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Creating Custom Versions with the IEAK

The Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 10 provides step-by-step wizards that you can use to create a package that contains a customized version of Internet Explorer 10.

For more detailed information, see Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) Information and Downloads.

Overview of the IEAK 10

IEAK 10 contains programs and tools to help you customize, deploy, and administer Internet Explorer 10 within your organization or for your customers. In addition, IEAK 10 can be used in network environments with or without Active Directory®. The typical Internet Explorer 10 planning and deployment checklist for organizations using IEAK 10 includes:

  • Assessing your user’s needs.

  • Analyzing your organization's needs.

  • Developing a customization and deployment strategy.

  • Establishing a deployment lab where you can test your deployment strategy.

  • Gathering the URLs, components, and other information you’ll need.

  • Creating a custom Internet Explorer deployment package.

  • Digitally signing the custom cabinet (.cab) files that you create with IEAK 10, and the custom programs that you include (if your users will download your custom browser packages over the Internet).

  • Establishing a pilot group to validate your deployment plan and configurations.

Understanding IEAK 10 components

Before using IEAK 10, you should familiarize yourself with the programs and tools provided to enable you customize and administer Internet Explorer 10 for your organization. IEAK 10 includes the following components and tools:

  • IEAK Help File. The IEAK Help file (ieakhelp.chm) contains detailed information about planning, creating, deploying, and managing custom installations of Internet Explorer 10 using IEAK 10.

  • Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 10. The Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 10 provides step-by-step screens that you can use to create custom packages to deploy and configure Internet Explorer for the users and computers in your organization. If Internet Explorer is already installed, you can also use this wizard to create a package that contains configuration information only.

Using IEAK 10 in a corporate environment

As a corporate administrator, you can save time by centrally administering Internet Explorer 10 installations. When you run the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 10 to create custom browser packages, you can determine:

  • How to install Internet Explorer 10.

  • How to customize the browsing software and Internet Explorer 10 components.

  • What browser and messaging options are available to your users.

You can also set policies and restrictions for the browser through Group Policy, including security, messaging, and desktop settings. These policies and restrictions can help you manage your organization's resources and bandwidth. Does your accounting department have different needs than your marketing department? You can create different profiles that contain settings and restrictions tailored to each department.

To make installation easier for your users, you can configure Internet Explorer 10 so that they can install the browser with few or no setup choices. This type of “silent” setup is often performed after business hours, when employees are not at their desks. You can further control this type of installation by using command-line switches or batch files. Because you are determining setup choices for your users, you can create only one silent install setup option.

If you suppress all user feedback, including responses to error messages and status information, your setup plan must include error handling. If you suppress restarting after installation, you must create a custom program or script to handle restarting and to ensure that Internet Explorer 10 is set up correctly.

When you install Internet Explorer 10, you might also find it convenient to include components you have written, such as virus-checking programs or scripts. You can install up to 16 additional components in a custom browser package.

Internet Explorer Administration Kit 10 (IEAK 10) customization activities

The following sections describe the activities to consider during your Internet Explorer 10 customization and deployment process.

Planning activities

Before you run the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 10, consider performing most of the following steps, based on your organization's needs, license agreement, and environment dependencies.

  • Determine your operating system requirements. Verify that the computer you'll build your package from, as well as the computers on which you'll install your package, meet the hardware and system requirements for IEAK 10 and for Internet Explorer 10.

  • Decide on your distribution method. Decide how you'll distribute your custom package (Windows Update, System Center Configuration Manager, or network). After building a customized package, you must replicate the setup and customization files to the selected media, or to a server computer where your users can access the setup files.

  • Gather the URLs for Home, Search, and Support pages. Create your own Home, Search, and Support pages to provide information to your users. You're prompted for the URLs to these pages when you run the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 10. Consider including corporate standards such as the help desk URL, and other internal sites.

  • Select your build computer. You must select an Internet connected computer on which you can install both Internet Explorer 10 and IEAK 10.

  • Gather branding and custom graphics. You can use custom branding and graphics in your version of Internet Explorer. You can customize the browser toolbar button, and icons for your Favorites list.

  • Identify trusted network servers. You can enable your users to install the custom package from a network server. To do so, you must either lower the level of your intranet security or specify your network servers as trusted sites. Identify those servers that will be used to deploy Internet Explorer packages to your users.

  • Determine automatic detection and configuration settings. You configure your network so that Internet Explorer is automatically customized the first time it is started. This can help reduce administrative overhead and help desk calls about browser settings.

