Lotus Notes and URLs not Opening in the Default OS Browser

03152015 UPDATE #1: I changed employers a few times since I wrote this post. In the interim I was unable to test any recommendations or investigate suggestions or help troubleshoot issues. I am back to a Notes client to use the corporate email system. I won’t promise I can help, but I am in a better place to do so if I can.
03152015 UPDATE #2: I’m embarrassed by the spelling and grammatical mistakes in the original post. I think I corrected them all.
03152015 UPDATE #3: It’s now IBM Notes.
I have Google Chrome installed on my work laptop. I have to install it as a few things don’t work properly in Internet Explorer 9 (IE) yet.
Somewhere along the way Chrome became my Windows 7 installation’s default browser. I didn’t want that. I changed the Windows 7 default browser in “Default Programs” back to IE. The trouble was that one application, Lotus Notes 8.5.2, wouldn’t open IE by default after changing back. I needed links in Notes opened by IE by default. Yet Notes wouldn’t let go of Chrome for some reason.
One might and should question “Default Programs”‘s utility in Windows 7, but that’s a topic for another time.
I reflected on this state of affairs. It could be a philosophical commercial stand by IBM against Microsoft. It’s not. They have better things to do.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Hanlon’s Razor

… or a lack of attention to detail based on assumptions.

Jorgensen’s Corollary
The error is mostly likely due to poor assumptions by both Google Chrome and Lotus (now IBM) Notes that point to Windows 7 Registry entries that aren’t updated when the default browser changes. It took me a long time to find the answer, but find it I did.
IBM described it here. In short, you need to:

Manually modify the following registry keys to remove Chrome and point it to iexplore.exe:


… and from there you’re all set. If you want to change your browser to Firefox or back to Chrome I imagine you’ll have to edit those entries again with the relative values. When I edited my registry (and you will make backups when you edit your registry, won’t you?) only two of the four entries required changing.

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About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.

0 thoughts on “Lotus Notes and URLs not Opening in the Default OS Browser

  1. Hello,
    Just wanted to thank you for this post!
    I have been looking for a solution for this for some time.
    I am assuming this is something bad with Microsoft not updating the registry keys properly?
    Thanks again!

  2. Thank you a lot for this post, this was exactly the problem that i have, and the solution works fine, just one comment, you must put the all path for the browser (i.e. c:program filesinternet exploreriexplore.exe)
    Once again, thank you a lot.

  3. Hi, can someone tell me which OS this regedit is based on? I searched the reg in Win 7 Pro and Enterprise and I could not find those reg links anywhere.

    • James,
      The fix worked for me in all versions of Windows 7. If you have Notes installed you should have those keys, but if not maybe manually creating them will help?
      Let me know how it goes!

    • Hi,
      I performed this registry edit under Windows 7 Pro and the keys were there.
      Just double check your path and make sure you are under the right key.
      Sometimes navigating the registry can be tricky.
      If you are sure you have the right path you could always try creating the missing keys yourself. Just do so in a test environment first in case it causes more serious issues.

  4. Hi, can someone tell me which OS this regedit is based on? I searched the reg in Win 7 Pro and Enterprise and I could not find those reg links anywhere.
    (Sorry, had to repost as my email addy had a typo in it)

  5. Checked my regedit multiple times and cannot find the keys referenced in this post. Noticed that IBM has closed the APAR as programming error so there is no additional feedback

    • Vince,
      I don’t have access to Notes anymore so I can’t help directly. I would try searching the registry for any instances of chrome.exe maybe?
      Let me know how it works out.

    • Hey,
      The keys exist still in my system as well as new machines that I have setup.
      If anyone is interested I could potentially export the keys and then you could import them into a test system and just seen what happens. You would of course have to edit the keys under the HKCU to reflect the username you want to edit these keys for.

  6. Genius!, thanks for the tip, it was driving me crazy. I’m using Windows 7 professional and the registry keys are there. Interestingly enough, when I changed the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT entries, the current user’s changed as well. I did not realise this would happen. I agree with Well, Lotus Notes, why does it still exist? Cheers!

    • GDiaz,
      I’m glad it helped you. And its interesting about HKCR change impacting current users. Would you please provide more information in detail? Others might find it useful.

  7. Thank you very much for this post, Paul! This worked like a charm!
    I spent waaaayyyyy too much time screwing around with Notes trying to figure this out and I doubt I ever would have gotten this straightened out had it not been for your more effective sluething!
    Well done, sir!
    Thanks again,
    P.S. This once again proves that the levels of suckiness attained by Notes are beyond comprehension!

  8. Thankyou so much for this help, it is going to save me a lot of time and effort.
    The instructions you give could possibly be a little more in depth for those that are slightly not as technical. An example of what the registry edit key should be would be helpful
    But apart from that, well done.

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