if you’re a home user you can easily change default e-mail client without any question. but what if you’re an administrator in corporate network which got hundreds to thousands of computers and users. it will be one hell of a job to change default e-mail client on all of those computers.

luckily if you’re using windows 2003 server (you might also try it in windows nt, windows 2000 or windows 2008 server) you can do this easily with no sweat. i’ll show you how to do that :

  1. login to your active directory server (directly or remotely) and launch notepad
  2. copy the following code to notepad :
    CATEGORY !!Outlook_Default_Client
    CATEGORY !!Outlook
    POLICY !!Default_Client
    KEYNAME "SOFTWARE\Clients\Mail"
    EXPLAIN !!Explain_Default_Client
    PART !!labeltext_Default_Client DROPDOWNLIST REQUIRED
    NAME !!Microsoft_Outlok VALUE "Microsoft Outlok" DEFAULT

    Outlook_Default_Client="Default email client policy"
    Outlook="Microsoft Office Outlook"
    Default_Client="Default mail client"
    Explain_Default_Client="This policy configures Outlook as the default email client"
    labeltext_Default_Client="Default Mail Client:"
    Microsoft_Outlok="Microsoft Outlook"

  3. save the file as whatever.adm (must use .adm as file extension)
  4. for easy management, copy the file to %WINDIR%\inf folder usually %WINDIR% will be C:\Windows
  5. launch Group Policy Management Snap-in (Start > Administrative Tools > Group Policy Management)
  6. right click group policy object where you want the above script to be imported and click edit
  7. expand Computer Configuration (if it’s not expanded yet) > right click Administrative Templates > click Add Remove Templates > click Add button
  8. select whatever.adm file that you save before and click Open
  9. whatever.adm should appears on Add Remove Templates window. click Close to continue
  10. expand Administrative Templates tree, there should be Default e-mail client policy folder listed there, if it’s not then its most likely that you didn’t follow the above step correctly
  11. now by default custom administrative templates settings will not appears on group policy editor. to be able to see the settings, do the following :

  12. right click administrative templates > view > click filtering
  13. on filtering windows, clear the check mark on Only show policy settings that can be fully managed option and then click OK
  14. now expand Default e-mail client policy > Microsoft office outlook
  15. double click on Default mail client. Default mail client properties windows will appears
  16. choose Enable, choose Microsoft Outlook in Default mail client drop down menu and click OK
  17. you’re done !!!

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