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Stage 4: Customizing the Browser

In this stage, corporate administrators can customize the following:

  • The browser title bar, toolbar background bitmap, browser toolbar buttons, and the Internet Explorer logo in the upper right corner of the browser.

  • Home, search, and online support pages for the browser.

  • Favorites, Favorites folders, and links for the Links bar.

  • Welcome page, which appears when users start their browser for the first time.

  • Automatic configuration. You can provide a path to files that automatically configure your browser.

  • The user's connection settings.

  • Proxy settings.

  • Desktop toolbar settings.

  • Active Desktop customization, if you are also installing the Windows Desktop Update. You must have the Active Desktop installed on the build computer for this screen to be displayed.

  • Settings for security certificates, Authenticode™ technology, security zones and ratings.


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Browser Title

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You can customize the text that appears in the title bar of the Internet Explorer Web browser and Outlook Express, if you include Outlook Express in your package. Type the text that you want to appear. It will be added after the text "Microsoft Internet Explorer Provided by" or "Outlook Express Provided by."

Option

Explanation

Customize Title Bars

To customize the title bars, select the Customize Title Bars check box, and then type the text you want in the Title Bar Text box.

Toolbar background bitmap

Type the path to the bitmap (or "Watermark") to be displayed in the background behind the Internet Explorer toolbar buttons, or click Browse to locate it.

Browser Toolbar Buttons

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You can customize the toolbar buttons in the user's browser. You can specify the script or program that the buttons launch, as well as their appearance. For more information about designing custom programs, see Microsoft Site Builder Network Workshop.

Option

Explanation

Delete existing toolbar buttons, if present

To delete the existing toolbar buttons in the user's browser, select this check box.

Add

You can add custom toolbars that run scripts or executable files. When you click Add, you will be prompted for more information, such as the icon, caption, and action for the button to perform.

Administrators can add browser toolbar buttons to the browser. When "Add" is selected, the following options appear

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Option

Explanation

Toolbar Caption (required)

This is the name of the toolbar button. You must specify a caption, or label, that will appear underneath the button when the user displays both the text and the icon on toolbar buttons. The maximum recommended size is ten characters.

Toolbar Action, as script file or executable (required)

You must specify the script or executable file that will run when the user clicks the toolbar button.

Toolbar color icon (required)

You must specify a color icon that will appear on the toolbar buttons. The icon consists of 20-pixel-by-20-pixel images for active and inactive states.

Toolbar grayscale icon (required)

You must specify a grayscale icon for the toolbar that will display on black-and-white monitors.

This button should be shown on the toolbar by default

Select this check box to enable the toolbar button you've specified to be shown in the user's browser by default.

Animated Logo

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All Internet Explorer corporate administrators will have the ability to customize the animated logo that appears in the upper-right corner of the Internet Explorer window. This ability was limited to customers with special licensing agreements in Version 4.

With an animated bitmap, the first frame appears as static when no action is taking place in the browser; the remaining frames appear as animated when the browser is in use. Two animated bitmaps are required for a custom animated logo: one at 22 x 22 pixels and the other at 38 x 38 pixels. The paths of the small and large custom animated bitmaps need to be typed in the boxes provided. Sample animated bitmaps are available in the Internet Explorer Administration Kit Toolkit, which is installed in the \Ieak\Toolkit folder on the hard disk when the Internet Explorer Administration Kit is installed.

Two tools are included with the Internet Explorer Administration Kit to help administrators create customized animated bitmaps for the browser. One is used to stack bitmaps in the format described above; the other previews the animation. Information about how to use these tools is included in "Animated Bitmap Tools" in the Internet Explorer Administration Kit Help section.

Static Logo

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The Internet Explorer logo in the upper right corner of the browser appears in two states: animated when the browser is in use, and static when no action is taking place. You can replace the logo bitmap with your own animated or static bitmap.

  • Customize the animated logos. If you use an animated bitmap, the first frame appears static when no action is taking place in the browser; the remaining frames appear animated when the browser is in use. To use your own animated logo, you must provide two animated bitmaps: one should be 22 x 22 pixels and the other 38 x 38 pixels. Type the paths of the small and large custom animated bitmaps in the boxes provided. Sample animated bitmaps are available in the Internet Explorer Administration Kit Toolkit, which was installed in the \Ieak\Toolkit folder on your hard disk when you installed the Internet Explorer Administration Kit.

