How to resolve Hyperlinks are not working in Outlook?

By ivan.diskin | September 23, 2019 |

greater than 13 minutes

In the Microsoft Outlook application, when you click on a link, Windows works to open the webpage in your default web browser – or at least, this is what is supposed to happen. You are probably here because you cannot get Outlook to open hyperlinks or forward them to your web browser. Perhaps, nothing even happens when you click on a link.

If you can’t open links from MS Outlook, then the default association setup (to open a link in the required browser) is probably broken on your computer. Some application probably altered its configuration or settings, or it got modified due to some process or operation.

For example, some users start experiencing issues with hyperlinks in Outlook after they download and install a new browser application. The problem in view might also manifest itself after a plugin becomes integrated with an already installed browser or when an extension makes changes to the computer settings.

Anyway, in this guide, we intend to address almost all issues involving hyperlinks in the Microsoft Outlook application on Windows 10 computers. Your default web browser should be Microsoft Edge – if you did not change the settings.

What if Microsoft Outlook blocks access to URL links?

Microsoft Outlook can (or will) block access to URL links in messages as a security measure against phishing and potential threats. You still retain the power to make changes to enable the links. You can also instruct Microsoft Outlook to stop blocking links in the future, even if the messages they are contained in are suspicious or from unknown senders.

How to enable hyperlinks in Outlook

If links in your messages are not clickable in Outlook, then your current settings are responsible for that. The function used to launch links is probably disabled to protect your computer from phishing threats. If you have legitimate links to open, then it makes sense for you to alter the settings.

As far as we know, Outlook uses two different policies (that correspond to settings) to govern links: One gets applied to links in regular emails, while the other works for links in junk mail.

  1. How to allow links in regular messages in Outlook:

Go through these steps:

  • Assuming you are in the Outlook application and seeing the email, you must check or click on InfoBar at the top of the message.
  • Click on Enable links and other functionality (not recommended). That will be all. Your links should become visible now.
  1. How to allow links in junk mail in Outlook:

First, you have to move the message considered suspicious from the Junk Email folder back to the Inbox. We can only hope you know what you are doing.

Go through these steps:

  • Assuming you are in the Outlook application and seeing the message, you have to check or click on InfoBar at the top of the message.
  • Click on Move to inbox.

After the original message gets restored, the links contained in it might remain disabled. In that case, you have to continue with these steps:

  • Open the restored message in your inbox.
  • Bring up the InforBar options again. This time, you must click on Enable links and other functionality (not recommended). The links will appear now.

You can also turn off the automatic disabling of links function – to ensure links in suspicious messages do not get disabled in the future – but we are against you making that move. To this end, we have opted to leave out the instructions on doing that here.

How to fix Links don’t work in Outlook in Windows 10

At least one of the fixes we are about to describe should resolve the hyperlink issue in Outlook in your case. Ideally, you should go through the solutions in the order they appear and attempt them likewise.

  1. Restore the default file association involving Outlook and Microsoft Edge:

Since we assumed the hyperlink problem is down to the default associated setup being broken, it makes sense for us to begin troubleshooting the problem by restoring the default parameters and options. Microsoft Edge is the default browser that Microsoft wants you to use, after all.

Do this:

  • First, you must close all your web browser applications.

Open the Task Manager app and confirm that no browser tab or process is currently active.

  • Once you are sure that no browser or related program is running, you have to launch the Settings application quickly using this keyboard shortcut: Windows logo button + letter I key.
  • Once the Settings window comes up, you have to click on Apps.
  • On the screen that follows, you must navigate to the left-pane area and then click on Default apps.
  • Now, you must look to the right-pane area of the window and then scroll down a bit to the web browser section.
  • Click on the Reset button – if another browser is currently set as the default.

Windows will now make Microsoft Edge the default browser again.

  • Now, you can close the Settings app and then launch the Outlook application. There, you must test things by clicking on any link to see where it opens.

Hopefully, this time, you get directed to the Microsoft Edge browser and the corresponding webpage opens there.

Assuming the hyperlink setup now works – if your links now open in Microsoft Edge as they are supposed to, then you can make your favorite browser the default browser again – if you do not intend to continue to use Microsoft Edge. In that case, you must continue with the steps below:

  • Open your preferred web browser. Go into its settings menu or configuration pane.
  • Find the option that allows you to make the application your default web browser and use it.
  • Save the changes you just made to your browser configuration or system settings – if this part applies.
  • After you alter the settings to make your preferred browser the default application for links coming from Outlook, you have to open Outlook and confirm that everything is in order.

If the links you click on in Outlook refuse to open in your favorite web browser (after the change), then you have to try out other methods of resolving the issue.

  1. Reset Edge settings (specific fix for users whose favorite web browser is Microsoft Edge):

If you cannot get the links from Outlook to open in the Microsoft Edge application – even if you generally use the Microsoft browser to surf the web – then you might benefit from the changes resulting from the reset operation for the browser. We must warn you of certain things, though.

