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Issue #105: July 26, 2009

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Last week’s column was already written when I realized that it was issue #104.  52 weeks in a year means makes that an important number.  So, the It’s Geek to Me 2nd anniversary passed with very little fanfare.  Let me correct that oversight now by saying thank-you to all of you my loyal readers.  You are what keep the column going. 

QWhen we are on a website and want to contact them, we click on the “Contact Us” button and are presented with a dialog screen where we can enter our query. The problem is that there is no send button. We can’t find any way to send that message. What we end up doing is to cut and paste the content of the message to the Create Mail screen on Windows Mail, then remember the address or go back to the contact us screen and cut and paste the address. This works but is a pain.  The two questions we have are these, is there some way to send the message from the contact us screen? If that is not possible, is there some way to cut and paste both the content and address at the same time? Any help you could give us would be appreciated.

– Jim J.
Niceville, Fla

A: Readers, it took a couple of e-mails back and forth, but I finally got Jim to send me a screen shot showing his problem.  Jim, after looking at the image you sent, I think I know what’s wrong. 

First of all, you said that you use Windows Mail for your mail client, but the image you sent me appears to be a Compose E-mail dialog from Microsoft Outlook.  That was the breakthrough.  It appears to me that you have the wrong default e-mail program associated in Internet Explorer.  You see, your browser has to know what application to run when you click on a MAILTO: link, which is what the “Contact Us” button you mentioned actually is.  In your case, you want to use Windows Mail, but your browser is configured to use Outlook.  You have a couple of choices.  You can either move your e-mail over to Outlook, and start to use that as your mail client, or, if you’re happy with Windows Mail, it’s pretty easy to change the program association.

These instructions are for a Vista system, running Internet Explorer 8:  From IE’s Tools menu, select Internet Options.  Click on the Programs tab, and under Internet Programs, click Set programs.  In the dialog that appears, click “Set your default programs”.  In the Programs list, select Windows Mail, then click “Set this program as default”.  This will automatically set all of Windows Mail’s default associations, which are, to run when you click on files with extension .eml, to run when you activate the “E-mail” link on the Start menu, and, to be the default mail client for the MailTo Protocol in Internet Explorer.  Click OK and back out of all the dialogs, and your changes should take effect.

For anyone using WinXP who is having a similar problem the fix is even easier.  Start as above, with IE’s Tools menu, select Internet Options, and click the Programs tab.  Under Internet programs, locate E-Mail, and select the desired program from the dropdown.

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