  • Customize the static logos. If you use a static bitmap, it will appear static whether or not any action is taking place in the browser. To use your own static logo, you must provide two bitmaps; one should be 22 x 22 pixels and the other 38 x 38 pixels. Type the paths of the small and large custom static bitmaps in the boxes in this panel.


Notes: Two tools are included with the Internet Explorer Administration Kit to help you create customized animated bitmaps for your browser. One tool is used to stack bitmaps in the format described above, while the other tool previews the animation.

Important URLs

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You can specify the URLs for the home, search, and online support pages.

Option

Explanation

Home page URL

To use the default Internet Explorer home page, click Use Default. To use another home page, type the URL of the home page.

Search Pane URL

The Search bar appears in the Explorer bar on the left side of the screen. This bar enables a user to see the search query and search results at the same time. The Search bar comes with a choice of search engines. In Internet Explorer 5, Search results are written so that they appear in the main browser window, rather than in the Search pane.
If you want to use the Internet Explorer default Search bar, click Use Default.To use another Search bar, type the URL of the Search bar.

Online support page URL

In Internet Explorer, support information is available by clicking Help, and then clicking Online Support. It's recommended that you develop a support page and make it available to your users.
Type the URL of your custom support page in the Online support page URL box. If you want to use the Internet Explorer default support page, click Use Default.

Note: The Test URL button has been removed from the Internet Explorer Administration Kit in Version 5. Administrators should be sure to verify that the URLs are typed in correctly before distributing the package to users.

Favorites and Links

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You can customize the Favorites folder and Links bar by adding links to sites related to your company or services.

The Links bar appears by default at the top of a user's screen, and it comes with a set of default links. You can add links to the default folders or add new folders. When a user clicks Favorites, the Favorites list appears on the left side of the window.

Option

Explanation

Place favorites at top of list

Select this check box to specify that the Favorites you choose are moved to the top of the users' Favorites list, so they are easier for users to find.

Delete existing Favorites and Links, if present

Select this check box to delete the items on the users' Favorites and Links lists. It is recommended that you use this setting with caution, because it removes the links and favorites that the users have set up.

To add a folder to the Favorites list or Links bar

  1. Click Favorites, Links, or a folder within Favorites or Links, and then click Add Folder.

  2. Type the name of your folder in the Name box. This can be a friendly name that helps the user recognize what types of links are in the folder.


Notes:

  • You can import a folder containing links by clicking Import, or you can click an existing folder to create a new subfolder.

  • Semicolons and slashes are not allowed in the titles.


To add a Web page to the Favorites list or Links bar

  1. Click Favorites, Links, or a folder within Favorites or Links, and then click Add URL.

  2. Type a name for this Web page in the Name box. This can be a friendly name that helps the user recognize what the link refers to.

  3. Type the path of your link in the URL box.

  4. To specify a 16-pixel-by-16-pixel custom icon, type the name of the file in the Icon box.

  5. To make this page available to users when they aren't connected to the Internet, select the Make available offline check box. This option is often helpful for users with laptop computers.


Notes:

  • To test a link, click the URL in the list, and then click Test URL.

  • You can add up to 200 links to the Favorites folder.

  • To remove an item from the Favorites list or Links bar, right-click the item, and then click Delete.


Channels

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You can add a custom channel or channel category (folder), or import the channel settings from your computer. When you import channels, you can further customize them; for example, you could import your channel settings but delete one of the channels you import. To add channels, you should already have information about your channel or channel category, such as the path to the images and the titles you want to use. You should also have a Channel Definition Format (.cdf) file for each channel.

If your custom Internet Explorer 5 package might be installed on a computer on which Internet Explorer 4 has never been installed, and you want your users to be able to use channels, you should add the Offline Browsing Pack to your installation. This feature is part of Internet Explorer 4, but it is a separate component of Internet Explorer 5.

To guarantee that channels will work, you must make sure that the Offline Browsing Pack is included in your installation. If you let users customize their setup choices, you need to specify that this option won't appear as a custom installation choice. To do this, on the Advanced Installation Options wizard page, clear the Offline Browsing check box; Force Install will appear in the right-hand column.

When you create channels that will be viewed by Windows 3.1 and UNIX users, make sure that the channels will be displayed correctly on those platforms.

Option

Explanation

Delete existing channels, if present

You can delete existing channels on the user's computer by selecting this check box.

