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Preparing Servers

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Depending on your situation, you may need to set up servers as part of your deployment. When setting up servers, you should plan for your users' needs in terms of deployment, browser use, and updating of software. If you are an Internet service provider (ISP), you should also plan how users will sign up for your services.

If you distribute files over the Internet or an intranet, consult your Web server documentation for specific information about how to set up your servers. Regardless of your Web server type, consider the following issues that can impact how smoothly users are able to install your software:

  • Security - Certain security levels prevent files that are not digitally signed from being downloaded, and some security levels prompt the user with warning messages. For general information about digital certificates, see Chapter 6 , "Digital Certificates." For information about preparing digital certificates for use with the Internet Explorer Customization wizard, see Chapter 12 , "Preparing for the IEAK."

  • Bandwidth - Setting up servers in different locations or staggering rollouts might be necessary to avoid an overwhelming demand on a specific server. For example, you could schedule installation for different divisions or regions a few days or weeks apart, depending on the size of your organization and resources. For more information about deployment, see Chapter 19 , "Deploying Microsoft Internet Explorer 5."

You can use the Customization wizard to specify up to 10 locations from which users can download and install Internet Explorer. This information is stored in the IE5Sites.dat file. If one server is down, an attempt is made to download files from the next site in the list. You can choose only one site, however, if you are installing Internet Explorer silently - that is, with no user interaction.

If you are a corporate administrator, you can help offset some of the load associated with Internet usage by specifying and setting up key user pages, such as the home, support, and search pages, on your intranet. You can preconfigure these pages before deployment on the Important URLs screen in Stage 4 of the Customization wizard.

If you are a corporate administrator and you don't have Internet access, you must set up these pages on your intranet.

If your deployment plan also includes software updates, you might want to schedule them during off-hours or stagger updates among groups of users to minimize server load. For more information about software updates, see Chapter 22 , "Keeping Programs Updated."

In addition to general deployment issues, you may need to address additional server needs for your organization. This chapter covers the following specific server issues:

  • Automatic browser configuration servers and automatic detection of browser settings (corporate administrators)

  • Proxy servers

  • Automatic searching

  • Roaming user profiles (corporate administrators)

  • Internet sign-up servers (ISPs)

  • NetMeeting servers

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