All this while I’ve been using The Bat! as my email client to download and check all my emails. I noticed that whenever I click on any hyperlink or URL in the email message, I will get an error message that says it couldn’t find the file specified. But weirdly in a few seconds, my default browser (Firefox) opens and loads the website. It works, except that I must click see the annoying error message and click the OK button. I finally got fed up of this error and researched on what is causing this problem and how to fix it.
For people who are using Windows Mail in Windows Vista, you’ll get an error that says “Windows cannot find ‘http://www.website.com/’. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.“
If you’re using Microsoft Outlook, you’ll get a slightly different error that says “General failure. The URL was: “http://www.website.com/”. The system cannot find the file specified.” Even one of the most powerful email client The Bat! is not spared from this error. It will only say “http://www.website.com/” – The system cannot find the file specified“
I’ve manage to find the cause of this problem and also how to fix general failure when opening a link or URL from Outlook, Windows Mail and The Bat!
If you’re only using Internet Explorer, very likely you won’t encounter this problem but if you do, simple setting the Internet Explorer as default browser will fix the problem.
This problem will exist when all 4 criterias are met:
1. Firefox is installed
2. Firefox is set as default browser
3. Google Toolbar extension for Firefox is installed
4. Firefox is not running
To fix this problem in Windows XP and Vista, you need to edit the registry. Go to Start > Run > type regedit and click OK. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\FirefoxURL\shell\open\ddeexec. At the right pane, double click the (Default) name to bring up the Edit String window. You should see the data value “%1″,,0,0,,,,. Just clear off and leave the value data blank. Click OK to close the Edit String window.
You will no longer see the annoying general failure error window anymore whenever open a link from Outlook. This is only a temporary fix because whenever you’ve updated a newer version of Firefox, you might need to do this all over again. Let’s hope the upcoming Firefox 3 will fix this problem. So far I’ve tested Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, The Bat!, Windows Mail and Microsoft Outlook. Only Outlook Express and Thunderbird are not affected by this.