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How Do I Set Default Browser for Outlook?

Recently I was trying to figure out how do I set a default browser for Outlook if I want it to be different from the auto-programmed Internet Explorer. What if you prefer a different browser and would like these links to open in your favorite browser, Firefox for example? Here are a few ways to make this change.

Windows 7

Type “default programs” in the Start menu (bottom left of your screen) search box. This should bring up a screen that will let you select program defaults as well as default file types. You’ll want to set your favorite web browser as the default, which should force it to open your email links. If that still doesn’t work, select “Associate a file type or protocol with a program” and associate “”URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol” with your web browser of choice. Repeat for file types “HyperText Transfer Protocol with Privacy” and FTP.

Windows XP

  • Open Explorer (any folder in Windows XP)
  • Select Tools -> Folder Options -> File Types
  • Click on an entry and type “URL” to jump down to the file type “URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol” (Extensions: None)
  • Click Advanced -> Edit File Type -> Open -> Edit
  • Clear the check (no check) for DDE and click OK

Repeat the above steps for file types “HyperText Transfer Protocol with Privacy” and FTP.

Firefox 5+

Browse to Firefox (orange button in top left corner) > Options > Advanced > General tab > check “Always check to see if Firefox is the default browser on startup” (under the “System Defaults” section). You can also click the “Check Now” button to perform an immediate check. Finally, you can also visit Options > Applications to set application defaults for individual programs.

Firefox 3.5+

As one of our readers pointed out, a simpler method to set Firefox as your default browser is to open Firefox, then browse to Tools -> Options -> “Main” tab. At the bottom you’ll see an area labeled “System Defaults”. Click on the “Check Now” button. This will perform a check to see if Firefox is set to be your default browser. If it’s not, you’ll be given the option to make it the default.


If you still can’t get any of this to work, please comment below and we’ll do our best to help!

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About Alex Schenker
Alex bring a series of in-depth articles on search marketing and content management systems as well as troubleshooting tips to We Rock Your Web's collection. He is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs, Bella and Lily.
  • harcar2001

    I don’t want to change my default browser on the whole, just for the links I click on in emails. Any way to do that? Thanks 🙂

  • harcar2001

    I don’t want to change my default browser on the whole, just for the links I click on in emails. Any way to do that? Thanks 🙂

    • Thank you! Same here. I’m not a tech newbie and for the life of me, I hate that when I click a link in email it goes to IE. I don’t use IE ever unless I’m checking views of sites in different browsers. I’m using Win 10.

  • DeAnna

    Thanks, I got it to work for being the most non-computer person around!

  • rememberSCSI?

    In Win7, the Control Panel “Default Programs” is where you want to go. For me, however, “Set your default programs” was a bust because the programs listed there did not include most of the many non-MS programs I have installed, including Firefox.

    Going into “Associate a file type…” I was able to associate .htm and .html to FF. In the same window, I scrolled down to Protocols, but could not change the association for FTP or HTTP because the Change Program dialog only displayed IE and did not have a button to browse for other programs. Anyone know a hack for this?

  • eddyj

    Thanks, that’s a brilliant tip.

  • vetiarvind

    Awesome. In Win 7 just click the top link in “Default programs” and then go to “Chrome” and click on the “Set this program as default”

  • Linda Fair

    What about Windows 10?

  • Ashley

    Any idea how to change it from opening in Microsoft Edge and have it open in Internet Explorer in Windows 10? Thanks!

  • Jocelyn

    THANK YOU!!!!!!! I was sick of clicking on links in my Outlook inbox and it opening automatically in Internet Explorer—finally through your help got it to open ONLY in Chrome!!!

  • Cher Paganelli

    I used the recommend fix for Windows 7. I did have to use the second part of the fix and find: the “Associate a file type or protocol with a program”, it’s there and it worked great. Thanks.

  • VerySmartGIrl

    I’m not sure which Windows 7 you are using… but there’s no such place as:

    If that still doesn’t work, select “Associate a file type or protocol with a program” and associate “URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol” with your web browser of choice. Repeat for file types “HyperText Transfer Protocol with Privacy” and FTP.

