Utility Spotlight: Build your own Internet Explorer 10 installation
The Internet Explorer Administration Kit 10 can help you create and configure your own customized build of Internet Explorer 10.
If you’re considering rolling out Internet Explorer 10, you’ll probably want to build and deploy your own customized version. The best tool for that job is the Internet Explorer Administration Kit 10 (IEAK 10).
Creating an installation package with IEAK ensures that all your Internet Explorer 10 deployments will have the same features and settings. This helps you support and maintain a consistent browser environment. You can also lock down key security and privacy settings so your users can’t change them.
On the client side, IEAK 10 supports Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8. Internet Explorer 10 itself isn’t compatible with Windows XP or Windows Vista. A Windows 7 build can include the entire installation of Internet Explorer 10. You can only apply your customizations to a Windows 8 build, as it already comes with Internet Explorer 10.
Like previous versions, IEAK leads you through the process of designing your build with the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard. There’s a Help button available on all screens. You can click on this to launch a Help page on each screen’s specific settings. The Microsoft Web site also offers an overview of IEAK 10, an online documentation page and an FAQ page. You may find it helpful to review these pages before you create your build so you’ll know how to configure the various features and settings.
You can also use IEAK 10 to update settings and permissions for Internet Explorer 10 through an Internet settings (INS) file. Deploying an INS file can be useful for those who can’t or don’t want to use Group Policy to manage Internet Explorer. This article covers how to use IEAK 10 to create your build. Next month, I’ll cover how to use an INS file or Group Policy to maintain and update Internet Explorer 10.
Select a test PC on which you’ll install IEAK 10 and create your build. The test PC should be running the same version of Windows that’s installed throughout your organization. Before you can use IEAK 10, you’ll need to install Internet Explorer 10 itself. IEAK uses certain components from the installed browser to generate the build. You can download Internet Explorer 10 from the Microsoft download page.
After you’ve installed Internet Explorer 10, download IEAK 10 from its own download page. Run the downloaded ieak.msi file. On the third screen of the IEAK 10 installation, you’ll have to choose which license mode you wish to use:
- External Distribution as an ISP
- Content Provider
- Internal Distribution via a Corporate Intranet
Assuming you’re creating the package for internal users at your organization, choose Internet Distribution via a Corporate Intranet. At the next screen, enter your company name. The installation will proceed and complete on its own. In Windows 7, launch the tool by opening its folder from the Start menu programs area. Then click on the shortcut for Internet Explorer Customization Wizard. In Windows 8, you can kick off the wizard through its Start screen tile.
Build your package
Creating and customizing your build is a matter of choosing or entering the appropriate settings on each screen of the Customization Wizard. Here’s a look at the process of developing an actual package.
At the File Locations screen, confirm the destination folder in which you want to store the build. The default is c:\builds[current date], although you can change that. At the Platform Selection screen, choose your OS: Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8 and 32-bit or 64 bit (see Figure 1). At the Language Selection screen, choose your local language.
Figure 1 You first must select the platform on which you’ll run Internet Explorer 10.
The Package Type Selection screen will ask you what type of package you want to create. Choose the Full Installation Package option if you’re running Windows 7 SP1 and your client PCs don’t have Internet Explorer 10 yet (see Figure 2). Choose the Configuration-only package if you’re designing a build for Windows 8 in which Internet Explorer 10 is already installed.
Figure 2 Your OS will determine if you need to perform a full install.
At the Feature Selection screen, choose the features you’d like to customize. If you aren’t sure, simply leave all the features selected. At the screen labeled Automatic Version Synchronization, click on Run when you see the dialog box asking you to run Internet Explorer 10. Then click the Synchronize button to ensure your PC’s current installation of Internet Explorer 10 receives the latest update files (see Figure 3).
Figure 3 Synchronize your Internet Explorer 10 files to receive the latest updates.
At the Custom Components screen, you can add any additional installations or updates you may want to tack onto your Internet Explorer 10 install. At the Internal Install screen, select whether you want your users to choose the default browser or be able to set another browser as the default. At the User Experience screen, you can select the type of installation. The choices are Interactive, Hands-free or Completely Silent (see Figure 4). You can also determine if and how you want the PC to reboot after Internet Explorer 10 is installed.
