Be the master of your e-mail

Question: At work, I use Lotus Notes for e-mail. I also use Netscape 4.7 for web browsing. When I click on a “mailto:” link on a Web page, Netscape wants to use (its own e-mail program called) Messenger as the e-mail program, but I’d rather have it launch Notes instead. Is this possible? —Vic

Answer: There is a fix for Netscape. It does require some behind-the-scenes work. If finding, editing, and copying files in Windows is a little bit beyond you, I’d recommend asking a Windows expert to help. At work, that’s your Help Desk. Alternately, bait a teenager with music-store gift certificates for downloading MP3 files of his/her favorite tunes. (Note: This might work for any computer help you need — not just in e-mail!)

Below, I’ve outlined how to do this with Microsoft Internet Explorer, as well.

First, a bit of background for the uninitiated. A mailto link is a special link in a web page that, when clicked, launches an e-mail program with the destination address already built in.

For example, if you go to the Queries page on my Web site and scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see a link that says “Send an email to link”. When you click on it, your web browser will launch your e-mail program and will automatically insert [email protected] in the e-mail’s “To:” field.

By default, the program that is launched in Microsoft Internet Explorer is Outlook Express. In Netscape Navigator, it’s Netscape Messenger.

To make Lotus Notes R5 your default e-mail program in Netscape Communicator 4.7, for Windows follow these steps:

1. First, shut down Netscape Navigator.

2. Then find file NMAILMAN.DLL in your Notes folder on your hard drive. It is probably C:\Notes. Copy it to your Netscape program directory which is normally C:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\Program.

3. Next find your PREFS.JS file in your Netscape user directory. It’s probably C:\Program Files\Netscape\User where User is the name of your Netscape profile. To see your profile name, click the Windows Start button. Choose Programs, then Netscape Communicator, then Utilities, then User Profile Manager.

4. Make a backup copy of PREFS.JS before you make any changes to it, so that you can restore it in case you make a mistake in the next step.

5. Now it’s time to do a bit of editing. Open PREFS.JS in a text editor such as Windows Notepad (Start > Programs > Accessories).

6. At the end of PREFS.JS, add the following two lines exactly as transcribed below including all the punctuation.

user_pref(“mail.use_altmail”, true);

user_pref(“mail.altmail_dll”, “nmailman.dll”);

7. Save PREFS.JS and close the text editor.

8. Finally, start Netscape.

To change the default e-mail program in Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, the process is simpler.

1. In Internet Explorer, choose Tools, then Internet Options.

2. Click the Programs tab. Under Internet Programs, choose Lotus Notes from the drop-down list of e-mail programs. Click OK.