have the gmail notifier installed, like @pelms mentioned? If so, you should update the answer to mention that it's required. – Senseful Aug 10 '10 at 20:32

A full-featured alternative would be to install Affixa (the free version is fine) - it enables all context menu functionality (Send as attachment, Send to Email Recipient), as well as setting Gmail to your default client. I've used it successfully in XP and W7.

This solution also works with Google Apps and Yahoo! Mail.

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This, I have to try out. Looks interesting! – thunderror Aug 11 '10 at 7:48
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There's now installable Google Apps software for Windows - it's really just a wrapper for the web app in Chrome but that registers with Windows as an email client that you can then set as your default just like you would with Outlook or Thunderbird. Works like a charm.

http://pack.google.com/intl/en/pack_installer.html (uncheck the stuff you don't need).

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Another option is to use a browser plugin or userscript to convert Mailto: links to the format required by Gmail.

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I wrote an article (http://www.lauramartin.co.nz/how-to-set-your-automatic-mailto-to-use-gmail-instead-of-outlook-in-google-chrome/) along this line that I think might help you.

Basically Chrome offers an easy way to do this by changing your default email protocol.

How to set Gmail as your default client in Google Chrome

  1. Open your Google Mail in Chrome.

  2. If displayed on the right of the address bar you should see enter image description here symbol. Click on it.

    enter image description here

  3. Select Allow mail.google.com to open all email links. Click Done.

    enter image description here

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