  • Arivazhagan A

    Change the way it opens under:

    Control Panel-> All Control Panel Items ->Default Programs

    Set program access and computer defaults

    custom -> choose default web browser and click your favorite one. For example, Chrome, IE, Firefox etc.

    • Ebone

      This worked! Thank you so much 🙂

    • Ebone

      This worked! Thank you so much 🙂

  • Glad this worked for you Alex! Thank you for posting about your success!

  • Glad we found a solution for you Anant! Thank you for letting me know that this way works. I’m sure it will help another Outlook user!

  • anant mitra

    I can’t find “URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol” in the above mentioned. There is only “URL:internet shortcut”. I’m using Windows XP servicepack3.

    • Try going to Start/Run and type: REGSVR32 URLMON.DLL

      Then open Internet Explorer, Tools menu, Options, Program Tab, and click “Reset Web Settings” button.

      Does it appear now for you?

      • Dave

        Thank you so much!!!! I had a couple of bugs from a malware that I deleted and the above fixed my problem of links in Outlook would open putty window instead of IE.

  • Guest

    Am I the only person who has issues with Outlook? I’ve been using computers since I was in high school. I’m in my late 30’s now. (Yes, I was around when the Commodore 64 was a big deal.) In all the time I’ve been using the Internet I’ve never been able to use Outlook. In fact, I don’t even try to any more. I don’t even know what the benefits of using it at all would be. Maybe I can send emails without having to cut and paste the email address into the actual email that I use? I mean, I think the only time this even comes up is when I click on the “contact us” button on someone’s website or maybe Craigslist. Other than that I have no idea what it can do.

    Maybe I’m missing out on something. Since there seems to be an issue with using browsers other than Internet Explorer, which I don’t use, I can’t see where this would be of any use for me. I’m not trying to detract from the article though. I love the way you put it in simple terms and easy steps to follow. I guess the program just isn’t for me.

  • James

    Figuring out how to change the default browser in Outlook from IE to Chrome has been bugging me for quite some time now, your instructions totally did the trick, thank you! (NOTE: I’m using Windows 7). One small piece of advice for anyone having trouble: once you’ve pulled up “Set Default Programs”, click on Google Chrome in the left viewing field, then select “Choose defaults for this program” (instead of “Set this program as default”) at the bottom right. Then click on “Select All” toward the top left of the window which opens, that way ALL of your web defaults related to Outlook (and other programs) are set to Chrome. Thanks again! James

    • Kimberly

      James, thank you so much for reading and commenting! I’m so glad the article helped you out and thank you for writing some suggestions in your comment. They will be very helpful to our readers!


  • 8chbomb

    OK, I’ve set my default browser to Chrome, and I’ve associated all file types and protocols with Chrome. Still, no dice!

    I’m about to uninstall IE, or throw my machine out the window (both of which are probably bad). Before I go there, does anyone have any suggestions other than the ones listed here?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughtful consideration.

    • Len D’Alberti

      … throw Windows out the window

      seriously, replace your Windows install with just about any flavor of Linux and you’ll be a happier human being for it; if you can afford it, switch to OSX (Mac).

    • Ronny

      Look to see what version of IE you have installed. I FireFox for browsing, however, Outlook uses IE for html emails. If you have anything later than IE 9 installed, unistall any IE updates until you are back to IE 9. Hope this fixes your problem.

      • Kimberly

        Thanks for helping out a fellow reader Ronny!

  • Doktor_O

    When I use Outlook on my local machine, it correctly opens links in my default browser, which is Firefox. When I use OWA inside IE (web based outlook), it forces my links to open in IE, even though my default browser is Firefox. I feel that OWA is somehow corrupting my links, effectively taking control of my incoming mail and editing it to Microsoft’s liking. Is that legal?

    • That’s proper behaviour, actually — if you used Gmail or Hotmail in Internet Explorer, links within e-mails would open in Internet Explorer as well. It’s just the way web browsers work; if you click on a link, it’ll always use the same web browser as the page the link was on — in this case, the OWA web page, which you’re viewing in IE.

  • Peter

    Thank you so much – this worked perfectly

    I have been having night,ares with IE not opening properly from Outlook and it was very frustrating. Think it is crazy that you have to do something so complicated in windows xp to change this.

