I basically did a stupid as I was having issues with getting mailto links working in chrome...
So what I did was set google-chrome as a preferred application for handling mail, which backfired and exploded in my face...

Now I seem to be stuck with my mistake as I can't seem to undo my changes:
^ what I want is the blank box as I don't have anything installed to manage mail...
I have a chrome extension that does that for me.


The Preferred Applications app creates desktop launchers in ~/.local/share/xfce4/helpers for each associate category that has an assigned application.

Removing those launchers unassigns the applications for those categories, thus clearing the associated app.

| improve this answer | |
  • Just to note, I want to give credit to @Legolas, as he posted a link in a removed post to wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Default_applications#XDG_standard which helped me track down the location the launchers were created in. – Tcll Dec 4 '17 at 12:32
  • hmm. I only have chromium-browser.desktop there no matter what I change in Preferred Applications. (Xubuntu 18.04) – jarno Sep 19 '19 at 14:11

You can set your default mail app from the command line using:

sudo update-alternatives --config mail

Once prompted, enter the number of the program you wish to handle mail and hit enter.

| improve this answer | |
  • That returns update-alternatives: error: no alternatives for mail, like I said in the question, I have nothing installed, however this is a nice trick for those who do have stuff installed and don't like GUIs, but the Preferred Applications app in the question would work there as well. – Tcll Dec 9 '17 at 12:06
  • To add, another reason this wouldn't work is because of the cause, since I'm using chrome on Xubuntu (evident via the xfce preferred applications app), chrome defaults to the app's location from some config somewhere I don't want to get into, where update-alternatives I believe operates on an apt backend. If I uninstalled the xfce4 preferred applications app, this would likely work then. – Tcll Dec 9 '17 at 12:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.