How-To Geek

Troubleshooting: Prevent "Locate Link Browser" Popup Dialog when Clicking on Links in Outlook

This is a guest post by Aseem Kishore, a technology enthusiast and lead blogger for Online-Tech-Tips.

If you’re using Firefox as your default Internet browser and Outlook as your email client, then you may have noticed that when you click on a URL link in an Outlook email, you get a popup dialog box titled “Locate Link Browser” and then Firefox will load normally. It doesn’t seem to cause any problems, but it’s certainly very annoying having to close that dialog box every time!

Note: You will not get this dialog box if you already have Firefox open on your computer. It only occurs when you click on a link and Firefox is not already open. Also, if you’re using IE, you won’t have this issue at all.

locate link browser

So how you can get rid of this annoying dialog once and for all? Follow these simple steps to fix the issue on Windows XP:

Step 1: Open My Computer from the desktop or Start Menu.

Step 2: Go to the Tools menu and click on Folder Options.

tool folder options

Step 3: Now click on the File Types tab and you’ll see a list of registered file types, Extensions and File Types. Under the Extensions column, look for the entries with (NONE) and in that subset, find the entry under File Types that is called URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol.

url hypertext protocol

Step 4: Click on the Advanced button at the bottom and then click on the Edit button.

edit button

Step 5: Go ahead and uncheck the DDE option. It is called “Use DDE” and it’s checked by default. We want to make sure it’s unchecked.

uncheck dde

Go ahead and click Ok and then Ok again and then close! Now give it a shot and it should work! You can also do the same for this entry: URL: HyperText with Security. This is for HTTPS links. Worked like a charm on my computer!

Note that if the textbox “Application used to perform action” is blank, then you can click Browse and find the Firefox.exe application.

If you’re using Windows Vista, the method above may not work. In Vista, you have to delete some registry keys in order for the dialog box to go away. Here’s how.

Step 1: Click on Start, then Run and type in regedit. Or just type in regedit in the Instant Search Box and press Enter.

Step 2: Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\HTTP\shell\open\ddeexec registry key.

Step 3: Delete the “ddexec” registry key

Step 4: Repeat for the following keys:


This should fix the issue in both Windows XP and Windows Vista! Enjoy!

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 05/13/08

Comments (27)

  1. hummingbird

    when I uncheck the dde box – if I go back and open it again it has rechecked itself

  2. alekdavis

    Same issue as reported by hummingbird (using XP SP 3).

  3. ria

    Thank you!! Such a simple solution. I thought I had a virus.

  4. flashh

    Easy fix for a problem that developed when I upgraded to the latest Firefox (3.0.1). Thank you!

  5. flashh

    In retrospect, I’m not sure if it was the Firefox upgrade or the XP SP 3 upgrade. Regardless, this fix worked for me, and MS support had indicated the fix was to identify IE in those locations. Thanks again.

  6. Sarah

    This worked for me. I had to switch my internet browser after I uninstalled Flock. Thank you!

  7. JP

    XP SP3 – what if you don’t have “URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol” as an option to choose from in the long list of File Types?

  8. Bill Kidwell

    I use IE (tried using version 8, hated it, so re-downloaded 7.) Somewhere in the process soemthing happened because I am getting the Locate Link Browser box almost everytime I click on an outlook link and the second time I click after closing the box it works.

    Also, using IE7, it has become standard that I have to launch the browser twice everytime to get it to open.

    Any thoughts on either issue?


    I have already tred the my computer solution for the link browser issue and it did not stop it. I also removed IE and re-downloaded IE7 to no avail.

  9. Cnu

    When Locate Link Browser is opened.
    Using the side navigation Key locate Firefox or IE exe file and click on ok.

  10. Pemo Theodore

    This originally was a great fix for me in Vista pre SP1 but now every time I go thru the procedure of deletions they must just regenerate. Would love an update about how to decimate the little critters for good & leave me free of stupid error messages all the time!

  11. Lisa B.

    I have done what the above instructions indicate, but when I try and click on a link within an email, I no longer get the ‘Load Link Browser’ window but rather, a whole new session of Firefox opens… and my link never opens.

  12. Arcane

    This has really helped me. My IE session is now working directly by clicking the link in the email message.

  13. Stephen Dawson


    Running FF 3.5.6 This Locate Link problem started immediately thereafter. Have completed the steps outlined for Vista, did not fix the problem.

    Any ideas?


  14. ChrisG_Philadelphia

    I have found a workaround for this issue. The Microsoft recommended solution is to change your default browser to Internet Explorer, which is unacceptable in my opinion.