    I can not thank you enough :o)

  • Adam

    Thank you very much – worked perfectly!

  • Phil

    Thanks for this – big help.

    I have Firefox (ver 9) set as my default on work machine (Win XP + Outlook 2007), but for whatever reason opening links from Outlook always used IE. Interestingly at home (win XP + Outlook 2010) I’ve never had the problem. Making FF my default changed Outlook as well.


  • josephbrown012

    Thanks for this post, I will try this.

  • a web rocker

    hey guys.. my case is a little bit different from the others. My email’s links are being opened normally in my default browser (which is chrome), but the problem is my RSS feeds are being opened on IE. This is so weird. I am using outlook 2010

    Could u please help me out? thanks anyways!

  • irfan

    Thank you thank you I’m very glad to follow this thing..

    Now i can open my outlook as a default….

    once again thank you thank you thank you thank you soooooooooooo muchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………….

  • Darkflame

    I’m on Windows 7 using corporate e-mail via Outlook OWA 2010 and despite setting all the options above, I cannot get web outlook (that’s open in IE) to open links in another browser.

    Frustrating! I do hate Microsoft sometimes, they need to realize their browser is crap and always will be.

    • Actually, that’s the way it’s supposed to work, and OWA has no control over which web browser opens up links in its e-mails. If you used Gmail or Hotmail in Internet Explorer, links within e-mails would open in Internet Explorer as well. It’s just the way web browsers work; if you click on a link, it’ll always use the same web browser as the page the link was on — in this case, the OWA web page, which you’re viewing in IE.

  • frustrated

    Is it possible to set the default browser for links opened from within Outlook to Internet Explorer while keeping the default browser for the system set to Chrome?

    The reason is that, at work, most URLs that come to Outlook are internal and require IE, but I want to use Chrome for all links outside Outlook….

  • Anonymous

    Many people are confused about how to get outlook to work properly with browsers other than Internet Explorer. This is a question which is posted all over a number of forums relating to computer questions and issues. Therefore, I think this is an excellent article since it provides different ways to help solve this problem.

    The main issue is that of company control. Microsoft created the outlook program and they want to make sure that it stays theirs and that it is compatible with there other programs. In other words, they have set the default browser as IE. This means that every time you click on a link from your inbox (or outbox) it will open in a MS IE browser.

    Personally, I am glad to see such an article, since it is a very common complaint or question about outlook. This is a nice reference which I can give to clients that means less demands on my time for something which they can easily fix themselves, even without having any kind of technical background. I like anything that makes life easier for me!

    • some guy

      Outlook defaults to whatever is the default browser for the computer. IE is the default because it ships with windows. When your other browser asks, “Do you want to make this the default browser?”, and you answer yes, your system default changes to that new browser and Outlook looks there instead.

      Seriously, let’s all jump on the we hate Microsoft bandwagon because they are oh so evil.

      • a web rocker

        My computer does basically what that guy wants and I hate it. Outlook opens everything in Chrome even though I have IE set as default. Sorry, I like IE. I have uninstalled chrome and now outlook doesn’t know how to open any links. How to you assign a default for outlook so that it opens all the links in IE like every other program on the computer?

      • Earp

        Actually, 2007 seems to have a bug where no matter what browser you make the default, your links don’t open in anything but IE.

        So, in this case, the Microsoft hate bandwagon is well justified.

  • Anonymous

    Many people do not like their Internet Explorer browser. Actually, many people do not like Microsoft at all! Personally, I am not in either of these camps. However, as a computer repair technician it is certainly an issue which I am familiar with and hear many arguments both for and against on a regular basis. This also means that many people do not like the fact that their Outlook email program has configured IE as the default browser. In other words, every time you click on a link in your email, it will be opened using IE.

    This is an excellent article since it provides the methods to change this. In other words, you can re configure Outlook to use a different browser as the default. There are methods given which will work for either Windows 7 or Windows XP. After trying both of them on my different machines, I can conclude that they definitely work and will help to solve your issues.

    The article also includes a number of additional tips. These are simply ways to make sure that several versions of the Firefox browser is configured properly for your computer system.

