You can also use Group Policy Preferences to manage Internet Explorer 10. It’s similar to using Group Policy Settings, but with a couple of gotchas!
In Part 2 of this series, we’ve shown you how to manage Internet Explorer 10 with Group Policy settings. We’ve also given you six steps to successfully deploy Group Policy Objects. Most of these steps apply to Group Policy Preferences, too.
As I’ve mentioned in Part 1, both Group Policy settings and Group Policy Preferences share the distribution method, allowing for a hierarchical approach and WMI filtering, and the management tool: the Group Policy Management Console (gpmc.msc). However, you should be aware of two main differences between Group Policy Settings and Group Policy Preferences:
- The Internet Explorer-related Group Policy Preferences mimic the Internet Options screens from Internet Explorer, where Group Policy Settings use the Group Policy Settings hierarchy.
- Group Policy Preferences can be configured to be applied once, where Group Policy settings are applied at boot and/or logon and are refreshed in the background every 90 to 120 minutes.
Of course, we recommend you to use the same six steps for Group Policy Preferences as you did for Group Policy Settings. These steps can be found in Part 2 of this series.
Managing Internet Explorer 10 with Group Policy Preferences
Although the steps are the same, in step 3, where you configure the Internet Explorer 10 Group Policy Preferences, things are a bit different.
As a best practice tip, don’t combine Group Policy Settings and Group Policy Preferences in the same Group Policy Object. Due to the way Group Policy settings and Group Policy Preferences get applied, combining them will add significantly to the boot and logon times in your environment.
First of all, there are no Internet Explorer-related Group Policy Preferences in the Computer Configuration. You’ll find all the Internet Explorer-related Group Policy Preferences underneath the User Configuration node when you drill down to Preferences and then Control Panel.
There, when you right-click and select New from the context menu, you’ll find yourself breaking out of the Group Policy Hierarchy:
Group Policy Preferences for Internet Explorer
As you can see, within the Internet Explorer-related Group Policy Preferences, you immediately start with a filter: When you create a Group Policy Preferences for Internet Explorer 10, these preferences don’t apply to other versions of Internet Explorer.
Think of all the possibilities…
After you’ve selected the Internet Explorer version you want to manage, you can immediately begin managing settings in the interface that mimics the Internet Options screens of the Internet Explorer version of your choice:
The General Tab of an Internet Explorer 10 Group Policy Preference
Enabling and disabling settings with F5 – F8
As you can see, the tabs are exactly the same as in Internet Explorer, but with added green and dotted red lines underneath individual settings or red and green circles in front of individual settings:
- Settings with green lines underneath them or green circles in front of them get applied.
- Settings with red lines underneath them or red circles in front of them do not get applied.
You can change theses statuses with the F5, F6, F7 and F8 buttons. With F5 you can enable all settings on a tab, while F6 only enables the specific setting you edited last. F8 disables all settings on a tab, while F7 only disables the specific setting you edited last. Press OK when done configuring settings.
Adding Dial-up and Virtual Private Network settings
Although the interface shows the buttons to add and remove dial-up and Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections on the Connections tab, these buttons are greyed out. You cannot add them here. Instead, you can add dial-up and VPN connections through the Networking Options settings in the Control Panel node underneath Preferences in the Computer Configuration or the User Configuration.
The Common Tab is a tab that might not be familiar, because it’s not part of the Internet Options screens. Instead, this tab offers settings for the Group Policy Preference itself. Here, the Apply once and do not reapply setting is the option you select to make the settings in the Group Policy Preferences only apply once.