Make chrome/chromium to open thunderbird from mailto:

Many users are having issues with opening Thunderbird from chrome/chromium. You probably see a new chromium window getting opened when pushing a link like:


We will use a simple but powerful way to get this working.

This hack works by changing the code for xdg-mail to consider unrecognized desktops as gnome and by setting gnomes email handler to thunderbird.


Open terminal and write this:

mkdir -p ~/.gconf/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/mailto
gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/mailto/command -t string 'thunderbird %s'
gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/mailto/enabled -t bool true
sudo sed 's/open_generic "${mailto}"/open_gnome "${mailto}"/' -i /usr/bin/xdg-email


Done, it will now work for you. For Foresight users, here is some more tips to revert it too. In an easy way.


This will change xde-email file. If it will break in the future. You can always run:

sudo conary repair xdg-utils

It will go back to default and the changes you made, won’t be there anymore. That’s the beauty in Foresight Linux.

It can look like this:

[tforsman@localhost ~]$ sudo conary verify xdg-utils
Update  xdg-utils (/[~!builddocs] -> /[~!builddocs])
Update  xdg-utils:runtime (/[~!builddocs] -> /[~!builddocs])
   Mod -rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root        19323 2011-05-03 21:07:59 UTC /usr/bin/xdg-email
  --->                                      19321 2012-10-28 20:19:35 UTC 

[tforsman@localhost ~]$ sudo conary repair xdg-utils

[tforsman@localhost ~]$ sudo conary verify xdg-utils
[tforsman@localhost ~]$


This works perectly in Lxde environment.



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  • Mauricio

    Hi tforsman, I had the same problem, but I use Windows, do you have any idea how to launch it from windows?

    I appreciate your time.


    • tforsman

      im sorry, was a few years ago I used windows. So I have no clue for windows users.

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