When I click on a link to an email address in Firefox or Google Chrome a "Welcome to Evolution" screen appears. Can I make Gmail open instead, or at the very least disable Evolution from running?


10 Answers 10


You might want to take a look at an application called desktop-webmail Install desktop-webmail

It can be installed by clicking on the little icon next to the link or simply by executing following command:

sudo apt-get install desktop-webmail

Then go to "Applications > Internet > Desktop Webmail" and set your web email service. Finally go to "System > Preferences > Preferred Applications" and under "Mail Reader" set Desktop Webmail as your choice.

Desktop webmail supports following services: Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and Zoho

This could be a solution for other people as well that use other webmail providers.

Hope it helps :)

  • Does that work in Unity because I still have only Evolution & Thunderbird under Preferred Applications!! May 3 '11 at 8:26
  • Yes, I believe this post is out of date. It doesn't work for me in Unity either. May 4 '11 at 21:14
  • I can also verify that this no longer works in 11.04
    – grm
    May 4 '11 at 21:54
  • also doesn't work for me in 11.04 :(
    – wim
    Aug 30 '11 at 5:33
  • As two other answers point out, there are options in Chrome and Firefox for doing this. So no need to install some program. Apr 13 '12 at 4:39

Oddly, I couldn't find a simple way to do this in Lucid, so I wrote one:

cat ~/bin/mailto
# mailto: a handler for mailto:user@example.com pseudo-uris

case $1 in
    mailto:*)   addr=`echo $1 | sed 's/^mailto://'` ;;
    *)          addr=$1 ;;


# xdg-open suggestion courtesy of andrewsomething@askubuntu
exec xdg-open $url

Followed by a simple change in System ➤ Preferences ➤ Preferred Applications:

It has worked so well that I forgot I even had to write it until this question was asked.

  • 1
    Very simple and elegant solution. You may want to consider expanding the script, packaging it, and offering it as an alternative software solution!
    – Marco Ceppi
    Oct 11 '10 at 5:11
  • 1
    @Marco: Good idea. If someone wanted to generalize it so that the browser isn't hardcoded, gconftool-2 --get /desktop/gnome/applications/browser/exec returns the default browser. Oct 11 '10 at 5:25
  • 2
    Err... Better yet, just use xdg-open Oct 11 '10 at 5:26
  • 1
    @andrewsomething: fixed and tested, thanks. One of my maxims is "a line of code that doesn't exist has no bugs"; you just reduced my possible defects by 9% ;)
    – msw
    Oct 11 '10 at 5:43
  • +1 for versatility. I may end up using this later on.
    – ændrük
    Oct 11 '10 at 16:49

In Firefox:

Go to Edit -> Preferences -> Applications

Select "mailto" in the "Content Type" list. Select "Use Gmail" in the Action list.


If you are using Chrome, the Better Gmail extension will handle mailto links. It also tweaks a few other things about Gmail, but you can turn the rest off on the options page if you like.

A few other options that the extension provides are:

  • Hide Invite Friends Field.

  • Show Attachment Icons.-

  • Adds Row Highlight On Mouse Over.-

  • Unread Count in Favicon.-

  • the link doesn't work.
    – wim
    Aug 30 '11 at 5:38
  • Updated with fixed link Aug 30 '11 at 16:05

In Chromium (and I assume Google Chrome as well) 17, it now gives you the option to use gmail as your email client:

enter image description here

And after clicking the "Use Gmail" button:

enter image description here

And it works!


GNOME Gmail will set itself as the preferred application, and also supports attachments (Send File... in Nautilus or LibreOffice). Install the gnome-gmail package.


For Firefox confer to this article on lifehacker:

  1. Open Gmail in Firefox.
    1. In the tab where Gmail is loaded, copy and paste the following snippet of JavaScript into your address bar:

    2. If you are a Google Apps user, use this code instead, but replace example.com with your domain name:

  2. Firefox 3 will ask permission to add Gmail as default mailto handler. Click the Add Application button, as shown.

  • This is completely unnecessary. As pointed out in this other answer posted at nearly the same time as yours, there is a Firefox preference now. Apr 13 '12 at 4:35

Desktop Webmail (package desktop-webmail in the default repositories) should solve the problem.

Desktop Webmail


HI Go to Firefox preferences and click on the Applications icon. scroll down the list to the mailto line and click on the right side of the table to display a drop-down menu. Select the program you wish to use. Cheers


An easy way to do this is to edit your mimeapps.list to make your preferred browser your default email client, then setting up your browser to use your preferred webmail service as the default handler for mailto: links.

Here's how I did it, using Inbox by Gmail as my webmail service and Chrome as my default browser.

  1. Edit ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list to include this line:


  2. Then in Chrome > Settings > Content Settings > Handlers I selected Inbox as my default email handler.

Chrome Protocol Handlers

This works very smoothly even for links from my desktop apps, though it unfortunately doesn't handle attachments.

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