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When you click a Web address in a document in a non-browser program such as an e-mail program, Internet Explorer may not start, and you may receive the following error message:

Cannot find program.exe needed for opening files of type URL:hypertext transfer protocol

This issue can occur for either of the following reasons:

  • The "URL:hypertext transfer protocol" file association is no longer associated with Internet Explorer.
  • You previously used a third-party Internet browser as your default browser and then uninstalled the program without setting Internet Explorer to check to see if it is the default browser program.

To resolve this behavior, use the appropriate method:

Edit the File Association

Edit the "URL:hypertext transfer protocol" file association to associate this type of file with Internet Explorer:
  1. Double-click My Computer on the desktop.

  2. On the View menu, click Folder Options (or Options).

  3. Click the File Types tab, click URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol in the Registered File Types box, and then click Edit.

  4. In the Actions box, click Open, and then click Edit.

  5. Click Browse, navigate to the \Program Files\Internet Explorer folder, click the Iexplore.exe file, click Open, click OK, click Close, and then click Close.

NOTE: You may also need to repeat these steps for the following file associations:
  • URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol with Privacy
  • URL:File Transfer Protocol
  • URL:Gopher Protocol

Set Internet Explorer to Be the Default Browser

Set Internet Explorer to check whether it is the default browser:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Internet.

  2. Click the Programs tab, and then click to select the Internet Explorer should check whether it is the default browser check box.

  3. Click Apply, and then click OK. Start Internet Explorer, and then click OK when you are prompted to make Internet Explorer the default browser.


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