  • a web rocker

    I think, if you take a look at the associated file types in whatever browser your browsed emails are opening in, (START, SEARCH ‘default programs’) that there are certain file types that are listed which cannot be opened with Firefox.

    To change specific ones go to | START | and in the search box TYPE ‘Association’ | SELECT ‘Make a file type always open in a specific program’ | ARRANGE the list by program by clicking the ‘Current Default’ column | Find the unwanted associations and change them to your chosen browser.

    As a heads up, the files which Firefox wasn’t being associated with in my setup were:

    .mht, .mhtml, .partial, .svg, .url and .website

    Some of these may not open with firefox, so it’s an idea to research them first as I haven’t

  • Outlook Setting

    You can manually set the default browser by selecting it as the the default program for individual file types and protocols.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome, this is exactly what I needed. I was so tired of having my computer decide what browser links should open in (especially when I already had one open and it constantly insisted on starting a new browser session, which would subsequently slow down my PC).

  • Anonymous

    Fixed my problem of accessing URL links from Outlook. Not sure what removed the function in the first place. Happy I have it back though. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    First, make sure that IE and Outlook are closed. Then, in Chrome, click on the settings icon (wrench) and go to “Options.” Once there, click on “Make Google Chrome my default browser.”

    • CyberGhosT

      We were doing this for Firefox.

      Why would we switch to a substandard browser like Chrome?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks a lot for this tip! Very useful!

  • Anonymous

    I currently have Firefox set as my default web browser. I currently use Outlook 2010 for email. When I click a link within an email it opens in Internet Explorer 8. I tried “The Solution” above but when I access ‘Tools’, ‘Folder Options’ is not an option. PLEASE HELP!

    • Web Rocker

      Hi there, we’ve updated the article to include the latest O/S (Windows 7) and version of Firefox (5). To answer your question, in Windows, type “default programs” in the Start search box. You’ll be taken to a page where you can set program defaults as well as file type defaults. You should be able to follow the remainder of the instructions above from here, but if you get stuck, please post back! Either way, let us know how it goes.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you so much – very helpful. I had the same problem – when I used to open links in Outlook it used to open them in Internet Explorer instead of Firefox. After setting Firefox as the default program it works alright.

  • Anonymous

    I know how to make Firefox my default browser. But, my default browser is Avant, instead of Firefox.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks. Silly Outlook somehow was linked to Chrome (which I never use). Much happier to have it linked to Firefox now.

  • Anonymous

    It’s also possible doing it the following way. Open Firefox Tools -> Options -> “Main” tab. At the bottom you see an area “System Defaults”. Click on the “Check Now” button. It is then asked if Firefox has to be your default browser…

    • Anonymous

      The solution to set Firefox as the default browser within Firefox worked, all other techniques failed.

      Thanks for the solution, friend!!

      • Anonymous

        ‘System Defaults’ is now located in Advanced tab….Worked well and much easier. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    If you want to set the default browser to IE…

    * Open IE
    * Go to Tools > Internet Options > Programs
    * Click the ‘Make default’ button

  • Anonymous

    For me, the url settings did nothing, but changing the htm and html file settings fixed it…

  • Anonymous

    I repeatedly changed the default to Mozilla Firefox, even rebooted, made sure it said Mozilla Firefox, checked to make sure Firefox itself thought it was the default browser, but links inside Outlook still opened in IE.

    I had to use the File Type procedures above to change the program called from the URL for the file types listed. When I did that, clicking on a link inside Outlook finally opened a tab inside Firefox.

  • Anonymous

    Example, open Firefox> Tools> Options> Check to see if Firefox is default> Set as Default? The hyper links in outlook should now open with Firefox.

  • Anonymous


    Will this work for Outlook 2003?

    Is it possible to have a ‘choice’ of browsers, rather than either / or?

    What I would like to find is a way to customize the context menu when doing a right click on the hyperlink. It would be nice to have the choice of opening whatever browser you choose at that point?

    Is this ‘easily’ doable?

    Thanks for your help.

    • alexc

      Hi there,

      It’s probably possible using Windows/ Outlook programming or a third party utility. I haven’t heard of such a feature but will post back if I do.

      Cheers 🙂

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