How to Make Gmail your Default Email Program in Windows 7 (Updated… again!) – LINKS FIXED!

Here is something I get asked alot – How do I make GMail my default email program in Microsoft Windows 7?  In MS Windows 7, you have the option to change your Default Programs to which ever email program you have installed – but GMail isn’t installed on your computer and doesn’t show up in Default Programs.

You could installed GMail Notifier and set it to open gmail for you when an email link is clicked – but there is another way if you are willing to edit the registry.  I know this can sound a bit technical, but its not difficult to do.  If it does scary you off – then go with the GMail notifier option – otherwise follow these steps:

  1. Right Click on the link below for your browser below
  2. Select Save As
  3. Save to your computer
    1. if you are using chrome – open the txt file you just saved and replace {username} with the username you log in with
  4. Find where you saved the file and change the file extension from .txt to .reg
  5. import the registry file to your computer – (Update: I didn’t mean to sound “geeky” here… to “import” just double click the .reg file, or right click and select import – Windows will do all the “heavy lifting” from there)

If step 4 has you hung up – you need to change your folder options to not hide extensions for known file types.



IE64-gmail <– this is for the 64bit version of IE however I don’t use it and don’t recommend using it.


Update for Firefox users: According to a comment below, if you’re using Firefox, all you have to do is:
Tools>Options>Applications, then change the mailto action to Use Gmail.

Please leave a comment if that worked for you. Otherwise, here are the registry hacks for Firefox:



If this post has helped you – help me back by watching my 5 min standup set at StandUp Live in Phoenix AZ. Its free, its funny, and I like the attention!

Magento pre-checks – how to install curl, gd, mcrypt, and pdo using cpanel whm – yeah its easy!

I searched for hours and hours after I attempted to install Magento on a godaddy vps only to get this:

Your server does not meet the following requirements in order to install Magento.
The following requirements failed, please contact your hosting provider in order to receive assistance with meeting the system requirements for Magento:
  • You are missing the curl extension
  • You are missing the gd extension
  • You are missing the mcrypt extension
  • You are missing the pdo_mysql extension
  • You are missing the pdo extension
The following requirements were successfully met:
  • You have PHP 5.2.0 (or greater)
  • Safe Mode is off
  • You have MySQL 4.1.20 (or greater)
  • You have the dom extension
  • You have the hash extension
  • You have the iconv extension
  • You have the pcre extension
  • You have the simplexml extension
After hours of searching I found “pecl install pdo” which worked great to address the pdo and pdo_mysql extension issues.  But sadly, “pecl install curl” did nothing (btw, its not supposed to – but I was hopeful).  I found a lot of information about updating the php.ini – most of which talked about removing the ; from the lines required to enable curl, gd, and mcrypt.  Which I did – then restarted apache, then restarted my server, then rebooted my laptop… ok, the laptop was because I loaded patches to it completely unrelated to my server problem, but why not throw that in there?
I found several posts saying “just run /scripts/easyapache”.  Most of these posts assume a certain level of knowledge that I obviously didn’t have.  Once I found that I can actually just type “/scripts/easyapache” at an SSH command line (I know I may have just ‘assumed’ a level of knowledge you may not have but keep reading, it gets easy!)  I ran easyapache and was presented with a text based menu that made no sense to me.  I felt like I was on the right track, but still not there.  The forum where I found the easyapache hint ( had several comments with questions about what it does and how to use it – but one comment caught my eye by Erwin:

In CPanel 7, you can now do this in WHM by going to the Software section and choosing:

Update Apache

Then choose mcrypt or any other module you want to recompile PHP with.

And it will do so automatically. Similar to easyapache, but easier to use. I upgraded to PHP 4.3.2 just like that with the modules I want.

So I tried that – realizing the post was pretty old and my screens might be very different.  They were, but I was able to work it out. I went to
  • “Main >> Software >> EasyApache (Apache Update)”.
  • Then I selected the PHP Encryption / E-commerce option.
  • Then “start customizing based on profile”.
  • From there I selected Apache 2.2 (I was currently running 2.0),
  • clicked Next and selected php5, selected build 5.3.2,
  • scroll to the bottom of the page and click “
  • Now we are COOKING! – you can now select curl, gd, mcrypt, pdo, and a whole host of other options.

After selecting those options, I clicked ““.  Now it goes and goes while building apache with all of the options you selected – NO COMPILING, MAKE, MAKE INSTALL, ETC!  It does all of that for you!

I go back to my magento-check.php page and I’m in magento precheck heaven:

Congratulations! Your server meets the requirements for Magento.

  • You have PHP 5.2.0 (or greater)
  • Safe Mode is off
  • You have MySQL 4.1.20 (or greater)
  • You have the curl extension
  • You have the dom extension
  • You have the gd extension
  • You have the hash extension
  • You have the iconv extension
  • You have the mcrypt extension
  • You have the pcre extension
  • You have the pdo extension
  • You have the pdo_mysql extension
  • You have the simplexml extension

Don’t use WPAU plug-in to upgrade to WordPress 2.7!

I upgraded several of my blogs manually to the newly released WordPress 2.7 and they have worked out very well, however I upgraded one of my blogs using the WPAU plugin and the results were a disaster.  Most of the functionality is there, however there have been several buggy screens inside the admin panel – most of the issue appears to be related to the styling of pages (missing images, text based pages, code function names instead of friendly names, etc).

