Not The Wizard

Oz Solomon's Blog

Multimedia Keyboards – How to Prevent Multiple Outlook Instances From Opening

Multimedia KeyboardIf you have a modern keyboard, it most likely has a Mail key on the top row which will launch your mail client.  I prefer to use this key not only as a means to launch my mail client, but also as a shortcut for switching to it.

Unfortunately, by default, if Outlook is your mail client, hitting the Mail key repeatedly opens multiple copies of Outlook.  Fortunately, the fix is easy:

  1. Launch the Registry Editor by hitting Win+R and typing regedit in the dialog box.
  2. When the Registry Editor opens, navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AppKey\15. (You should see the following value there: Association=mailto)
  3. From the Edit menu pick New -> String Value
  4. In Name, type ShellExecute
  5. In Data, type outlook.exe /recycle

That’s it!  You can now hit the Mail key multiple times.

I use Microsoft keyboards but this should hopefully work with other manufacturers’ keyboards as well.

Tip: Don’t install the special Microsoft Keyboard software that came with your keyboard or that is offered to you via Windows Update – it will mess things up.


  1. Number 4 above should be:
    In Name, type ShellExecute

  2. This is such a time saver. Do you know how to make the Web/Home button open Explorer for desktop rather than the immersive Explorer in Windows 8.1?

  3. You’re a hero! This was pretty hard to find, thanks a lot for the tip.

  4. Charlie Hammell

    June 4, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Sorry. Fail. Didn’t work for me.

  5. This worked for me…

    New shortcut location:
    “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\OUTLOOK.EXE” /recycle

    Pinned new shortcut to the taskbar.

  6. This works great, thanks very much

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