Turn on Desktop Channel Bar by default

If you are a corporate administrator, and you are setting up the Windows Desktop Update or installing Internet Explorer 5 on Windows 98 computers, you can set up the Channel bar on the user's desktop by default.

Adding a Channel

To add a channel, click Add channel, and then specify the following information:

Option

Explanation

Channel Title (required)

Specify the title of your channel. This will appear in the user's Favorites list.

Channel Definition File on Web Server URL (required)

Type the URL of the .cdf file for this channel. The .cdf file provides information about when and how to update your content.

Channel Definition File Path

Type the path (on your hard drive or network) where the .cdf file is now located, or click Browse to locate it.

Narrow Channel Image Path

Type the path for the narrow channel image, or click Browse to locate it.

Channel Icon Path

Type the path for the channel icon, or click Browse to locate it.

Make available offline

Select this check box to make the channel available offline. When content is made available offline, users can read it when their computer is not connected to the Internet. For example, they can view content on their laptop computer when they don't have a network or Internet connection.

Notes:

  • When you specify a .cdf file for a custom channel, make sure that the .cdf file does not contain the LOGO tag with the IMAGE or ICON parameter.

  • If you are adding a channel within a channel category, use the following syntax: <category name>\<channel name> - for example, My Category\My Channel.


Add a channel category (a folder of channels)

To add a channel category, click Add Category, and then specify the following information:

Option

Explanation

Category Title

Type the title of the channel category.

Category HTML Page

Type the URL for the HTML page of your category.

Narrow Category Image Path

Type the path to your narrow category image.

Category Icon Path

Type the path to the icon that will be displayed for your category.

Edit a channel

To edit a channel or channel category that you've added or imported, click Edit. The dialog box with the image and path settings will be displayed.

Remove a channel

To remove a channel or category that you've added or imported, select the item, and then click Remove.

Import channels

To import the channel settings from your computer, click Import. If you want to change your channel settings before importing them, you do not need to close the wizard. Just switch to your browser, change your channel settings, and then switch back to the wizard.

Welcome Page

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Internet Explorer displays a welcome page when the browser is first started. You can display the default Internet Explorer welcome page, or you can specify your own custom welcome page. The welcome page can be different than the home page, which is the page that opens when the user starts the browser after the first time or clicks the Home button.

Option

Explanation

Display default Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 welcome page

Select this option to display the default Internet Explorer welcome page.

Do not display a welcome page

Select this option if you don't want to display a welcome page. The first page that is displayed is the user's home page.

Use a custom welcome page

Select this option if you want to use a custom welcome page, and then type the URL in the box below.

Note: The "Welcome to Internet Explorer" startup dialog that had to be run twice in Internet Explorer 4.0 is not displayed in Internet Explorer 5.

Folder Webviews

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You can customize how My Computer and Control Panel appear on your company's computers by customizing the files that serve as templates for them. Then if the user installs the Windows Desktop Update, My Computer and Control Panel can appear as Web pages. One reason to customize these folders is to provide instructions, a company logo, or links to support or corporate sites. You must include the Windows Desktop Update in your browser package, and be running the desktop on your build computer, to specify Folder Webviews.

To specify a Webview, use the following template files:

  • Mycomp.htt for My Computer

  • Controlp.htt for Control Panel


If you have installed the Windows Desktop Update on your computer, these files are located in the C:\Windows\Web or C:\Windows\NT folder. You can open them using a text editor, such as Notepad, or an HTML editor. It's recommended that you make a back-up copy of these files before working with them, so you can restore them to their original state if needed.

There are several ways you can modify these files to suit your company's needs. You can add your own links or graphics, change colors, and even determine which contents (icons and file names) are displayed. For example, you could choose not to display the icons in Control Panel, but provide graphical buttons the user could click for only those settings you choose to make available.

These files use active scripting, such as JavaScript, JScript®, or Visual Basic® Scripting Edition (VBScript). The existing Mycomp.htt and Controlp.htt files, and other files related to the desktop (Folder.htt and Printers.htt), use JavaScript. You can modify some aspects of these files without scripting, or if you're familiar with scripting, you can add to or change the scripting to meet your needs.

These template files are very similar to .htm files, except for three variables: %THISDIRNAME%, %THISDIRPATH%, and %TEMPLATEDIR%, which are processed through a MIME filter and replaced with the correct file or path information. These variables are useful when you specify links to external files, such as graphics. Although these template files are located in the C:\Windows\Web or C:\Windows\NT folder, they are processed in the \Temp folder, so the path information is necessary to ensure that links to other items work.

