Amazingly, I solved the problem but don't really understand why so I am posting this to see if anyone has any insight, or perhaps it can help someone else with a similar problem.
In searching online for clues about this I came across an Outlook site that talked about changing settings in Internet Explorer, and it occured to me that yesterday I deactivated IE in Windows (trying to fix another problem). Even though I don't use IE (Chrome is my default browser) I re-activated it to see what would happen and "voilá" the hyperlinks in Outlook starting to connecting properly to Chrome.
Anyone have any idea why deactivating IE would prevent hyperlinks from connecting to the default browser?
Outlook,Outlook Express (Formerly "Hotmail") is part of Windows. It is imperative that one must keep their systems fully updated, to include Internet Explorer (11). I recommend not tampering with the Internet Explorer settings.
As a matter of fact, it is best to have IE11 set at the "Default settings" Even if you do not utilize it as your default Browser. Most occasions when installing an optional Browser, one "Imports" IE settings. Just a guess, this could explain your issue.
McAfee uses Internet Explorer for it,s UI Interface, and other functionalities. IE11 being the Latest Version, and must at all times be kept current. I am certain one of the Moderators can expand on my comments, as their full knowledge superceeds mine.
Have a Merry Christmas
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Open your Default Programs in Administrative Tools and make sure Outlook and whatever browser you are using have all their defaults.
Tutorial here: http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/9173-default-programs-set-your-default-prog rams-windows-8-a.html also see: http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/9163-default-programs-associate-file-type-p rotocol-windows-8-a.html
Also make sure they have Full permission in SecurityCenter > Web and Email Protection > Firewall > internet Connections for Programs.
Very interesting, I was not aware of these connections in Windows, but it makes sense now that you explain it. Thanks everyone for your help!
Windows 8/8.1 is not really different from any other Windows in that regard except settings can sometimes be rather difficult to find if one uses the Metro/Modern interface exclusively..
If you have any problems that we can't help with there is always Technical Support linked under Useful Links at the top pf this page, it's free, or there is always that Win 8 Forum of course, they are pretty helpful with Windows questions.