Changing the mail program used in Firefox

From MozillaZine Knowledge Base
Jump to navigationJump to search

Firefox normally uses the system default mail program for sending mail, such as when you click on a "mailto" link (example) or use the "Email Link" menu option ("Send Link" in Firefox 15 and below) to send an e-mail with a link to the current web page. This article explains how to choose a different mail program and how to fix problems sending mail in Firefox.

Choosing a different mail program to use in Firefox

If you want to use a different mail program in Firefox, open the Applications options/preferences window (" Tools -> Options -> Applications"), select the mailto entry and use the drop-down menu to change the action, as shown below:

"Use other" allows you to select an installed mail program that isn't listed in the drop-down menu:

  1. Click "Use other..." to open the "Select Helper Application" window.
  2. Click the "Browse" button.
  3. In the file picker, navigate to the installation directory for the mail program you wish to use and select the application.

On Windows, for example, if you want to use Mozilla Thunderbird and it isn't listed, click "Use other...", browse to the folder where Thunderbird is installed (usually C:\Program Files\Mozilla Thunderbird) and select "thunderbird.exe". "Use Mozilla Thunderbird" will then be listed as the "mailto" action and will remain listed as an option in the drop-down menu, even if you later change the mailto action to one of the other listed options.

In addition to installed mail programs, Webmail services (Yahoo! Mail and Gmail) can also be selected. If you want to use a Webmail service that is not listed, Firefox extensions to launch Webmail are also available.

Clicking "Application Details..." opens the "Application details" window, where mailto actions that can be used in place of the default mail program are listed. To remove an entry from the list, select it and click the "Remove" button.

Mail actions do not work

Note: If you have "Use Yahoo! Mail" as your selected mailto action in the Firefox Applications window and mail actions don't work correctly, see bugs 426260 and 513780.

If you click on a "mailto" link, or if you select "Email Link" from the Firefox menu ("Send Link" in Firefox 15 and below) and nothing happens, try these solutions:

Reset mailto preference:
A preference setting may have been modified that is preventing Firefox from opening your mail application. For example, if you installed an extension that changed the the network.protocol-handler.external.mailto preference to false and you later uninstalled the extension, mailto actions won't work in Firefox (see below). You can see if this is the case and resolve the problem by resetting the preference as follows:

  1. Type about:config in the Firefox address bar and press Enter
  2. If you see a page with the warning message, This might void your warranty!, click the button labeled "I'll be careful, I promise!", to continue
  3. Type mailto in the Search: (Filter) box
  4. In the list of preferences, find network.protocol-handler.external.mailto
  5. If its value has been modified to false (it will be in bold) right-click on the preference and select Reset.

This will change the preference setting to the default "true" value and should resolve the problem. If this solution doesn't help, try the other suggestions given below. [1] [2]

Delete or rename the mimeTypes.rdf file:
There may be something wrong with the mimeTypes.rdf file in the Firefox profile folder, which contains settings for applications that are opened for different file types and download actions, including mailto actions. Try renaming "mimeTypes.rdf" to "mimeTypes.rdfOLD" with Firefox closed and then restart Firefox, to generate a new mimeTypes.rdf file. (You can open the Firefox profile folder from the Troubleshooting Information page by clicking the Profile Folder button in the Application Basics section.)

Reselect the the program to use in Firefox for mailto actions:
If mailto actions don't open your preferred mail program (e.g., Mozilla Thunderbird) even though it is your default mail program, try manually reselecting your preferred mail program in your Firefox "Applications" options/preferences, even if that application is already listed, by opening the drop-down menu for "mailto", selecting "use other" and then clicking the "Browse" button (see above). [3]

Extension issues

The Google Toolbar for Firefox includes a "Send with Gmail" feature that changes the mail program used in Firefox to Gmail, regardless of what is set in Firefox options or your system default mail program. It is recommended that you do not select the "Send with Gmail" option in the Google Toolbar. Firefox already has a "Use Gmail" option available by default in the Applications listing for mailto actions (see above). More importantly, uninstalling the Google Toolbar extension with the "Send with Gmail" feature enabled may leave you with Firefox opening nothing at all for mailto links. You can resolve this issue by resetting the Firefox user preference network.protocol-handler.external.mailto to the default "true" value in about:config (see above). [4] [5]
Note: the Google Toolbar is no longer supported by Google for Firefox 5 and up; see Using Google Toolbar features without toolbars

See also

External links