Standardizing the browser using Group Policy

by Shijaz Abdulla on 14.03.2012 at 22:18

Internet Explorer 9 is undoubtedly the most secure browser for your Windows client environment. Internet Explorer protects you from five times more socially engineered malware than other browsers. Users are four times more likely to be socially engineered into downloading malware than they are to fall victim to a software exploit, according to Network World.

For corporate customers, standardizing on a single, secure, IE browser in your organization is a good idea because:

  • it saves you developer overhead in making your internal web applications supported on multiple browser platforms
  • it saves you administrative overhead as your helpdesk does not need to support your applications on multiple browsers.
  • it improves security as you can manage patches centrally, concentrating on a single browser.
  • it reduces complexity – browsers like Mozilla Firefox release a new version every month, thereby putting you in an endless loop of testing your applications for compatibility with every release (click here to see an illustration)

You can use Group Policy to enforce Internet Explorer as the default browser for your users. You will need an account that has permissions to modify and apply group policies.

  1. On your domain controller, or a machine that has the Administrative Tools installed, open the Start menu, go into the "Administrative Tools" folder and select "Group Policy Management."
  2. Right-click on your primary Group Policy Object from the list on the left side of the window and choose the "Edit" option. This will launch the Group Policy Object Editor tool.
  3. Open the "User Configuration" and "Windows Settings" containers.
  4. Right-click on the entry labeled "Internet Explorer Maintenance" and select "Preference Mode."
  5. Double-click on the "Programs (Preference Mode)" icon to view the additional Internet Explorer settings.
  6. Click on the radio button next to "Import the Current Program Settings" and then press "Modify Settings."
  7. Click on the "Make Default" button in the "Default web browser" section of the window.
  8. Press "OK" twice to save the Group Policy Object settings. Now Internet Explorer will automatically be the default browser for all computers on the local network.

Click to enlarge

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