Customizing Internet Explorer 11 using the IEAK

I was having a discussion with my manager about Internet Explorer 11 and its “Enterprise Mode” recently when I had the idea for a couple of posts on this subject. I thought I’d start off with customizing IE using the IE Administration Kit (IEAK) and then move onto configuring Enterprise Mode using Group Policy in a follow-up post.

There’s not really much to the admin kit and customizing IE is a pretty straightforward process. Let’s take a look at the process here.

Install the IE Administration Kit (IEAK)

Download the IEAK from Microsoft and proceed with the installation. The installation wizard is pretty self-explanatory. Be sure to select the correct licence type as shown below:

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Download the Prerequisite Updates for IE11

Download the prerequisite updates from Microsoft and save them all in one directory. Extract each update package one by one using something like 7-Zip which will give us the .cab cabinet file which we’ll bake into our IE11 installer later on.

Here’s an example of an update package after it’s been extracted. Note that we need the cabinet file with the same name as the update.

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Customize IE using the IEAK

Launch the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard from Start > Windows IEAK 11

A lot of the screens in the wizard are self-explanatory so I won’t provide screenshots for them all here.

1) Select the destination folder where you want the final IE11 installer to be saved

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2) Select the target OS/platform you want this customized IE to be installed on

3) Select the language to localise your IE installation

4) Select “Full Installation Package” if you’ll be upgrading from a previous version of IE on your target platform.

If you already have IE11 installed on your target platform and only want to customize it then select “Configuration-only package”.

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5) Select which features of IE you want to customize

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6) In the next wizard pane click on the Synchronize button to download the latest version of IE

7) The Custom Components pane is where you will add the prerequisite updates which you downloaded and extracted earlier. Click on the Add button

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Select the cabinet file extracted from the first update package and give the package a name. I just stuck with the name of the update package as it was downloaded.

Make sure to choose “Install before Internet Explorer”

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Do the same for the rest of the update packages (select the .cab file in each case).

8) Select whether to allow the user to choose IE as their default browser

9) Decide on the end user experience during the installation.

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10) You may choose to customize the IE title bar by adding your own organisation’s name.

You can also add your own button in IE.

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Despite what this says here the browse dialog only lets you select exes to run when clicked on the button.

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(If you have a batch file or scripot you want to run instead you can quickly package it as an exe using the IExpress.exe wizard found in C:\Windows\System32 and then use that here instead)

11) In the search providers screen, click on Add

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Enter the following details to add Google as a search provider

URL: https://www.google.com/search?q={searchTerms}&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:{language}:{referrer:source}&ie={inputEncoding?}&oe={outputEncoding?}

Favicon URL: https://www.google.com/favicon.ico

Search Suggestions URL: https://www.google.com/complete/search?q={searchTerms}&client=ie8&mw={ie:maxWidth}&sh={ie:sectionHeight}&rh={ie:rowHeight}&inputencoding={inputEncoding}&outputencoding={outputEncoding}

You should end up with something like this:

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Choose whether to set Google as the default. And then click on Next

12) I would suggest retaining the previous Home Page if you’re upgrading older versions of IE to avoid users complaining about their home page being changed without their consent.

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13) Add websites to the favourites as you see fit

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14) Again, I wouldn’t recommend deleting any existing favorites if you’re upgrading IE on an end user’s computer

15) Choose your first run and welcome page

16) For compatibility view it is recommended to select Use Compatibility View (IE 7 mode). With this setting if a website only works with an earlier version of IE then IE will present itself in IE 7 mode (when Compatibility view is enabled) so the website will function as expected.

(A good example of such a website is the IOL Phase Forward website at https://iol.phaseforward.com)

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17) Make any changes in the Additional Settings page as you see fit

18) At the end of it all the wizard will create the IE11 installation file with all your customizations baked in

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The final full installer can be found in the FLAT folder where you’ll find both .exe and .msi package.

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In the next post we’ll take a look at creating a collection in SCCM to deploy our customized IE11 followed by a post on how to configure Enterprise Mode using Group Policy.

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