How to configure the default e-mail client using Group Policy

Symptoms

When you use Group Policy to administer the default e-mail client you are unable to locate a setting to make this configuration.

Cause

The default Group Policy templates for Outlook do not include a setting to configure the default e-mail client.

Resolution

To configure the default e-mail client using Group Policy, create a custom .adm template. Then, add this template to your Group Policy Editor so you can configure the policy setting.

  1. Open a new text file in Notepad.

  2. Copy and paste the following text into the text file:

    CLASS MACHINE
    CATEGORY !!Default_E-mail_Client
     POLICY !!Default_Client
     KEYNAME "SOFTWARE\Clients\Mail"
     EXPLAIN !!Explain_Default_Client
      PART !!labeltext_Default_Client EDITTEXT
       VALUENAME ""
     DEFAULT "Microsoft Outlook"
       END PART
      END POLICY
    END CATEGORY
    
    [strings]
    Default_E-mail_Client="Default e-mail client policy"
    Default_Client="Default e-mail client"
    Explain_Default_Client="This policy configures Outlook as the default e-mail client"
    labeltext_Default_Client="Default E-mail Client:"
    Microsoft_Outlook="Microsoft Outlook"
    
  3. Save the file as DefaultEmailClient.adm.

  4. Close the file.

  5. Add the file to the Group Policy Editor.

    Note The steps to add the DefaultEmailClient.adm file to the Group Policy Editor vary. Please consult your Windows documentation for details.

  6. Under Computer Configuration expand Administrative Templates.

  7. Select the Default e-mail client policy node in the policy tree.

  8. Double-click the Default e-mail client setting in the right pane.

    Note If you do not see the Default e-mail client policy setting in the right pane of the Group Policy editor, make sure your Group Policy editor filtering settings are not hiding unmanaged policies. For example, in Windows Server 2003, click Filtering on the View menu. Then, click to clear the Only show policy settings that can be fully managed check box.

  9. Click to select Enabled.

  10. Specify the default e-mail client to be configured by this policy. (The default is configured for Microsoft Outlook)

    Note If you are unsure of the e-mail clients registered on a workstation, examine the subkeys under the following key in the registry.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Clients\Mail

    The name of each subkey is the name of an installed e-mail client on the workstation.

  11. Click OK.

More Information

The default e-mail client is typically configured through the Programs tab in the Internet Properties dialog box. However, if you are not a member of the local adminisrators group you may not have enough permission to make this change (because the setting is stored under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive in the registry).