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Secure Your Gmail Account With SSL Encryption Without Breaking Gmail Notifier

No matter what firewall you are using, if you are connecting to services online without using encryption there’s a chance for your data to be hijacked, especially if you are connecting over a wireless network. Today we’ll show you how to turn on SSL for Gmail while still allowing the Gmail Notifier to work properly.

Turning on SSL for Gmail is hardly a secret anymore, but getting the Gmail Notifier to continue to work isn’t quite as well known, so we’re covering both just for completeness. You can also think of this as a reminder to enable SSL if you haven’t already.

Thanks to Pratik for the idea for this article.

Configure Gmail to Always Use SSL

Once you login to your Gmail account, you’ll want to click the Settings link in the upper right-hand corner.

image

Then at the bottom of the general settings page, select the “Always use https” option, and click the Save Changes button.

image

That should be all you need to do… from now on you’ll be redirected to the SSL version of Gmail every time after logging in, no matter what computer you access email from.

Configure Gmail Notifier To Use SSL Encryption

As soon as you turn on the option to Always use https, you’ll notice that all of a sudden your Gmail Notifier doesn’t work anymore, because it requires a registry hack to switch the default URL to https instead of http.

In case you aren’t sure which notifier I’m talking about, here’s a screenshot:

image

And of course this screenshot is an excuse to use my favorite wallpaper.

Manual Registry Hack

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu run or search box, and then browse down to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Gmail\Flags

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Right-click in the pane on the right-hand side and create a new string with the following values:

  • Name: url
  • Value: https://mail.google.com/mail/

Close and re-open the Gmail Notifier, and you should immediately be able to see your notifications again.

Downloadable Registry Hack

Google is actually nice enough to provide a downloadable registry hack to make the notifier work properly. Just extract the zip file, and double-click on the included notifier_https.reg file to turn on SSL for your notifier. There’s an included undo script as well.

Download Gmail Notifier SSL script from google.com

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/3/08

Comments (8)

  1. Kevin

    Wow, thanks! The lack of SSL was pretty much the only reason why I held off using the Gmail Notifier.

  2. Michael

    Thanks for the pointer! I used the google registry hack zip and (so far) everything’s good.

  3. abhs94

    gmail’s in built chat is not working

  4. fsr

    Can’t say that I have this problem. I use Gmail Manager.

  5. rgpsx1

    Awesome advice, i was wondering why it wasn’t working all of the sudden but knew there was a way to fix it as always. Nice desktop as well.

  6. wed

    Many thanks for this. What is the equivalent procedure in Linux?

  7. Luis Costa

    1) MY Vista regedit do not show HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Gmail\Flags.
    Actually, there is no GMAIL folder. But… after changing the settings, I did not receive any error message.

    2) It was all fine, but I was looking for “How to encrypt Gmail”. Where can I get the instructions?

    Tks

    Luis Alfredo

  8. Nordic4

    this version has many faults

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