An important issue is to ensure that the customized versions of My Computer and Control Panel resize the display in accordance with your users' screen resolutions, and that they appear correctly. In the Mycomp.htt and Controlp.htt files, the following syntax is used to ensure proper resizing:

<script language="JavaScript">

window.onresize = fixSize;
</script>

These files use the FileList object to represent the contents (icons and file names) of My Computer and Control Panel. In My Computer, a pie chart showing the amount of free space available is represented by the PieChart object. These objects are optional.

For more information about scripting, see the Microsoft Site Builder Network Workshop.

In My Computer and Control Panel, Infotips from the registry are displayed when the user points to the item. The Infotips provide a brief description of the item.

You can also modify the Printers.htt (Printers) and Folder.htt (default Web view for folders) template files in the C:\Windows\Web or C:\Windows\NT folder on your computer or on your users' computers. These files cannot be included in your customized Internet Explorer Administration Kit package.

If you want, you can provide an HTML file instead of modifying the *.htt files. To do this, you need to change the associated PersistMoniker references in the registry to PersistFile, and point the references to your customized file.

Note: Editing the registry can cause harm to an operating system, and should be performed at your own risk.

User Agent String

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Some companies track site statistics, such as how many times their content is accessed and by which types of Web browsers. User agent strings help identify the browser type.

Custom string to be appended to user agent string

The string you type in this box is appended to the user agent string for the customized browser. You do not need to customize the user agent string unless you want to track the usage of your custom browser and you gather browser statistics from other Internet sites. Be aware that other companies that track site statistics will see the customized string.

Connection Settings

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You can preset connection settings for your users by importing the connection settings from your computer.

To see which settings you'll import, click the Tools menu in the browser, click Internet Options, and then click the Connections tab. Click Settings to view dial-up settings, and LAN Settings to view network settings. The address for automatic configuration is not imported, however.

If you do not want to preset your users' settings, click Do not customize Connection Settings.

To import the settings on your computer, click Import the current Connection Settings. If the settings displayed are not the settings you want to use, you can change them here. Importing an existing connection setting is the recommended way to set up an automatic dial-up networking connection for remote users. More discussion on automatic connection is included in Appendix D: Automatic Connections.

You can clear the existing settings on your users' computers by clicking Delete existing Connection Settings, if present.

Automatic Configuration

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You can assign URLs to files that will automatically configure the customized browsers. This feature is helpful if you want to control the settings of several users from one central location. You can configure options by using .ins files, also known as Internet Explorer Administration Kit profiles. Using .ins files, you can include standard proxy settings. For 32-bit and 16-bit versions of the browser, you can also specify script files in .js, .jvs, or .pac format that enable you to configure and maintain advanced proxy settings.

Network servers using Domain Name System (DNS) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) can automatically detect and configure a browser's settings when the user first starts the browser on a network.

Option

Explanation

Automatically detect settings

To automatically detect browser settings, select the Automatically detect configuration settings check box.

Automatically configure

You can specify the interval in minutes for the automatic configuration feature. If you enter zero, or don't enter a value, automatic configuration happens only when the user's computer is restarted.

If you specify URLs for both automatic configuration and automatic proxy (auto-proxy), the auto-proxy URL will be incorporated into the .ins file. The correct form for the URL is http://share/test.ins.

To enable automatic configuration, select the Enable Automatic Configuration check box. Type the URL for the .ins file you want in the Auto-config URL (.ins file) box. Type the URL for the autoproxy script in the Auto-proxy URL (.js, .jvs, or .pac file) box.

Proxy Settings

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You can specify which proxy servers your users connect to. A proxy server acts as a security barrier between your internal network (intranet) and the Internet, keeping other people on the Internet from gaining access to confidential information on your internal network.

Option

Explanation

Enable Proxy Settings

If you do not use proxy servers, clear this check box.

HTTP

Type the URL of the proxy server for HTTP and its port number.

Secure

Type the URL of the secure proxy server and its port number.

FTP

Type the URL of the proxy server for FTP and its port number.

Gopher

Type the URL of the proxy server for Gopher and its port number.

Socks

Type the URL of the sock proxy and its port number.

Use the same proxy server for all addresses

To use different proxy servers for different services, clear this check box.

Exceptions

Type the path(s) or domain(s) that do not require the use of proxy servers.