You will lose your customizations and some personal stuff, which include the following: your startup page (if you use a custom page), new tab page, search engine, pinned tabs, and so on. All your extensions will also be disabled and removed. Temporary data, cookies, and related items will be cleared too. Your favorites, browsing history, password, and similar entries will remain unaffected, though.

Follow these instructions to reset Edge:

  • First, you must launch the Edge application.
  • Once the Edge application window comes up, you have to fill the URL box on it with this code: edge://settings/reset
  • Hit the Enter button on your machine’s keyboard to get Microsoft Edge to run the code.
  • On the window or screen that follows, you have to click on Restore settings to their default values.
  • Once the confirmation popup or dialog shows up, you have to click on the appropriate button to affirm things.

The reset operation will now proceed and reach completion soon.

  • After the reset operation for Microsoft Edge gets executed successfully, you must reattempt the link-opening task that failed earlier in Outlook and see if things go smoothly this time.
  1. Export a registry key from another computer:

The entries for the rules that govern the association setup for hyperlinks in Outlook are stored in the registry and get read from there. Therefore, you can fix inconsistencies or discrepancies with the association setup by making changes to the registry.

You have to get stuff from the registry on another computer – one where hyperlinks open in the Outlook email client without issues. Ideally, the donor PC should be similar to yours. It should be running the same version of Windows 10 you have on your device (at the bare minimum).

Well, here are the instructions you must follow to import certain registry entries or settings from the donating computer to yours:

  • First, you have to open the Registry Editor app on the other computer.

Press the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard to access the Windows Start menu programs and options (or click on the Windows icon on your desktop for the same outcome).

Input Regedit into the text box (that shows up the moment you start typing). Once Registry Editor (App) emerges as the main entry on the results list displayed, you have to click on it to launch the needed program.

  • Assuming you are now on the Registry Editor window, you have to navigate through the directories on this path: Computer \ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Classes \ htmlfile \ shell \ open \ command
  • At this point, you must right-click on the Command folder to see the available context menu. Choose Export.
  • Now, you must save the file with a name you can recall easily somewhere accessible on the computer.
  • Once the file gets saved, you have to find a way to copy or move it to your own PC. You can insert a USB flash into the donating computer, move the file to a location on the flash drive, plug the flash drive into your computer, and then copy the file to a directory on your system.
  • Assuming the file is now on your computer, you have to double-click on it.

Windows will now act to merge the entry involved with the contents of your computer registry.

  • Restart your computer and then test the hyperlinks in Outlook for changes.
  1. Repair the Outlook application; Repair Office:

At this point, if you are yet to resolve the hyperlinks not working issue, then you have to start considering the chances of the problem being down to inconsistencies or discrepancies in Outlook code. Fortunately, you can easily fix things (if those possibilities apply) by repairing the installation for Outlook or Office.

You can repair applications through operations initiated from the Programs and Features screen in the Control Panel or Apps menu in Settings. We intend to outline the instructions for the procedure involving the latter (path).

These instructions cover everything on repairing the Outlook or Office application from Settings:

  • First, you must open the Settings app through this keyboard shortcut: Windows logo button + letter I key.
  • Assuming the Settings window has been brought up, you have to check the menu items and then click on Apps.
  • On the following screen, you must look to the right-pane area, go through the list of installed applications, locate Office, and then click on it to get it highlighted.

The Microsoft Repair window (or a similar wizard) will come up now. You will have to choose an option.

  1. If you go with the Quick Repair option, then Windows will do its best to fix issues as quickly as possible without using your internet connection.
  2. If you choose the Online Repair option, however, then your system will take its time to fix problems while using your internet connection for different processes.
  • Follow the instructions that show up (where applicable).

The repair process for Office corresponds to the repair operation for all the Microsoft applications in the package. In other words, by repairing Office, you are repairing Word, Excel, and other programs. If you want to repair Outlook only, then the instructions below are better suited to your wishes:

  • Press the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard to access Windows Start menu programs and options (or click on the Windows icon on your desktop for the same outcome).
  • Input Outlook into the text box (that appears the moment you start typing) to perform a search task.
  • Once Outlook (App) emerges as the main entry on the results list, you have to right-click on it to see its context menu and then choose App settings.

You will now be directed to the App screen for the selected application in Settings.

  • Scroll down a bit until you see the Repair button, which you must click on to proceed.

Depending on the dialog, wizard, or window that comes up in your case, you might have to click on the appropriate buttons to confirm some prompts, or you might have to select your preferred option from a shortlist.

  • Do whatever you have to do to repair Outlook.

In any case, after you finish repairing the Office or Outlook app – and regardless of the means or procedure you went through to do the job – you have to restart your computer to finish things. Then after the recommended reboot, you can fire up Outlook and then test hyperlinks there to see if they now open up in your web browser as they are supposed to in the first place.

  1. Update Outlook:

If the hyperlink not opening issue has anything to do with bugs or inconsistencies in the Outlook app, then an update to the Outlook app might bring enough changes to make things right. To get Outlook updates, you have to get updates for Office.

Do this:

  • Fire up the Outlook application on your computer. Once the program window comes up, you have to click on the File tab.
  • Now, from the options listed close to the left-pane area of the window, you have to click on Office account.
  • On the area close to the right pane, you have to click on Update options. From the list that shows up, you have to click on Update Now.

