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Making GroupWise your Default Internet Email

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Massimo Rosen

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Posted: 21 Feb 2001

Current Version: GroupWise 5.5 EP

One of our recurring themes in the mail is how to make it so that when you try to send an e-mail from within your Web browser, it will be smart enough to open a proper GroupWise message, instead of one of those other odd ducks like Juno or Outlook Express. As we've said before, it's very easy to do in IE5, but not quite so easy in Netscape. Here is an excellent discussion of how to do it in both of those popular web browsers, from sysop Massimo Rosen, author of many great answers in the GroupWise Support Forums.

From time to time there are questions regarding GroupWise 5.5 browser integration. Here's what I've found in my research.

Internet Explorer 5 (IE5)

GroupWise 5.5.2 integration in IE5 is almost no problem. If your GW client installed correctly, you should be able to select GroupWise in Settings > Control Panel > Internet Options > Programs.

If not, you require some registry keys. I included them for convenience:



[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Protocols]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Protocols\Mailto]
@="URL:Mailto Protocol"
"URL Protocol"=""

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Protocols\Mailto\DefaultIcon]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Protocols\Mailto\Shell]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Protocols\Mailto\Shell\Open]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Protocols\Mailto\Shell\Open\Command]
@="C:\\novell\\GroupWise\\\\grpwise.exe /ddeex /bl"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Protocols\Mailto\Shell\Open\ddeexec]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Protocols\Mailto\ Shell\Open\ddeexec\Application]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Protocols\Mailto\Shell\Open\ddeexec\Topic]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Shell]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Shell\Open]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ Clients\Mail\GroupWise\Shell\Open\Command]
@="C:\\novell\\GroupWise\\\\grpwise.exe /bl"

This should make it possible for you to select GroupWise as your default Mail client in IE5. Be sure to specify your correct path to your grpwise.exe in the above .reg file!


Another option is to use the Browser Default Mail Program C3PO. It only works with IE, but it's pretty slick. You can download it from the Downloadable Odds and Ends page under the heading Make GroupWise Your Browser's Default Mail Program.

Netscape Communicator

In my experience, TID 10011986 is not quite correct, nor is the given link to Netscape's help:

Both state that MAPI integration won't work with Communicator, but only with standalone navigator. That's incorrect. Here's what it says in the TID.

What the TID Says

Steps Outlined in TID 10011986

How can Netscape be configured to bring up GroupWise 5.x instead of its own mail program?

This feature is not setup nor configured by Novell's GroupWise 5.x products. It can be configured by following Netscape Article #980630-3 found in their knowledge base on the web (currently at The MAPI standard makes this possible.

Stand-alone Navigator 4.03 and higher (the current stand alone Navigator is 4.08) ships with a navmapi32.dll. This DLL allows use of MAPI compliant 3rd party mail (ie, Exchange, Eudora). The navmapi32.dll is located in c:\program files\netscape\program directory.

To enable third-party client functionality for the MAPI client, you must configure the Netscape Navigator preferences file, prefs.js, which is in the c:\program files\netscape\users\username directory.

In this file, you set four preferences. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the prefs.js file in a text editor. Add the following entries to the end of the file:
    • user_pref("mail.use_altmail", true);
    • user_pref("mail.altmail_dll", "navmapi32.dll");
    • user_pref("","YOUR_POP_SERVER_NAME");
    • user_pref("", "YOUR_SMTP_SERVER_NAME");

The NAVMAPI32.DLL is provided by Netscape and would have to be obtained from Netscape or some other source found on the Internet. This procedure ONLY works with the stand alone Navigator, it does not work with Netscape Communicator.

NOTE: If you receive the error: "The form required to view this message cannot be displayed, contact your administrator." When trying to perform a File | Send Page. The cause is likely a corrupted or missing frmcache.dat file. This is found in the Windows\Forms folder. To fix this rename the frmcache.dat file and then run mlset32.exe. This has been found to fix that particular error.

How I Did It

  1. Search the Internet for navMAPI32.dll. There are some sites where you can download it.
  2. Follow the instructions given in above links, with the following corrections:
    1. You don't need the two lines:

      user_pref("", "YOUR_SMTP_SERVER_NAME");
      to get MAPI working. Forget them.
    2. Copy navMAPI32.dll to your windows\system directory, not to Netscape's program dir. Otherwise you will end up with a error message regarding not found postal.dll.


  1. After integrating MAPI (as such GroupWise) in Netscape, you won't be able to post to newsgroups anymore. You can read news fine, but if you try to post, it will open GroupWise. I got around that with a new navigator profile.
  2. Massimo's Update: Turns out that's not correct. You can still use news with some additional entries to prefs.js. Check out these AppNotes from Anders Gustafsson for details.

  3. It will always bring up the MAPI profiles dialog.
  4. It sometimes takes up to a minute, before GroupWise presents you the new message.
  5. Of course, your MAPI installation has to work perfectly before you try that. But that's a different topic.

Tested with GroupWise Client 5.5.2 (German), Netscape Communicator 4.7 (english), IE 5 on W98se (both German). BTW: Both solutions work perfectly, including recipient's address and even subject!


Frank Bulk

I have a way to remove the news problem. I have this perfected to an art, and it has worked in all versions of Netscape (I have not tried version 6.0, yet).

First step, change the preference in Netscape. Use Edit,Preferences, Mail & Newsgroups, and uncheck the bottom MAPI entry.

If you are having difficulty after un-checking the MAPI thing in Netscape, follow these additional instructions:

Here's a step-by-step how it works:

  1. Put these following lines in your prefs.js file, found in one of the Netscape directories (make sure you are not running Netscape when you edit it):

    user_pref("mail.use_altmail_for_news", false);
    user_pref("mail.use_altmail", true);
    user_pref("mail.altmail_dll", "navmapi32.dll");

    The first line makes Netscape's news reader continue to use Netscape Messenger (you can't use GW at this time to send news messages).
    The second line says "yes", I want to use an alternate mailer.
    The third line gives the dll that does the work.

  2. Put the navmapi32.dll in the C:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\Program\ (or wherever that Program directory is).
  3. Run mlset32.exe, which is found in C:\Program Files\Windows Messaging\mlset32.exe. This re-sets some information, some .dat files I believe.

You should be all set. Whenever a user clicks on a mailto:, GW will grind and groan to startup. You will be prompted to choose a MAPI profile (I only have one, which is Novell Default Profile; you may have more, but choose the one that contains the GroupWise services; I have no way to eliminate this choosing step), select it, and GW will grind and groan some more, and then a New Message window will come up.

If you have any questions you may contact Frank at

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