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Managing Browser Settings Through IEAK 8 Profile Manager

If you installed the Corporate version of the Windows® Internet Explorer® Administration Kit 8 (IEAK 8), and you enabled automatic configuration in the Internet Explorer 8 package that you created using the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8, you can use IEAK Profile Manager to maintain and manage browser settings after deployment.

With IEAK Profile Manager, you update browser settings by modifying the automatic configuration .ins file you created. IEAK Profile Manager also keeps the companion files current each time you save the .ins file. In addition, Profile Manager gives you the flexibility to generate more than one profile to address the needs of different user groups in your organization.

ImportantImportant
IEAK Profile Manager is a tool that is best used to maintain Internet Explorer 8 in organizations that do not use an Active Directory® environment and Group Policy settings to manage networked computers. Be aware that most of the browser settings that you configure through Profile Manager are preference settings that users can later modify by using the Internet Explorer 8 user interface or by modifying the registry.

In an Active Directory environment, we recommend that you use the Administrative Template policy settings whenever possible for setting and locking Internet Explorer 8 configurations.

Not all new Internet Explorer 8 features that are customizable in IEAK 8 are customizable through Profile Manager.

For more information about automatic configuration, see Using Automatic Configuration, Automatic Proxy, and Automatic Detection in this deployment guide.

For more information about Group Policy settings for Internet Explorer in an Active Directory environment, see Managing Browser Settings with Group Policy Tools in this deployment guide.

For more information about IEAK Profile Manager features and auto-configuration file syntax, see IEAK 8 Helphttp://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=157940 .

Creating and editing profiles in IEAK Profile Manager

With IEAK Profile Manager, you can open any .ins file, change settings, and save the file. You can create a new profile directly in Profile Manager, but you can also modify an existing profile and save it under a different name to preserve some of the existing settings. For example, you might want to modify a profile that you initially created with the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8. (The default name of this file is Install.ins.)

To create and update IEAK 8 profiles

  1. On the Start menu, point to All Programs, point to Windows IEAK 8, and then click IEAK Profile Manager.

  2. On the File menu, click New to create a new IEAK 8 profile, or click Open, and then open the .ins file for an existing IEAK profile that you want to update.

  3. In the left pane, click Wizard Settings or Advanced Settings.

  4. In the left pane, click each category that you want to update.

  5. In the right pane, specify the options that you want to change.

  6. On the File menu, click Save as. Type the path to your .ins file, the URL where the .cab files for the custom package are stored, and the names of your .cab files if they differ from the defaults provided.

The default location for saving the .ins file is the <systemdrive>:\<build directory>\Ins\<operating system>\<language> folder. When you change browser settings, IEAK Profile Manager updates the affected .inf files and their version information, and repackages the associated .cab files.

noteNote
IEAK Profile Manager stamps each .ins file with a version number. The version number combines the date that the .ins file was modified and the number of times the file has been revised. For example, 2007.02.14.01 shows that the file was modified only once and that modification occurred on February 14, 2007.

Modifying browser configuration settings in Profile Manager

When you edit an existing profile or create a new one in Profile Manager, you can set or modify the browser settings that were initially available to you in the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8. The settings that you can work with are in two groups: Wizard Settings and Additional Settings.

Wizard Settings

The Wizard Settings values correspond to the browser and component options that you configure in the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8 that contain their own dialog screens. The following table provides an overview of the settings pages available in Profile Manager.

 

Settings Description

Favorites, links, and feeds

Customizes favorites and links, including RSS feeds.

Browser title and toolbar

Customizes text that appears in the title bar of Internet Explorer 8, and the number of toolbar buttons that appear in the browser.

User agent string

Customizes text that is appended to the user agent string that is sent by Internet Explorer 8 to the servers.

Connection settings

Presets connection settings on users' installations of Internet Explorer 8. These are based on the settings of the computer running IEAK Profile Manager (under Internet Options, click the Connections tab).

