Windows 8 sets its new Mail app as the default email client. This is annoying when you click an email (MailTo) link on a webpage and you’re bounced into the new UI. Here’s how to change it to a different desktop email program like Outlook.
Changing the default client from the Mail app to something else is similar to making PDFs and Photos open on the Desktop, or preventing videos and music files from opening in Windows 8 apps.
Set Default Windows 8 Desktop Email Client
Open Control Panel on the Desktop and click Default Programs.
Then click “Associate a File Type or Protocol with a Program” link.
Next in the Set Associations screen, scroll down the list until you find Protocols, and under that you’ll see MAILTO. It’s set to Mail – double click it.
A windows will pop up asking how you want to open the (mailto) link. Select one from the list or check the Windows Store for one. Here I’m sticking with Outlook 2013 for mailto links. Old habits are hard to break! I’ve been using Outlook since 97 and still prefer it today. It’s definitely better than the current version of the Mail app.
Set Webmail as Default in Chrome or Firefox
Using the method above will set your default email for all of your browsers. But you might want to drill down and customize it for each browser, and you can.
In Chrome you’ll probably want to set Gmail as your default email handler.
Or if you’re a Firefox user, it’s easy to set the default email client to Gmail or another web based client.