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spaces web access as default windows client

Spaces eventually will use native libraries to insert hooks into Windows and other OSes so that it can function as the default email client on a system. For the moment, though there's an alternative.

John Rubier posted to the spaces dev list this tip for making spaces web access the default mailto: handler. Here are his instructions:

To use Spaces as the default mailto: handler, we can use the Spaces Web Access feature. (I've modified his instructions to account for the VBS script being downloaded).


  • Download the file mailto.vbs into the Spaces directory. (If you use IE, to avoid it from running the script from the browser use Shift-click to request a Save As dialog).
  • In the registry go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\mailto\shell\open\command
  • Make a copy of the contents of the "(Default)" value just in case you want to put it back the way it was (make a new value called "original" and copy/paste the "default" string into it.
  • Edit the contents of the "(Default)" string to be (include the quotes (") as-is)

    "c:\winnt\system32\wscript.exe" "d:\java\spaces\mailto.vbs" "%1"

    Of course, substitute the appropriate paths for your system. You don't really need the quotes (") around the paths if there are no spaces/special chars in the paths but the "%1" should stay as-is. You can also use cscript.exe instead of wscript.exe but you'll see an ugly DOS box flash on the screen every time the script runs.

  • Edit the URL in the script to match your Spaces Web Access setup only if it's not localhost:80 (the default).
You're good to go.


  • Any subject and body parameters are parsed and passed but only the to, cc, and bcc fields will be filled out. Unfortunately, the Spaces web form doesn't take body or subject parameters at this time.
  • Spaces must be already running.
  • Web Access must be enabled.
  • Watch that when you copy/paste the script that lines don't get wrapped.
  • No warranty, expressed or implied on the script!
  • Not guaranteed to handle all permutations of RFC2368.
Also, It should be possible to restore the old mailto: handler by going to Control Panel/Internet Properties/Programs tab and selecting the email program you want to use. This is a temporary solution, but useful if you want to connect IE to spaces alpha 1.8. Of course, be really careful and be sure to know what you're doing, since editing the Windows Registry might create problems. So use at your own risk. As John said, this code and instructions are provided "as is", with no warranty expressed or implied!.

Anyway, thanks John!

Categories: clevercactus
Posted by diego on March 3, 2003 at 10:17 PM

linux and windows

An article on the new versions of Linux designed for low-end computers, from Lindows and Lycoris. I can't really make up my mind about these new products. On one hand, giving Microsoft some competition is good. On the other, the focus on just creating an inexpensive Windows clone feels wrong. Linux provides a good base to start making things easier for users, for example by doing a proper UI on command-line tools like apropos and, specially locate. The much-discussed search capabilities of the next version of Windows would be covered in large part by doing a deep integration of locate into the Gnome or KDE windows managers. Then users wouldn't have to worry about their filesystem. Just providing an alternative is not enough, we should be trying to fix the problems that we have long complained about, and make software easy to use and predictable for once.

I just realized that I had written a long entry on Apple and Microsoft, commenting on their (apparent) future plans and now it doesn't seem to be there. I have no idea what I did with it. Guess I'll have to rewrite it! Would have been good to have it to link from this entry though.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on March 3, 2003 at 12:00 PM

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