When Windows 10 won’t open links from your email in your browser

I have used Microsoft Outlook as my email client for years and I’m currently using Outlook 2019 (after a year with the very buggy Outlook 2016).

Periodically, after an update of some kind or just seemingly out of the blue, clicking on a link in an email no longer opens that link in my default browser, Firefox. There are reports of the same thing happening in Chrome and Internet Explorer, as well as with links in the Windows 10 Mail app.

Yesterday, it happened again.

When this happened in the past, there was a quick and easy Microsoft Fix-It script that would resolve my problem. Of course, I went immediately to my trusty Fix-It script only to pop up a message that it would not work with Windows 10.

The next step was to google the problem for Windows 10. The suggested fixes I got through Google either didn’t work or seemed unnecessarily tedious and complicated. Not encouraging.

But there was a common thread, both in the old Microsoft Fix-It and in some of the suggestions from what Google found for me: Resetting the default browser to the Microsoft product (previously Internet Explorer, now Microsoft Edge in Windows 10).

The following solution works for me:

  1. Exit from Firefox or your default browser (it turns out this is not required).
  2. Go to Default Programs in Windows Settings or Control Panel.
  3. Select Microsoft Edge as your default browser.
  4. Click on the link in your email to make sure it opens a tab in Edge. Then close Edge.
  5. Restart Firefox (or your preferred default browser).
  6. Reset your default browser back to the one you prefer:
    • Under Options for your browser, select “Make Firefox (or Chrome, etc.) my default browser”; or
    • Go back to Default Programs in Windows Settings or Control Panel and reset the default there.

Now, click on the link in your email again. Voila! It should now open that link in your default browser. Functionality restored. And it didn’t even require a reboot!

Updated July 7, 2019

28 Comments on "When Windows 10 won’t open links from your email in your browser"

  1. Charles Rodmell | September 23, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Reply

    Thanks. It was step 1 that I was forgetting! Had to close the browser before changing the default.

  2. David Goldsmith | December 26, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Reply

    Does this permanently fix the problem? (I’ve found that restarting fixes the problem, but it keeps coming back, with sufficient frequency that it would render your fix “discouragingly tedious and complicated,” IMO. Has anyone discovered the root-cause of this problem, such that a permanent fix can be implemented? Is it an Outlook problem, a non-MS browser problem–I’m experiencing the problem w/ Chrome set as my default browser–or both? Does anyone know if MS is aware of the problem and is working on a fix [or do they not care, in the hopes that it might make more people switch to Edge for their default browser]?)

  3. No, it doesn’t fix it permanently. When I was still using Outlook 2010, it would happen 2-4 times a year maybe. I switched to Outlook 2016 recently and it hasn’t happened with that version yet.

    It may well be a non-MS browser problem. I use Firefox. But if it happening a lot for you, I would wonder about what browser you are using (Safari, Opera, or another lesser known browser?) or whether you have other registry issues on your system./

  4. Worked like a charm !
    Thank you for posting very clear and concise instructions !

  5. Porfirio Mendez Ocampo | January 10, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Reply

    Thank you so much, it was driving me crazy.

  6. Worked perfectly, thanks!

  7. Barry Peters | March 17, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Reply

    Thanks for your clear instructions. The fix worked for me!

  8. Benjamin Kurtzer | March 28, 2019 at 4:38 am | Reply

    Thank you! Your instruction worked perfectly!!

  9. OK I spent a billion hours on this PROBLEM…I did these steps and many others and no luck UNTIL I saw this post by a guy named Benf in a forum..I did the steps and my hyperlinks work GREAT again. Just saved you hours of frustration :


    You enter the commands Benf listed by typing CMD in the start box and then in the command interface copy and paste each command and hit enter! Too easy! :)

  10. Thank you, Ron K.

    The posted instructions are as follows:

    1. Close Outlook

    2. Open command prompt as admin and enter the following commands:

    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.htm /ve /d htmlfile /f
    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.html /ve /d htmlfile /f
    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.shtml /ve /d htmlfile /f
    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.xht /ve /d htmlfile /f
    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.xhtml /ve /d htmlfile /f

    • So basically changing ChromeHTML to htmlfile? What does that achieve?

      I’m experiencing this problem at the moment.

      • Sorry for the late reply. For some reason I didn’t get a notification for your comment, or if I did it was accidentally deleted, and I only discovered it today when I went into my Dashboard to check something else.

        Changing ChromeHTML to htmlfile assigns the filetype to something any version of Windows can recognize.

  11. Sami Randall | April 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Reply

    Thanks for the solution – worked perfectly!

  12. Randy Witten | April 24, 2019 at 9:41 am | Reply

    Unlike so many other articles that I read on this topic, your article provided the correct advice. Thanks!

  13. we cant do **** on public computers – AND WHAT’S WORSE is not only is OUTLOOK email having this issue – but all public emails have this problem, I really believe its Mozilla Firefox that has this problem, not windows 10 !! WAKE up Admins at Firefox !!!!!

    • Many things including email won’t normally work on public computers and public networks because they are not secure and could expose your passwords and other personal information. It’s not a problem with Firefox or any other browser; it’s by design.

      I’m also confused: are you talking about outlook.com rather than the Microsoft Office Outlook program?

  14. Gabi Koonings | May 4, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Reply

    Did not work, problem prevails.
    When i set the standard program to Edge it works, but i do not use that, when i set it to IE or Chrome, the problem remains.

  15. thank you – it worked- your instructions were really clear.

  16. Liz Whittaker | May 31, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Reply

    I use Mozilla Thunderbird and have the same problem. I have a private PC, so that’s not the problem. It’s really annoying. If I right click on an email I can “Open message in new tab” and that works but I shouldn’t have to do that. Please help. I’ve tried re-booting but it’s not solved the problem. It only started this afternoon.

  17. Thank you random internet person. This was driving me a little batty.

  18. Thank you very much, it helped!

  19. hey
    i did try your fix on my laptop
    set default by app
    file type and protocol association
    choose defaukt aoo by file type
    as soon i do the edge 10 it works perfect
    but then when i go back to my firefox and change the default to firefox
    it stop working : ubable to open https://mylink .com/login.
    i have no idea how i can fix it

  20. Bookmarked for the future references. After two days of googling, trying and being annoyed your suggestions solved my problem. Thank you very much!

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