  • Identify custom components for uninstallation. You can specify the uninstallation program for any custom components that you include in your Internet Explorer 10 package. Your users will be able to remove those components later by using Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel.

  • Gather ActiveX controls. You can assess which controls, if any, are appropriate to use within your organization. You may need to gather an inventory of existing ActiveX® controls already in production use.

Building activities

After installing Internet Explorer 10 and the IEAK 10, you must run the Customization Wizard from the Windows Start menu. You’ll use the components and settings you identified in the planning phase, here.

  • Prepare your build computer. Create the build environment on the computer you'll use to build the custom browser package.

  • Create branding and custom graphics. Prepare these files before you create the custom package. You can customize the browser toolbar button, and icons for the Favorites list.

  • Specify your network servers as trusted. To enable your users to install the custom package from a network server, you must either lower the level of your intranet security or specify your network servers as trusted sites.

  • Enable automatic detection and configuration of browser settings. Configure your network so that Internet Explorer is automatically customized the first time it is started. This can help reduce administrative overhead and help desk calls about browser settings.

  • Configure custom components for uninstallation. Create and use a custom .inf file to register the uninstallation program for any custom components included in your Internet Explorer 10 package. Your users will be able to remove those components later by using Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel.

  • Configure ActiveX controls. You can add any new supported controls by editing the Axaa.adm file directly with any text editor.

  • Create a custom browser package. Use the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 10 to create custom packages that include customized versions of the installation tools, Internet Explorer code, and additional components necessary to deploy Internet Explorer to your organization or customers.

Creating a custom browser package

The IEAK 10 experience is driven by multiple wizards. On these wizard pages, you are prompted for information about the type and scope of the custom package that you want to create. The custom package installs and configures Internet Explorer 10. The following are the core phases of running the IEAK 10:

  • Gathering information. Identify and specify the file locations, platforms, language, media, and features identified during your planning process.

  • Specifying setup parameters. Control how to download the most up-to-date version of Internet Explorer 10, identify other components to include in the package, and specify installation defaults.

  • Customizing the setup experience. Specify the setup functions for the custom package for your users, including any release notes and the level of user interaction.

  • Customize the browser. In this section of IEAK 10, you’ll apply most of the settings determined during your planning phase.

  • Additional customizations. Specify settings for access to browser features for the custom Internet Explorer 10 package.

Using additional deployment tools

When you use the Windows Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 10 to build your custom browser, you may want to use additional tools as part of the deployment process. Consider the following applications and how you can use them to support your deployment of Internet Explorer 10:

  • Microsoft Systems Management Software. System Center Configuration Manager and Systems Management Software (SMS) can help automate a large-scale deployment of Internet Explorer 10. This automated installation requires little or no intervention from you or your users. You can create a deployment package that contains all the Internet Explorer 10 installation files, and a package definition (.sms) file that defines how Internet Explorer 10 is installed on your users' computers. Then, you can create a job to distribute your package to users' computers.

  • Group Policy. Internet Explorer 10 can be distributed through Group Policy. However, you must first encapsulate the executable file in a .msi package. For more information about Internet Explorer 10 and Group Policy, see the Managing Browser Settings with Group Policy Tools topic in this deployment guide.

  • Windows Update. Internet Explorer 10 is provided through Windows Update as a high priority installation package. If your users have direct access to Windows Update, this provides an upgrade path. The Internet Explorer 10 Blocker Toolkit enables IT administrators to disable automatic delivery of Internet Explorer 10 through Windows Update.

  • Windows System Update Services. By using this tool, you can maintain complete control of which packages are distributed to your users.

  • Network shared folder. Use IEAK 10 to create an installation package and make it available to users in a network shared folder. Users can install Internet Explorer 10 by accessing the shared folder and running the executable file. You can provide a link to the file in an email message or from a webpage. This may or may not require additional engineering if your users do not have local administrative rights on their computers.

Maintenance activities

After you install Internet Explorer 10 on your corporate computers, you have several options for managing these settings:

  • Master .ins file. By storing a master .ins file on a server and downloading the file each time you log on to the network, you can adjust user option settings on an ongoing basis. By directly editing logon scripts, you can manage and regularly update settings from a centralized server.

  • Administrative templates in Group Policy. For computers running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows® 8.

  • Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP). You can use the Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) snap-in to view the policy settings that you created. Start the RSOP.msc file to evaluate locally applied settings.

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