Automatic browser configuration

Specifies URLs to files that will automatically configure Internet Explorer 8 for your users.

Proxy settings

Specifies which proxy servers, if any, your users connect to for services that are included in the custom Internet Explorer 8 package.

Search provider customization

Adds search providers and sets a search provider default for the custom Internet Explorer 8 package.

Important URLs—home page and support

Specifies the URLs for one or more home pages, and an online support page for your customized version of Internet Explorer 8.

Programs

Specifies the default programs for Internet services, such as e-mail and newsgroups, by importing settings from the computer running IEAK Profile Manager.

Security zones and content ratings

Manages security zones, privacy settings, and content ratings to help you control the types of content that your users' computers can access on the Internet. You can also set the level of your users' privacy regarding cookies.

For more information about the wizard settings, see the IEAK detailed guidance at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=157940.

Additional settings

Your additional settings correspond to the options that you initially configured on the Additional Settings page in Stage 5 of the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8. IEAK Profile Manager uses a default set of Windows Administrative Template (.adm) policy files (located in the Policies folder of your IEAK 8 installation folder) to define the rules for system policies and restrictions.

You can also create your own .adm files to define additional restrictions. Then use IEAK Profile Manager to import the custom .adm files and include them with your updated configuration settings. IEAK Profile Manager generates an associated .inf file from the file prefix for the custom .adm file that you import. For example, if you import a file named Custom.adm, a Custom.inf file is generated and added to the companion .cab files.

ImportantImportant
For computers running in an Active Directory environment (especially those running Windows Vista): To enforce policies, use the Administrative Template settings in Group Policy instead of Additional Settings in the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8 or IEAK Profile Manager.

Creating unique configurations for user groups

If you need distinct configuration settings for different user groups, you can create multiple IEAK profiles. You can use IEAK Profile Manager to specify configuration settings, and then save them as individual <usergroup>.ins files. IEAK Profile Manager automatically generates the companion .cab files.

For example, you could specify a unique configuration for the Finance Department, and save the configuration as Finance.ins. The IEAK Profile Manager would then generate the necessary companion .cab files.

noteNote
If you create multiple .ins files, make sure that each of your custom browser packages is configured to use the correct file.

Automated server solution for deploying multiple profiles

If your environment requires multiple IEAK profiles, but you do not want to deploy a custom browser package for each profile, you can direct users' browsers to a common automatic configuration .ins file, and configure your server to return the proper .ins file based on each user's logon domain and name. IEAK 8 includes a sample automated server solution in the Toolkit\Corp folder of your IEAK 8 installation folder that demonstrates this redirection method.

If you use a Web server that supports Active Server Pages (.asp) files, you can modify this sample file to fit your organization's needs.

Changing the location of an .ins file

If you need to move the .ins file that is used for automatic configuration to a different server, you can use IEAK Profile Manager to update the location of the file. When you move the .ins file to its new location, you must also copy (to the same location) the .cab files that have been created in the build folder.

To update the URL for automatic configuration in IEAK Profile Manager, click Wizard Settings, and then click Automatic Brower Configuration. In the Auto-config URL (.ins File) text box, type the new server path.

If you configured the .ins file to update browsers at a specified interval, after updating the URL for automatic configuration in Profile Manager, you must allow two intervals before the change takes effect. Therefore, in addition to saving a copy of the .ins file in its new location, you should save the .ins file in its original location on your server until you are sure that all of your users' configuration settings are updated.

When your users' configuration settings are next scheduled to be updated, the URL for automatic configuration is updated on their computers. At this point, the browser is still using the settings from the original auto-configuration .ins file (for example, http://<existing_path>/Default.ins/).

When users start their browsers a second time and the configuration settings are scheduled to update again, the browser reads the auto-configuration .ins file in its new location (for example, http://<new_path>/Default.ins/). After you are sure that the settings on all users' computers have been updated, you can delete the copy of the auto-configuration .ins file from its original location.

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