Centrally Control IE 7.0 Settings With Vista's Administrative Template

Executive Summary:

Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 offers many features, including the ability to centrally control its settings. One IT professional centrally controlled the RSS settings in Internet Explorer 7.0 by using Vista's Administrative Template files and Group Policy. Here are the steps he took.

One of my clients recently upgraded the browsers on all its workstations from Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0 to IE 7.0. One reason why the client decided to perform the upgrade was because IE 7.0 lets you centrally control settings. Specifically, the client was interested in the centralized control of IE’s RSS feature, so the client asked me to implement a solution to provide this control.

After doing some research, I decided to install Windows Vista’s Administrative Template files on the existing domain controller (DC) running Windows Server 2003 Active Directory (AD) and administer the RSS settings through Group Policy. Vista’s Administrative Template differs from its predecessors’ Administrative Template. Vista replaces the .adm file with a pair of files: an XMLbased .admx file and a language-specific .adml file. You store these files in what is called a central store. Here’s how I implemented the solution:

1. I set up a central store on the existing DC by creating a new %systemroot%\sysvol\domain\policies PolicyDefinitions folder, where domain is the domain’s name. Under the newly created folder, I created a subfolder named %systemroot%\sysvol domain\policies\PolicyDefinitions en-US.
2. I copied InetRes.admx from the %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions InetRes.admx folder on my Vista system to the %systemroot%\sysvol domain\policies\PolicyDefinitions folder on the DC. This Administrative Template, which is one of many, is specifically for IE 7.0 settings.
3. I copied the %systemroot% PolicyDefinitions\en-US\InetRes .adml file from my Vista system to the %systemroot%\sysvol\domain policies\PolicyDefinitions\en-US folder on the DC.
4. I ran Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) from my Vista workstation and created a new policy that contained the RSS settings the client wanted.
5. Using the Administrative Template, I applied the policy to the client’s workstations.

If you want to learn more about Vista’s Administrative Template files, check out the Microsoft articles “Dig into New Group Policy Templates in Windows Vista” (www.microsoft.com/technet/technetmag/issues/2007/02/Templates/default.aspx) and “New Format and Functionality of Administrative Template Files (ADMX)” (technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/ea452d9f-2aca-46ef-9df4-4a5abea147371033.mspx?mfr=true).

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