How do we tell our computer which viewer to use when we click a SLURL in a web browser? I’ll explain what happens and show you how to make the change (at least for Windows – Sorry, I’m not an Apple person). Plus, I’ll give you the link to the way easy tool for this task that the Firestorm peeps made.
Firestorm Default Viewer Selection Tool
The Firestorm people are aware of the problem and made a tool similar to Firefox’s process for handling protocol settings. You can find it here: SLURL Proxy.
Install this program. Drag and drop your viewer icons in it. Select one for your default choice. Once setup, when you click an SLURL the program will use the default you have selected.
Run the program again to make changes. Easy.
The Tech of Default SLURL Changing
Now we dig into the tech that you’ll want to know to fix a mess or if you just want more control.
When we first install a viewer, we find that clicking an SLURL (Second Life URL) causes the browser to trigger our viewer and set us up to log into the place specified by the SLURL. In time, we learn the last viewer installed is the one our computer uses to access Second Life™.
That is really all we need to know to make things work as we want. Not elegant but, effective.
Reinstalling viewers seems like a bit of overkill. And now that we have auto-update in the viewers a reinstall usually means we either wait for an update or go download the current version and reinstall it. A bit tedious and time consuming.
In July 2010 I wrote Emerald Viewer vs SLURL. I explained how to change the settings used by Windows to decide which app to call to handle SLURL’s. Six plus years makes that article a bit out of date. Those were the Windows Vista and 7 days and a time when Emerald was still the power user’s viewer of choice – Emerald ended in September 2010.
So, an update is probably a good idea. This is it.
To understand what the computer is doing you need to understand the basics of Protocols. There are lots of various protocols so it can be a confusing mix if you fail to consider which protocol one means. In this case, we mean communication protocols for Internet use.
A URL (Uniformed Resource Location/Locator) tells us where a remote resource (server/web page) is and how to talk to it. The latter being the protocol. We see in URL’s the ubiquitous HTTP and HTTPS, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. The ‘S’ stands for secure. This is the basic Internet protocol for most everything.
When tell our computer to use an URL to get something the computer knows to look in the link for which protocol to use and then which app using that protocol to launch. You may have a URL saved on your desktop or somewhere in your file system. Clicking it causes the computer to look in the link for a protocol to use, then look up which app is the default app for that protocol and launch it and hand it the link destination info. Presto, we see our default web browser open and it opens the correct page. Mostly…
There are other protocols. Like: FTP, MAILTO, and SECONDLIFE. Out computers come configured to handle the first two. When we install a Second Life viewer it configures the last. The computer knows what to do when it sees these specific protocols.
The Second Player in the Game
What I’ve described is what Windows does. But, our web browsers get into the game too.
At the top of the article is Chromes query of what to do with a SLURL. Windows knows the installed protocol handler is, in my case, the Firestorm Viewer, I installed it last. Chrome is not so sure and gives me a choice. I can have it launch Firestorm or not. I can also have it remember to use Firestorm for this protocol.
The thing is once I tell it to use Firestorm for the secondlife: protocol, it will… permanently. It will no longer care what was installed last as ‘you told it, the browser,’ what to use. It listens to you and stops asking Windows.
All the web browsers do the same thing. Except Edge will forever annoy you with this question. It doesn’t need to ask you what you want to do because the Windows OS knows. I think of Microsoft’s Edge as the fascist-mentality browser. MS has decided what you need and how you need to use it for Microsoft and their advertisers’ benefit. Sucks.
By the way, Internet Explorer is installed as part of Windows 10. Open C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer. Right-click iexplore.exe and select Pin to taskbar. This will put an icon out where you can use it.
So how do we change Windows and our Browsers’ minds if we change our mind? I’ll do Windows first.
Understand, at this point Google and most everyone will mislead you. Almost all the information is about how to change which app a protocol uses, NOT how to add a new protocol. Since the viewer installers do not add a protocol or file type during installation, we have no built-in way in Settings to make a change in Windows.
Microsoft in its fascist-like wisdom decided mere users had no reason to add protocols or file types. That is to be done only by those that write programs. I’m be a bit unfair. The decision probably saves a lot of mental midgets from breaking their computers and definitely strengthens security. Still, it annoys me.
So, how do we add or change a protocol? It gets all techy because adding a protocol into the Windows System is a really big deal. So, there is no easy way for a user to quickly add a protocol into the Windows Settings.
BUT… we can tell Windows which program/app will handle a protocol and just forget about adding a protocol into the system. We won’t ever have it in Windows’ Settings but… we’ll have avoiding breaking our brain.
You can change the default secondlife: protocol handler by making a registry change. Messing with the registry can break your computer. So, time for a backup, which is easy.
- Open REGEDIT – Type it in Ask me anything…
- Right-click on Computer (at Regedit’s very top left window pane)
- Select Export
- Supply a meaningful file name
- Backup made.
More pages, links below…