How-To Geek

Make Gmail the Default Application for mailto Links in Google Chrome

Would you like to access Gmail automatically every time that you click on a mailto link in Google Chrome? Now you can with a little bit of extension magic.

Getting Chrome Ready for Extensions

The first thing that you will need to do is prepare Chrome to use extensions if you have not previously done so. Locate the shortcut(s) for Chrome and right click on them. Select “Properties”.


Once you have clicked through, you will see the “Properties” window with the “Shortcut” tab displayed.


In the address area for “Target:” you will need to add the following command to the end of the target path making certain to leave a single space in between the final quote mark and the enable extensions command.


Here is an example of what the the target path should look like…


Once you have that finished, click “Apply”, then “OK”. Now you are ready to add your new extension!

Installing the Extension

Once you have gone to the link provided below, click on the link as shown to access the .crx file. Once the file has finished downloading, you will be prompted about the installation.


When the extension is ready to install, you will see the following message window. Click on “Install” to add the extension to Chrome. Now you are ready for all those new e-mails!


Whenever you click on a mailto link, Gmail will open up just like this…the entire window will be focused on letter composing only (nice!).



If you love using Gmail for all of your e-mail needs, then this extension is certain to be a perfect addition to your browser!


Download the GmailDefaultClient extension (Chrome Forums)

Note: The download link is approximately two-thirds of the way down the page.

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 09/17/09

Comments (17)

  1. caschy

    Doesn’t work in Chrome V3 final – only in Dev-Builds ;) cause Google removed extension-support.

  2. Hussein

    I think this option is already included in Gmail notifier provided by Google,
    check this image:

    Gmail notifier:

  3. Bill

    Newbie geek here…any reason why this wouldn’t work with the latest beta of Chrome. I have installed right now. I followed the instructions above but keep getting an error message that extensions are not enabled. Hmmm. Good thing I like to tinker around. Going to un-install the beta and download/install the stable release and try again. Geek on!

  4. Deron

    Doesn’t appear to like google apps. Anyone have a suggestion on how to find and then edit the script?

    The error it gives is: top.location=”″;

    Seems like the target url should be changed to include the …/a/

  5. Deron

    Never mind….

    To edit the plugin for google apps users…

    Find gmail.js in your

    …local settings\application data\google\chrome\user data\default\extension\…
    gpojel(this might be different it’s a bunch of letters)\1.0\ folder

    and edit the address to

  6. Vadersapien

    You need to be on the “Dev Channel” (v4.x.x.x) of Google Chrome to use extensions now.

  7. taboo

    The Gmail Notifier from will handle this for you clean and easy.


  8. trlkly

    Am I the only person who thinks it is stupid that this option didn’t come with Chrome? Come on, Google! It’s your own email service. Your web browser should be completely compatible with it.

    Imagine Internet Explorer without the ability to use Hotmail by default…

  9. Yohon


  10. John

    GOOGLE CHROME NOT compatible with GMAIL MAILTO should be embarrassing to Google.

    Seriously, does it not make you wonder who is running their customer feedback department…

    A big shame on Google on this BEYOND STUPID not included default option…

    trkly, you are not alone…

  11. KOTIX

    Easier way :

    run, regedit :


    edit (default) to :


    Wow that was way easier :-P Have fun !

  12. Odeho19

    Yay, trlkly!!! That’s awesome. Who’d have thunk it, huh? Also, when I try to open the ext. I get a warning that states, “can not open .crx file” Windows needs to search for a program that will open it. (?) So, I’m off to try Kotix’s way instead for now.

  13. jhwblender

    When you download the crx, open it with google chrome when windows askes you what program to open it with, it worked for me

  14. MaineManTodd

    @KOTIX: You nailed it. Thanks!

  15. Rodador

    Thanks Kotix, worked perfectly.

  16. saaki2

    Thanks Kotix!!! you saved me a lot of time

  17. Beco

    If your computer, like mine, doesn’t have the “custom” mail reader, you might want to install:

    See your synaptic for a clean installation always, instead of following download links.

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