Figure 4 Choose the type of installation you want to configure.
You can customize the title bars at the Browser User Interface screen. You can also delete existing toolbar buttons. At the Search Providers screen, enter the names of the search engines you wish to make available, such as Bing or Google. At the Important URLs screen, enter the URL for the default homepage or homepages. At the Accelerators screen, you can import or add any accelerators you want.
At the Favorites screen, set up your Internet Explorer 10 favorites, favorites bar and RSS feeds. At the Browsing Options screen, you can delete existing favorites and disable adding certain default Microsoft sites. At the First Run Wizard screen, you can opt to display the First Run wizard for your users and set your own customized Welcome Page (see Figure 5). At the Compatibility View screen, you decide whether to run Internet Explorer 10 in standard mode or in the Internet Explorer 7 compatibility view.
Figure 5 You can also set the First Run wizard and Welcome Page options.
The Connection Manager lets you customize the browser’s Connection Manager as needed. At the Connection Settings screen, you can import connection settings from your current installation of Internet Explorer 10.
The Automatic Configuration screen appears next. Here, you can set the name and location for an INS file via an HTTP path (see Figure 6). You’ll have to do this if you plan to use an INS file to manage and update Internet Explorer 10 settings. Store the INS file on an internal Web server with an .ins extension. You can give it whatever file name you wish. At this stage, you’ll already know where you want to store the file and what you plan to name it.
Figure 6 The Automatic Configuration screen lets you adjust the automatic settings.
At the Proxy Settings screen, set up your proxy server address. At the Security and Privacy Settings screen, you can import the settings from your current Internet Explorer 10 installation. At the Programs screen, you can do the same. Finally, at the Additional Settings screen (see Figure 7), you can fine-tune a range of browser settings, including security, browsing history, temporary Internet files and language options.
Figure 7 The Additional Settings screen lets you do some detailed fine-tuning.
Now you’re done with the wizard. Click Next at the Wizard Complete page to generate your build in the appropriate folder. Once the build is created, click Finish to close IEAK.
Set up and test your package
Now it’s time to test your Internet Explorer 10 build. Open Windows Explorer to browse to the builds folder. You’ll find a series of subfolders. Assuming you created a full Internet Explorer 10 installation for Windows 7 SP1, drill down through the Flat subfolder until you find the IE10-Setup-Full .exe and .msi files.
If you just created a Configuration-only package for use with Windows 8, you’ll find a BrndOnly folder instead of a Flat folder. Drill down through the BrndOnly folder until you see the IE10-Setup-Branding .exe and .msi files.
Go back to the builds folder. This time, drill down through the INS folder until you find the install.ins file. This is the INS file you’ll need to copy to your Web server. Use this to maintain the browser settings if you don’t plan to use Group Policy.
You’ll now want to test your Internet Explorer 10 build. Copy the entire builds folder to a network share. Copy the install.ins file to the Web server you specified when you created the package. Be sure to give it the same name you specified as well.
Log onto a test PC that doesn’t have Internet Explorer 10 installed. Open a command prompt, navigate to the builds folder on your network share and run the Internet Explorer 10 setup .exe or .msi file. You can also specify a command-line option for either the .exe or .msi file.
Type the name of the .exe or .msi followed by a /? to see a list of options (see Figure 8). You may prefer to use the .msi file because it offers a greater variety of command-line options.
Figure 8 You’ll have command-line options for testing purposes.
After you’ve installed Internet Explorer 10, open the browser and review all the features and settings to confirm your customizations are in place. After you’ve tested your build sufficiently, you can use a login script or other deployment method to roll out your Internet Explorer 10 package to your organization.
Now Internet Explorer 10 is installed on all of your networked PCs. But what if you need to change a setting in the browser and propagate that to all of your users? That’s when you rely on your INS file or Group Policy, which I’ll cover next month.
Lance Whitney is a writer, IT consultant and software trainer. He’s spent countless hours tweaking Windows workstations and servers. Originally a journalist, he took a blind leap into the IT world in the early ’90s.