HOWTO: Make Outlook Web Access Your Default Mail Agent

Here's a little off-topic post for you all.  HOWTO: Make OWA your default mailer.

1.  Add the following to a .reg file

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="Outlook Web Access"

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


2.  Import it into the registry by double-clicking the .reg file  (Please know that mucking with the registry is potentially dangerous and can make your system unstable).

3.  Boot IE

4.  Go to IE's Tools / Options...  Programs tab

5.  Choose “Outlook Web Access” from the E-mail dropdown.

6.  Hit OK.

Now when you hit the “Mail” button on your MS keyboard you get OWA coming up automatically.  You can also add OWA to the Start Menu now, just right+click on it and choose Properties, then click the Customize start menu and choose “Outlook Web Access” from the E-mail dropdown.


Comments (24)
  1. Paul Wilson says:

    It didn’t work for me, although I haven’t tried to reboot the entire PC. Do I need to do that? Any other thoughts?

  2. Tosh Meston says:

    I didn’t have to reboot with Windows 2003 or XP.

  3. bashkim misini says:

    not working_i will try to reboot the pc

  4. Anonymous says: – Din portal til Microsoft Exchange Server information

  5. Atle says:

    Thanks for great info!

    Do you know I can configure this to use the "mail to" as well? I have perfomed your modeficaton but when I click a "" I still get Outlook Express.



  6. Atle says:

    Nevermind. Figured it out!


    (Default) -> set it to:

    "%ProgramFiles%Internet Exploreriexplore.exe" "http://SERVER/exchange"


  7. Atle says:

    It doesn’t create a new mail with the e-mail adress tho.. 🙁

    Suggestions folks?


  8. KC Lemson says:

    Atle: describes the URL you can use to pre-fill in the address. But %1 in that registry key uses the full "Mailto:username", and OWA doesn’t interpret that…. but at least it gets you a wee bit farther than just opening up the OWA window.

  9. I did an Exchange 2000 Web form sometimes last year which pre-populates the "To:" and "Subject". It’s not that hard 😉

  10. Dumky says:

    It’s working with the Mail button on the keyboard, but mailto: urls still go to Outlook…

    Any ideas?

  11. Streamlined says:

    This is what I put in to go directly to send message. The problems I am having is %username% is not transfering after logon. This gives me an error because I do not have a user named "username". Unfortunatly, I can not assign this to the client, because this is a kiosk machine and any user (25-50 people) can use this.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00




    @=""C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" %"

  12. Nick Dixon says:

    The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE affects all users (obviously).

    If you want to set OWA as default just for yourself, you’ll need to change the .reg file to read:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    @="Outlook Web Access"


    @=""C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" http://server/exchange/alias/"

  13. Kevin Cantrell says:

    So has anyone figured out how to get rid of the "Mailto:username" that the %1 gives you? I am so close! 🙂

  14. josh says:

    I just found this. It’s too scary for me but maybe it’ll help you.

  15. Prashant says:

    Please tell me if I can import the Outlook Address book to my ASP.NET application and How??

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