I could be jumping the gun here, since I have only upgraded one blog using the plugin… But I’m not going to chance it with any of my client’s blogs.

WordPress 2.7 is the Microsoft Frontpage for Web2.0

When a co-worker said that earlier today, I must admit I was at first put off.  I’m not a frontpage fan and I think frontpage websites look horrible.  But then I gave it some thought.  Frontpage made creating a website easy and intuitive; it was an amazing product at the time.  WordPress makes creating high quality websites easy and intuitive; it is an amazing Web2.0 product.

I’ve been using wordpress since version 2.0 and there have been major improvements over the years – but version 2.7 takes the cake!  The new admin panel is a great improvement to an already amazing product.  There are many features I love about the new version, but my personal favorite is the ability to upgrade the core from the admin panel.  In the previous version they introduced the ability to automatically upgrade plugins – a feature that worked most of the time for me.  But if you wanted to update wordpress itself, you either manually upgraded or you installed the wpau plugin.  Now its a couple of clicks from the admin panel.

The admin panel itself is more user friendly than ever before; a newly added navigation bar, a dashboard that displays relavent information, a quickpress option to brain dump a post faster than ever, and the ability to edit metadata without having to navigate through the posts themselves – just to name a few of the improvements.

WordPress is quickly positioning itself to become a household name as a leading provider of Web2.0 websites.

How to get emails from yourself using gmail and pop3

Google rocks in many ways – including gmail… but after moving a few of my clients to google hosted mail ( hosted using gmail servers), I ran into a snag.  Its not actually something I would have expected to ever hear… The actually call went like this:

Client: “I’m not getting all of my mail”

me: “Ok, what do you mean?”

Client: “I mean, not all of my mail is coming to my outlook”

me: “how do you know you are missing mail”

Client: “When I email myself, I don’t get the email – so I’m not getting all of my mail”

The first thing I did was log into the website and looked at the email online – and all of the emails the client sent to himself were there (I think there were over 10).  I can understand why the client came to the conclusion that email was missing, but it turns out it was only email from him to him.

Google has decided that you don’t actually want to get emails from yourself using pop3.  If you want email from yourself, either log into the website or use IMAP.  Well, my clients like Outlook, so the website is out, and IMAP puts their email in a new folder structure below the personal folders where they are used to getting it – not to mention the how the folder structure works with the label system gmail:  my clients just don’t like it.  So, it has to be pop and it has to be outlook – and it has to work, including emails to themselves.  I was surprised at how many of my clients called with the same issue.  I thought “Wow, these guys like to talk to themselves alot”…

Anyway… the answer is simple: when setting up outlook, you have to use “Recent Mode”.  Your next question, how do I do that?  Simple, but not intuitive – put “recent:” infront of your email address when you setup outlook.  ***Warning*** if you may end up with duplicate email from the last 30 days of email when you make this change – but if you want email from you to you using pop and gmail – you don’t have a choice.

So, your email address in the outlook email account setting page should look like this:


How to reset your GoDaddy VDED Simple Control Panel Password

After purchasing the GoDaddy virtual dedicated server (VDED) with the simple control panel, I got locked out of the simple control panel.  I could still SSH and FTP, but the simple control panel is a different login and mine wasn’t working.  I had to call support to get the solution – its a simple one and I’m not sure why they don’t just put it in the help center posts but I couldn’t find it there so I put it here… Hope this helps someone from waiting on the phone with support for 30 mins in the middle of the night like I did… Just run the following command from an SSH connection:


Creating HyperLinks in WordPress

This is a brief tutorial regarding how to create a hyperlink in your WordPress Post or Page. First we’ll talk about creating links to other sites – then we’ll talk about creating links to other area’s of your site.

Highlight the text you want to link:

MyLink –> highlightmylink

Click on the linkicon in the editor bar:


You will get a popup window asking for the information regarding where you want to link to:

Insert Link Popup

If you are linking to a page outside of your website – you should put the whole link including the http:// prefix. I also recommend you change the Target from “Open link in the same window” to “Open link in a new window”. This way, your visitors don’t leave your site when they click the link.

Relational Links:

If you are linking to another page on your site, you should only need to include the ‘rest of the link’ after your wordpress root. Why? There are technical reasons like less work on your visitor’s browser and less work on the server where your site is hosted, but here is the one I find to be the most of a hassle: if you ever move your site, relational links will continue to work – full links to your site will reflect the old path and will no longer work. For instance – let’s say, today you have wordpress installed in a subfolder – but you find you want to move it up to the root:

If you link to your about us page in a post using the full link –, when you move your site it will no longer work because the new path to your about us page is now To address that issue, you could update every link in your site, OR use relational links. Instead of linking to – you would like to /about. Now the link is in relation to where your site is – so when you move – it knows where to find the about us page.

You may be thinking, “but I’m never going to move my site…” — and you may not, but I’ve fixed many sites for site owners that had the same thought but found that they did need to move the site for whatever reason.

Now that you are convinced that relational links are the way to go – here’s how to create one:

If I want to link to my about page I would highlight the text –


Click the link icon – and put the Link URL without the http:// prefix or your wordpress root site:

AboutUs Link

In this case – you want the Target to “Open link in the same window” because you aren’t sending visitors to another website – just another great page on your site!