I'm unable to make Thunderbird open the default browser.

In the browser preferences, Chromium is selected as the default browser. It's also selected in "Default Applications" in System Settings.

In Thunderbird, I read "Chrome (Default)" which is wrong on all levels:

  1. Chrome itself complains that it's not the default browser when I click a link inside Thunderbird.

  2. In all other places, that I could find, Chromium is the default

Here is what I tried:

  1. I used update-alternatives --config x-www-browser to select chromium-browser as well (see How do I change the default browser?).

  2. And even when I select a different browser from the list in the Thunderbird preferences, it still opens Chrome.

My current solution is to create a link from /usr/bin/google-chrome to chromium-browser.

How can I force Thunderbird to use the browser I want???

EDIT I also updated gnome-www-browser (update-alternatives --config gnome-www-browser) after feedback from roadmr but that didn't help. At least sensible-browser opens Chromium, now, but Thunderbird is stubborn.


I found the last step missing. You have to go to Edit->Preferences->Advanced->Config Editor and change options

  • network.protocol-handler.warn-external.http
  • network.protocol-handler.warn-external.https

to user-defined. Next time when you open a link it will ask you about which browser do you want, and then type /usr/bin/x-www-browser.

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    As I said in my question, I already changed the preferences you mentioned but this had no effect. For some reason, Thunderbird ignores those settings :-( – Aaron Digulla Jun 8 '12 at 17:58
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    That was the only option that worked for me. Placing the network.protocol-handler.app.http doesnt do anything. You essentially have to ask it to prompt it for you when you open a link... :S – bruno.braga Apr 28 '13 at 23:42
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    Weird, but this actually does work. You'll want to mention the fact that these two entries are actually booleans and that you'll want to toggle them to True. – Raceimaztion Jun 4 '13 at 9:30

I encountered a somewhat similar problem on Kubuntu 12.04 after installing Chrome. While T-bird continued to open http-protocol links in Firefox, it suddenly began opening https links in Chrome.

Going to Edit-Preferences-Attachments I found the entry for the Content Type http set to firefox, but there was no entry for https.

Using the information I found here, I modified the about:config file for T-bird, with the Config Editor, (found in Edit-Preferences-Advanced-General) to have the network.protocol-handler.warn-external.https use the boolean value of True, thus enabling a user-set value. Upon returning to Edit-Preferences-Attachments I then found an entry for https content and was able to set it to firefox. I found in unnecessary, in my case, to modify network.protocol-handler.warn-external.http

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Works in Arch Linux, and may work in Ubuntu:

  1. (following the answer given here of @Aaron Digulla & @tonicebrian)
    1. search for network.protocol-handler.warn-external.http in about:config
    2. toggle both the http and https to true
  2. (following the suggestion of Raman Gupta on Kevin Locke's Homepage) when later prompted for your choice of browser, navigate to /usr/bin/xdg-open which "will force Thunderbird to use the XDG MIME action (the desktop manager’s default)".
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  • Thanks! Only this one worked on Debian Jessie with Xfce 4.10 and Icedove. – rwx May 17 '16 at 13:08

I also had the same issue. And the "network.protocol-handler.warn-external.http" change did not work for me.

After some Googling i found the setting in the thunderbird preferences > Attachments > incoming.

There i changed the http and the https to the browser of my desire. And it works now.

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  • Please do not repost answers to multiple questions. If a question is solved by the same answer, then please mark those questions as duplicates instead. – Thomas Ward Dec 25 '16 at 16:04

A stab in the dark: did you use the update-alternatives procedure to update gnome-www-browser?

update-alternatives --config gnome-www-browser
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  • Took me a moment to see the difference (gnome-www-browser instead of x-www-browser) but no game. At least sensible-browser now opens chromium, too. What worries me is that Thunderbird ignores its own preferences :-( – Aaron Digulla Mar 26 '12 at 10:15

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