    I am running Outlook 2003 with Windows XP Professional SP3 and Firefox 3.5.2.
    I did a fresh install of Windows and loaded all software manually. Immediately after installing Firefox and setting it as my default browser, if Firefox wasn’t already opened, when I clicked on a link in an Outlook email, I would get a window that said “Locate Link Browser.” I browsed to my firefox.exe and selected it. After that, I clicked on a link in my email, and 2 firefox windows would open…. 1 to my home page, and 1 to the actual link.

    Unchecking the DDE box as mentioned above does not work, as it just rechecks itself. Also I tried deleting the DDE entries under FirefoxURL, FirefoxHTML, etc. in regedit, but they came back too.

    Finally, I found the following registry key: “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Preferences”. There is a string value named “InternetBrowserPath”. If you delete this string or leave the value blank, you’ll still get the locate link browser window.

    So instead I did the following:
    Create a batch file called “donothing.bat” and place it in “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox”. Open the batch file with Notepad and simply type “EXIT” (no quotes) and save it.
    Next, run regedit, navigate to the registry path mentioned above, and set the “InternetBrowserPath” string value to “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\donothing.bat”. If you don’t see that string, create it and set the value.
    Close all browser windows and click on a link in Outlook. It should open in Firefox without any extra windows showing up. You may see the black command window popup, but I don’t even see that. This is an acceptable solution in my opinion.

  15. Ivan Johnson

    Unfortunately, this solution does not work with the Safari Browser. Any ideas?

  16. steve

    Thanks, your solution almost worked but I could not get the computer to accept the firefox link from any available choices (although I may have not looked correctly as a novice)

    However, I right clicked on my Firefox desktop icon and copied the “target” desitination.

    I then went back to the procedures you listed and “pasted” the destination link in the “application to perform box” next to browse.


  17. Afzal

    its works gr8. Thanks

  18. Nadeem

    For Safari: when the Locate Link Browser window opens, browse to the Safari directory (usually C:\Program Files\Safari\Safari.exe). Choose Safari.exe and click OK in the Locate Link Browser window. Now when you click on an email link, the Locate Link Browser window will no longer open; BUT now two browser windows will open! one showing the link you clicked on and one showing your home page.

    If you are using XP, from any open explorer window go to Tools>Folder Options>File Types tab.

    Find one or more entries for “(NONE) Safari URL” under “Registered file types.”

    For each entry do the following:

    1. Click on the entry
    2. Click the Advanced button
    3. “Edit File Type” window opens. Click on the Edit… button.
    4. “Editing action for type: Safari URL” window opens. Uncheck “Use DDE”
    5. Click OK>OK>Close.

    Now only one browser window should open when you click on an email link. Worked for me, hope it works for you too.

  19. RON


  20. Lorne

    Thanks,Nadeem, for the Safari tip. Worked like a charm.

  21. a

    I had the same issue as Nadeem because i have safari thanks Nadeem.

  22. pkiff

    Attempted the solution described in the article, but ran into same issues as ChrisG_Philadelphia. I also am running XP SP3 and Firefox 3.x with Outlook 2003. ChrisG’s solution in comment #-82787 does however work for me:

    Thanks Chris!


  23. Mark

    I’ve tried these fixes (XP SP3) but the problem never seems to go away. It’s a minor irritation, and probably a bug in Outlook that never gets fixed (does this happen on Outlook 2003 and 2007 and 2010?).

  24. Fred

    This fix isn’t available with Windows 7 as I don’t have a menu when I open my computer. Does anyone have answers? I am using Windows 7 home premium edition and outlook 2010.

  25. Diana

    URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol is not one of the choices that is visible. Please advise.

  26. Paul

    I finally fixed this problem for my Outlook 2003 Windows XP Firefox set up! What you do is follow the directions from this post but you don’t bother to uncheck DDE; it will just get checked upon exit anyway. Instead you clear the DDE Message text box (by default it will have something like “”%1″,,0,0,,,,”).

    So I have the following now for “URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol”:

    Action: open
    Application used to perform action: “C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” %1
    Use DDE: checked!
    DDE Message:
    Application: firefox
    DDE Application Not Running:
    Topic: System

  27. David

    I use Google Chrome and this fix unfortunately did not work for me. I managed to locate the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\HTTP\shell\open\ddeexec and HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\HTTPS\shell\open\ddeexec keys, but the only Chrome key I found didn’t do anything — any other ideas?

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