Although fixing problems with automated tools such as SlimCleaner Plus is our recommended route, we have compiled step-by-step instructions to fixing the most common issues below. WARNING: these instructions are intended to be followed precisely.

This guide will walk you through the process of troubleshooting the “Default mail client is not properly installed” error message that occurs when attempting to load the default mail client from a web page link or other similar source. The steps within are structured in an order that will provide the best possible results. Read each instruction carefully before taking action. To begin troubleshooting, continue with the steps below...

Vista & 7 Users

If you have recently upgraded from XP to Windows Vista or 7 and you brought the mail application Microsoft Outlook Express from Windows XP, you will not be able to utilize all features of this application due to major incompatibility issues with the new Windows operatings systems. Microsoft has ended support for this application and it is beyond the scope of this guide to provide support for an application that is not fully compatible with Windows.

However, if you are experiencing difficulties with Outlook Express in Windows XP, this guide will attempt to help you correct the error.

Configure Default Mail Application

The steps within this section will walk you through the process of configuring the default mail application in Windows and your browser. Follow the labeled set of instructions for your specific version of the Windows operating system.

(Windows XP)


  1. Click Start

  2. Click Set Program Access and Defaults

  3. Select the Custom radio button and click the drop-down arrow to expand the Custom section.


Custom Default Program Configuration – Control Panel

  1. Under Choose my default email program, select the radio button next to the email application that you wish to use by default and ensure that the check box next to that program is checked. Do not leave this setting left on Use my current email program.

Note: If the program you wish to set as default is not visible, try uninstalling and reinstalling the program from your computer. After reinstallation, the program should appear within this list.

  1. Click Ok to close this window.

Now, configure your browser to recognize the default email program.

(Windows XP : Internet Explorer)

  • Click Tools

  • Click Internet Options

  • Click the Programs tab


Internet Explorer Internet Options

  • Select the email application you wish to use in the E-mail drop down box.

  • Click Apply

  • Click Ok

(Windows XP : Firefox)

  • Click Tools

  • Click Options

  • Click the Applications button


Firefox Options

  • Select the email application that you wish to use in the mailto drop down box

  • Click Ok

(Windows Vista/7)

  1. Click Start

  2. Click Default Programs



Default Programs – Control Panel

  1. Click Set program access and computer defaults

  2. Click the Custom radio button

  3. Click the drop down arrow to expand the Custom section


Custom Default Program Configuration – Control Panel

  1. Under Choose my default email program select the radio button next to the email application you wish to use by default and ensure that the checkbox next to it is checked. Do not leave this setting left on Use my current email program.

Note: If the program you wish to set as default is not visible, try uninstalling and reinstalling the program from your computer. After reinstallation, the program should appear within this list.

  1. Click Ok

Now back at the Control Panel...

  1. Click Set your default programs


Set Default Programs – Control Panel

  1. In the Programs frame, look for the default email application you wish to set. Once found, click on it once and its details will appear in the empty frame to the right of the window.

  2. Click the Set this program as default button.

  3. Click Ok

Windows Vista and 7 will automatically update the Internet Explorer settings for the default programs. However, Firefox will not. To configure Firefox to recgonize the default email application...

(Windows Vista/7 : Firefox)

  • Click Tools

  • Click Options

  • Click the Applications button


Firefox Options

  • Select the email application that you wish to use in the mailto drop down box

  • Click Ok

Many users have noted various problems with this error and the Firefox browser. This problem is due to certain registry entries that conflict with certain Internet protocols. If the above steps did not solve the problem, take the following steps...

Firefox Registry Tweak

Only perform this step if configuring Windows and Firefox did not work.

  1. Click Start

(Windows XP)

  • Click Run

  • Type into the Run dialog: regedit.exe

  • Press Enter

(Windows Vista/7)

  • Type into the Search field: regedit

  • Press Enter


Windows Registry Editor (Windows Vista/7)

The registry editor will appear in a new window. To navigate the registry, you must select a hive by expanding it. To expand a hive, click the icon next to the entry. Hives are divided into keys and subkeys. They can be further expanded in the same manner. Below is a list of registry entries that should be deleted in order to complete this fix. Before doing so, you should back up the registry by...

  • Click File

  • Click Export

  • Name the backup and choose a place to save it and click Save.

Now, navigate to the following locations and delete the listed keys. To delete a key, right-click and select Delete. If deleting these keys causes further problems, we can restore the registry by double-clicking the backup that we just made.

  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\HTTP\shell\open\ddeexec

  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\HTTPS\shell\open\ddeexec

  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\FirefoxURL\shell\open\ddeexec

  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\FirefoxHTML\shell\open\ddeexec

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