Changing your default e-mail program on a Mac, even though you tried to change it and it did not take.

You visit a website and click on an email link. Suddenly, it launches an email application you did want it to launch. Worse still the application is on the Windows partition of your Apple Mac. You had no idea how it specified an application you not only never use, but one that is not even active. But it does.

We have no idea either. Well there is really only one reason. Corruption.

With all the billions of binary switches going on and off – per second! – something is bound to happen. It this case, you can try to launch your favorite email application and change the default mail program from the wrong one, which it apparently switched itself to, and select a new default program – but it does not take.

Restarting does nothing. Rebooting in Safe Mode does nothing.

Only ONE thing works. Repairing permissions. Oh, wait! Apple removed the “repair permissions” from its revamped Disk Utilities in El Capitan. Now what?

Relax, you can still do it. Here’s how.

  • Go to your Finder, or Desktop. Click the Go menu at the top navigation menu bar. Select Home. Get information on that folder (“Command+I”); should have a home icon with e.g. your name on it. Unlock the tiny lock you will see in the lower right hand corner of that window (you’ll probably have to enter your Mac’s unlock password).
  • In the lower portion of that window, select the top line in the Name/Privilege section. It should be your name, or similar. Make sure the Privilege is set to Read/Write (it probably already is).
    Click the Gear icon at the bottom of this window.
  • Select the Make “John Doe (Me)” the owner. Then click on the gear again and click Apply to enclosed items. You should immediately see some sort of blue progress bar at the top of this window. It may appear completely filled. Just let it do its thing – repairing permissions on every system file. This make take only a few minutes, to an hour or more.
  • When done, launch your email application and voila! A new default application should be permanently settable!

Until it does it again.