How to Make Outlook Express Your Default Windows Email Program

How to Change Your Default Email Program in Various Versions of Windows

How can you set your default email program in Windows? When you click on an email address in a web browser, it brings up your default email program, but that may not be the program you prefer to use. You may have installed a new email client or you want to use an old one you still have installed, such as Outlook Express, even if it has been discontinued.

It is easy to change your default email client at any time.

You simply have to know where to look in different versions of Windows. It has changed through the years, so the steps depend on which Windows version you are using. To check your Windows version, go to your System setting. Here are more details on how to know which Windows version you have.

You may run into problems if you are attempting to run an older program on a newer system. At some point, you may need to switch to a newer email client. Often, you will be able to import your saved email from your older email client.

Setting the Default Email Client in Windows 10

  1. Click on the Start Menu, the Windows icon at the bottom-left corner of your screen.
  2. Click on the Settings icon (the cogwheel)
  3. Type Default into the search box and select Default app settings
  4. For email, click on the selection and you will see a list of available email apps that are installed. Select Outlook Express or whichever one you prefer. If you don't see one that you like, you can select Look for an app in the Store to find more.

    Note that you can also bring up Default Programs by typing default in the Ask me anything search box at the bottom of the screen.

    Setting Default Email Program in Windows Vista and 7

    To configure Outlook Express as your default email program in Windows Vista and Windows 7:

    1. Click Start.
    2. Type "default programs" in the Start Search box.
    1. Click Default Programs under Programs in the search results.
    2. Now click Set your default programs.
    3. Highlight Outlook Express on the left.
    4. Click Set this program as default.
    5. Click OK.

    Setting Default Mail Program in Windows 98, 2000, and XP

    To set Outlook as your default program for email:

    1. Start Internet Explorer.
    2. Select Tools | Internet Options from the menu.
    3. Go to the Programs tab.
    4. Make sure Outlook Express is selected under E-mail.
    5. Click OK.

    Setting Default Mail Program in Older Windows Versions

    For older versions of Windows, you can use this method:

    To ensure Outlook Express is Windows's default program for all things email:

    • Make sure Outlook Express is not running.
    • Select Run... from the Start menu.
    • Type "msimn /reg" (excluding the quotation marks).
    • Hit Enter.
      • Wait for, say, ten seconds for the process to finish. Nothing will appear on the screen. Do not let that disturb you.
    • Launch Outlook Express.
    • Select Tools | Options... from the menu.
    • Go to the General tab.
    • Click Make Default under Default Messaging Programs.
    • Click OK