Broken Web Links Inside eMails


During the January 20, 2014, Computer Owners’ Forum meeting, someone asked a question
about a problem with nonworking web links received inside an email.  This document
explains solutions to the problem and gives some background on how email web links work.


Answering the above question requires an understanding of how email software processes
a web link.  Clicking on the web link starts a two-step process as follows:

1)    The email software passes the link to the operating system.  This process will not occur
if the email system is in “Forward” or “Reply” edit mode.

2)    The operating system is responsible for displaying the requested web page.  Any problem
with the web page display is an error within the operating system or a programming error
within the web page.  How can you tell the difference?  Can you see your web browser?
Do you normally use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or other?

a)     Before we look for errors let us find out the name of your default web browser.

i)       Left click on the “Start” button.

ii)    In the search box, (or “Run” box if you are using “Windows XP”), type the following:
     “”       (without the quotes) and press the Enter key
     (Do not add the “HTTP://” command)

iii)  The name of the browser will appear in the top left corner of the screen if you are
running in Classic mode.  If not, the name will appear under the “Help”, “About”

iv)  Now let us test a link we know is good.  Click on the following test link. - - - Can you see it?

v)    Now let us test a link we know is bad.  Click on the following test link.
     Can you see the error message?  Note the file ends in “.htQ” not “.htm”.

vi)  What do you do if there is no default browser display?  Let us assume you want
Internet Explorer to be the default browser.  To create your default browser
do the following (these steps are approximately the same for Firefox):

(1)  Left click on the “start” button.

(2)  In the search box, (or “Run” box if you are using “Windows XP”),
          type the following:
          “internet explorer” - - - - (without the quotes) and press the Enter key

(3)  After Internet explorer appears, left click on “Tools” in the top menu bar.

(4)  Left click on “Internet options”.

(5)  Left click on the “Programs” tab.

(6)  In the “Default web browser” section, left click on the “Make default” button.

(7)  Left click on “OK”.

(8)  Exit Internet Explorer.

(9)  Repeat section “2)” above to check the default browser.

b)    If your web browser appears after testing above then the operating system is fine.
Try clicking on the nonworking email link again.

i)       If the web page displays OK then you are done.

ii)    If not, look at the email link.  Is the link underlined and highlighted in blue?

(1) To work correctly, the link must be underlined and highlighted in blue.  If
not, copy and paste the link into the browser.

(2) If the person who sends the email hand types the link incorrectly instead of
inserting the link then the link will never work as designed.