Pop Quiz Solution: Making a PowerPoint mailto link generate only one message

TechRepublic passport owner <B>Ren&#233;e Atkinson</B> submitted the topic for this quiz, and we awarded a $25 Fatbrain gift certificate to one lucky reader who submitted the correct solution.

Thanks to TechRepublic passport owner Ren�e Atkinson for submitting the topic for this week’s pop quiz. Several TechRepublic readers submitted the correct solution, so we put those names in a hat and selected one name at random. Our congratulations and a $25 gift certificate to Fatbrain go to TechRepublic passport owner Frank Dixon.

The situation:
Here’s the problem Ren�e described: “I send out PowerPoint presentations advertising upcoming classes we offer. I have a hyperlink to "mailto:” and the person they need to e-mail in order to register for the class. When the customer clicks on this hyperlink, not one, but two "send to" e-mail documents open up.”

“The customer always has to click the close box to get rid of the extra one message. And sometimes it will leave the enveloped "untitled message" button on their taskbar. Does anyone know how to stop this?! So many of our users are novices that this really confuses them. By the way, we are using Office 97 and WinNT 4.0.”

The challenge:
Why does clicking the mailto link generate two e-mail messages? How do you fix this behavior?

The solution:
Many of you suggested that the users were double-clicking instead of single-clicking on the mailto link, but that wasn’t the case. Single-clicking also generated the duplicate e-mail message.

To keep the mailto link from opening two e-mail messages, you must delete the CLSID registry entry from the mailto subkey. (By the way, this change must be made on every computer that’s running the PowerPoint slide show.)

To remove the CLSID entry from the Mailto registry subkey, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Type regedit and then click OK.
  3. In the left pane of the Registry Editor, locate and click to select the following registry subkey (folder): HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Protocols\Handler\Mailto.
  4. In the right pane of the Registry Editor, click to select the CLSID entry as shown in Figure A.
  5. Press [Delete] or select delete from the Registry Editor’s Edit menu.
  6. Close the Registry Editor.

Figure A
Here’s what the Registry Editor looks like after I located and selected the CLSID entry.

As Frank pointed out in his e-mail, using the Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. So be careful using Registry Editor, and do so at your own risk.
This change affects Word as well
I was able to duplicate the problem on my system (Windows 98, Office 97). I created a sample mailto link in a PowerPoint slide, ran the slide show, and clicked on the link. Sure enough, I got two e-mail messages instead of one.

I deleted the CLSID key using the instructions listed above and re-ran the PowerPoint slide show (without rebooting my system). This time, when I clicked the mailto link, only one new message appeared.

Here’s good news for those of you who wrote, complaining that mailto links in Word also generated two e-mail messages. When you make this change to the registry, it fixes that behavior in Word, too!
To share your thoughts about this quiz solution, please post a comment below. If you’d like to suggest a topic for our pop quiz, please send me a note . If we use your suggestion, we’ll send you a TechRepublic T-shirt.

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