Outlook will now contact Microsoft servers to see if there are any updates. Updates (if found) will be downloaded and installed automatically.

  • We recommend you restart your computer after the updates get installed. Run Outlook and confirm that the links in your email client now open in your web browser.
  1. Fix certain registry keys by running commands:

Some users managed to resolve the hyperlinks not opening in Outlook issue by running some commands to fix the .htm, .shtml, .xht, and .xhtml registry keys. You too might experience success with the same operation.

Follow these instructions:

  • First, you have to launch an elevated Command Prompt window.
  • Press the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard to access the Windows Start menu programs and options (or click on the Windows icon on your desktop for the same result).
  • Input Command Prompt into the text field (that shows up the moment you begin to type).
  • Once Command Prompt (App) shows up as the main entry on the results list returned, you have to right-click on it to see the available context menu and choose the Run as administrator option.
  • Assuming the Administrator: Command Prompt program window has been brought up, you must proceed to execute these commands by typing them in first and then hitting Enter on your machine (one line of code at a time, one after the other):
  1. REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.htm /ve /d htmlfile /f
  2. REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.html /ve /d htmlfile /f
  3. REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.shtml /ve /d htmlfile /f
  4. REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.xht /ve /d htmlfile /f
  5. REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.xhtml /ve /d htmlfile /f
  • Once you are done with the execution operation for the final code, you must close the Command Prompt window and then restart your computer for the changes to become effective.
  • After the reboot, you must reattempt the hyperlink-related tasks which failed earlier in the Outlook application and see how things work out now.
  1. Reregister some DLL files:

You can try to reregister some DLL files to fix the broken associated setup involving hyperlinks. If the hyperlinks from Outlook failing to open in the required web browser issue has anything to do with inconsistencies affecting DLL files, then the procedure here will prove to be the ideal fix.

Here are the instructions you must follow:

  • First, you have to bring up the Run app. You can use this keyboard shortcut to launch the program quickly: Windows logo button + letter R.
  • To reregister a DLL component, you must fill the text field with Regsvr32 followed by the name of the file. For example, you must begin with this code for the first DLL item (to reregister it): Regsvr32 Shell32.dll
  • Click on the OK button on the Run window to get Windows to run the code (or hit Enter on your machine’s keyboard for the same result).
  • Once the execution operation for the first code (to reregister the Shell32.dll file) goes well, you have to run other codes to reregister other DLL files:
  1. regsvr32 Shdocvw.dll (your computer might use Shdoc401.dll instead)
  2. regsvr32 Oleaut32.dll
  3. regsvr32 Actxprxy.dll
  4. regsvr32 Mshtml.dll
  5. regsvr32 Urlmon.dll
  6. regsvr32 Shell32.dll
  • Well, after you run the last code, you can close the Run window and restart your computer.
  • As usual, after the recommended reboot, you have to test hyperlinks in Outlook to confirm that the problems have been resolved.
  1. Make Internet Explorer (IE) your default browser:

Even with the introduction of Microsoft Edge as a modern replacement for Internet Explorer, the latter is still somewhat integrated with Windows, and it is considerably different from other mainstream browsers. If you cannot get Outlook to open hyperlinks launched on its platform in your favorite web browser, then you might benefit from setting Internet Explorer as your default browser.

Follow these instructions to make IE your default web browser:

  • Press the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard to access Windows Start menu programs and options (or click on the Windows icon on your desktop for the same result).
  • Input Internet Options into the text field (that shows up the moment you begin to type).
  • Once Internet Options (Control Panel) shows up as the main entry on the results list returned, you have to click on it.

The Internet Options window will be displayed now.

  • Click on the Programs tab to go there. Click on Make Internet Explorer the default browser.

You will be directed to the Default Apps screen in the Settings application now.

  • Scroll down a bit until you see the Web browser section. Click on whatever app you have there currently as your default browser.
  • From the list under the Choose an app menu, you have to select Internet Explorer and that should be all.
  • Restart Outlook and then try to open a hyperlink to see if the corresponding webpage opens in an Internet Explorer window.

Other things you can try to resolve the hyperlinks not working issue in Outlook

  1. Reset your web browser (if you use Chrome or Mozilla Firefox).
  1. Download and run Microsoft’s Fix It For Me tool to resolve the problem.
  1. Reset Internet Explorer settings and then make IE your default browser.
  1. Reinstall your favorite web browser (Chrome or Firefox).
  1. Check the HTTP file association and then make the appropriate changes to its configuration.
  1. Verify that there are no issues with the mail server.
  1. Uninstall Microsoft Office, scrape off all components or entries associated with it by downloading and running the tool provided by Microsoft, and then reinstall it.
  1. Use System Restore to make things right.

TIP:

Given the number of procedures described in this guide where some work is done on the registry, you might benefit from using a superb utility like Registry Cleaner Pro to clean up the entries there. In fact, since almost all the fixes here work by bringing some form of changes to your computer settings, the recommended application is likely to help you in many ways.

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