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Setting Gmail as your default email program in Google Chrome v25

Update (2014/04/13):  This article may not be applicable any longer as Google Chrome has changed a bit and as of this update is now at version 34. Please feel free to post a comment if you find this to be/not be a viable option anymore so that I may either change this article to reflect the right procedure or to remove it outright. Thanks.

Many people over the years have wanted to use Google Chrome as their default browser and Gmail as their default email application whenever they click on a mailto: link on any website or link within another email.  There are many Chrome extensions that have been made to provide this utility.  Even Google has made a notifier program that helps with this as well as provides notification on your desktop to alert you whenever you receive a new message.  As of Chrome version 25 I had problems getting it to play nicely with me in accomplishing this very action.  In the past I would use a registry hack, in fact more than one hack.  As Chrome evolved so did the registry values.  Suffice it to say, the registry hack no longer works or at least for me.  Now there’s a better way to handle this and it’s through Chrome’s Protocol Handlers that this functionality can be accomplished. As I mentioned earlier, I had problems getting this to work because all of the sites I’ve visited gave instructions that didn’t work for me or at least they didn’t directly work for me.  The one that came the closest was from Google’s own Blog.  Now that I’ve figured it out, I think I’ll share with the rest of the world. This Google support page describes what you need to do.  But to give you the quick and dirty:

  1. Visit Gmail with Chrome and log into your account (if you aren’t already)
  2. In the omnibox, look for this icon chrome_handler_icon and click it.
  3. When prompted with, “Allow Gmail (mail.google.com) to open all email links?” select “Use Gmail” and press the “Done” button
  4. Click this mailto: link to test the Gmail connection.  If it doesn’t work right away, close and reopen Chrome and try once more.

NOTE: This can also be done with Google’s Calendar page as well to handle Web Calendar (Protocol webcal) links. Hopefully this helps you all like it did me.  Leave a comment below and let me know if this was helpful.  I’m curious how many people out there struggled with this like me!  😛


  • David G |

    Thank you so much!

    This really works and is so simple and the right way to do it. Took me over 2 hours googleing and blogging to get to your instructions hehe..


  • Walt |

    Thank you!

    I’ve just spent 66 minutes (as determined by my Chrome history page) looking for this answer, and was led to all kinds of elaborate answers involving javascript navigator etc. This took 3 seconds!

  • Ken |

    OMG. Thank you! Going through Settings didn’t work for me but going through the icon did.

  • Gingi |

    Finally a non-javascript solution that works! Had to know it though. Cheers.

  • Gingi |

    Oh and by the way, the email field of this comment section is kinda on the far right of the screen and therefore hard to find ^^. Since it’s a requiered field I think it is the reason why people don’t comment as much as they should.

So, what do you think ?

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