My bizarre story about setting webmail browser as default mail sender

I have recently become frustrated by the default mailto: default settings on my PC, which always open Outlook Mail when I click on an email address to send to.

These days, almost everyone used web based mail programs, which are accessible from anywhere on any computer, rather than downloading messages to a desktop email program such as Thunderbird or Eudora, or Outlook Express.

But in the settings of my browsers, Firefox and IE, the settings for email programs didn’t include any web mail programs.

I researched the situation, and found that most browsers need a little script to tell them to go to a web based email handler.

I’ve used Yahoo Mail for awhile now, and I like it.  But I have to pay to be able to access my other self hosted email accounts through pop mail.  And recently, yahoo mail has been acting up, slow to load, slow to send. But I intended to stick with it.

So I researched how to make Yahoo Mail the default “mailto:” program. I found that Firefox needed the addon “greasemonkey” with a little script “mail to webmail”. And it came in one package in a new version of the browser with a Yahoo toolbar.  So I downloaded and installed the new Firefox and enabled the webmailto feature.  I was all set!

But when I tried a mailto link, it opened in GMAIL! Yes, it’s a web mail handler, but not Yahoo. I have a gmail account, but I never use it.  I spent some time trying to direct the settings to Yahoo, and finally had to manually edit the script to set it to yahoo instead of gmail.  How it came set to gmail I will never know, since it was advertised to go to Yahoo.  Ahh, the mysteries of the Internet.  I’m sure there’s an explanation, but that’s water under the bridge, or bytes and bytes down the wires.

While attempting to resolve the situation, however, I considered moving to Gmail.  I went to my Gmail account and found that they also offer Pop mail access to my other addresses, but for FREE. It took me awhile, but I installed all my other emails (I have four others) on Gmail, and set up iGoogle as my home page, with a nice little addon to check my mail regularly right from my home page!

So, after all I went through to set mail to open Yahoo, now I wanted out!  That opened up a whole new can of worms!

Now I couldn’t get rid of Yahoo, no matter what I tried.  I deleted Yahoo Messanger, which came with the Firefox installation.  I manually edited the greasemonkey script back to Gmail, to no avail.  The main solution, adding a special script “Gmail Notifier” would have worked, except in Firefox, which I like best.

I was about to give up, at least for the day, and I did one more search for “how to make Gmail my default email program.  It came up with two decent posts, one slightly confusing one from The Digital Wanderlust and article which cleared up the problem.  The article shows clearly how to set Gmail as your default email program in Windows, Mac, and particularly in Firefox, where you have to do some funky stuff to get the little program into the browser.

The huge mystery of all this is: How bizarre that I had to manually add Gmail as a mailto choice after having trouble getting rid of it yesterday, when it seemingly installed itself in Firefox by seemingly “tagging along” with the new Firefox special “Yahoo” browser!