Do not use proxy server for local (intranet) addresses

In certain cases, you may not want to use a proxy server, such as for addresses on your corporate intranet. You can enter specific addresses in the box under Do not use proxy server for addresses beginning with. Use a semicolon to separate entries. To bypass proxy servers for all addresses on your intranet, select the Do not use proxy server for local (intranet) addresses check box.

If an organization has more than one proxy server, or needs to specify different proxy settings for a user based on location, organization, etc., then additional steps need to be taken to specify different proxy setting for different users:

  • Create individual packages for each group that requires a different proxy setting, then distribute these packages separately to each group. Specify a different .ins file for each package. This approach is best when distributing Internet Explorer 5 to users in different WAN sites and when other configuration options will need to be specified for these sites. The individual .ins files can be used to update site-specific browser options and security policies for each group.

  • Create a .pac, .js, or .jvs file for advanced proxy configuration and specify it in a general package distributed to all users. Advanced proxy configuration can assign proxy servers using rules and group identifiers. The Internet Explorer Administration Kit Help file contains ten examples of proxy scripting files that can be used for advanced proxy configuration. Using .pac, .js, or .jvs files for proxy configuration is a good idea when different proxy servers need to be dynamically specified for different users or groups in the same organization.


Security

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Option

Explanation

Certification Authorities

Click the appropriate option.
To modify settings, click Modify Settings.
To add a new root, click Add New Root.

Authenticode security

Click the appropriate option.
To modify settings, click Modify Settings.

Certification Authorities can be used to control sites where users can download certain content, such as ActiveX controls and Java applets. Site Authorities are a form of digital certificate for an Internet site. Using Authenticode technology, they indicate where programs come from and verify that they haven't been altered.

These settings can be imported from the administrator's computer to the users' computers. Click Import current Certification Authorities and then click Modify Settings to modify the settings that will apply to users' computers. Certificates can apply to network server authentication, network client authentication, secure e-mail authentication, and software publishing. For Windows 3.x, you can import and install up to 20 certification authorities. If you have more than 20 certification authorities on your computer, you'll need to identify the 20 certificates you plan to install, and then delete the rest while you prepare the Internet Explorer Administration Kit build.

You can then use Certificate Manager to view and manage your certification authorities information. Certificates can apply to network server authentication, network client authentication, secure e-mail authentication, and software publishing.

Administrators can also specify permission for users to download content only from specified sites. To do this, select the Only trust certificates from listed software publishers check box in Modify Settings.

You can use Authenticode to designate software publishers and credentials agencies as trustworthy. You can also import these settings from your computer. If you want to modify the settings that you will apply to your users' computers, click Import current Authenticode security information, and then click Modify Settings.

Authenticode allows administrators to designate software publishers and credentials agencies as trustworthy. These settings can also be imported from the administrator's computer. Click Import current Authenticode information, and then click Modify Settings to modify the settings that will apply to users' computers.

Security Settings

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Administrators can manage security zones and content ratings for a company and customize the settings for each security zone. By using content ratings, administrators can prevent users from viewing content that may be considered offensive.

Option

Explanation

Security Zones

Click the appropriate option.
To modify settings, click Modify Settings.

Content Ratings

Click the appropriate option.
To modify settings, click Modify Settings.

Security Zones

If you want to modify the settings that will be installed on your users' computers, click Import the current security zone settings, and then click Modify Settings. In Stage 5, you can also specify whether users will be able to change their security settings.

Note that the following settings or sections do not apply to UNIX and 16-bit versions of the browser:

  • UNIX versions of the browser

    ActiveX controls and plug-ins
    Font download
    Software channel permissions
    Launching applications and files
    Installation of desktop items

  • 16-bit versions of the browser

    User authentication
    Font download
    Software channel permissions
    Installation of desktop items
    Active scripting
    Launching applications and files from an IFrame


Content Ratings

Microsoft Internet Explorer provides a way to help you control the types of content that your computer can access on the Internet. You can adjust the settings to reflect what you think is appropriate content in four areas: language, nudity, sex, and violence.

If you want to modify the ratings that you will apply to your users' computers, click Import the current content ratings settings, and then click Modify Settings. You can then modify your settings by using Content Advisor.

You should know that:

  • Content Advisor uses very cautious rating standards when you first enable it. You can adjust these settings to match your own preferences.

  • Not all Internet content is rated. If you allow others to view unrated sites, some of those sites could contain inappropriate material.


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