This article explains how to disable Internet Explorer enhanced security in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 by turning off IE ESC in Server Manager.

Michael Pietroforte

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor in chief of 4sysops. He has more than 35 years of experience in IT management and system administration.

One of the first things I usually do when I install a new Windows Server in a test environment, is to turn off Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration (IE ESC). I am talking about this little prompts that get on your nerves whenever you open a website in Internet Explorer on a Windows Server. I described how to disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security in Windows Server 2003 a while back. Since it is one of the popular articles here on 4syosps and because the procedure is different on Windows Server 2008, I decided to post a follow-up to save you from this constant security prompts.

Disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Windows Server 2008 R2 - IE

Usually, when you explain publicly how to turn off a security feature you will be confronted with protests in a moralizing undertone. Feel free to do this in a comment box below. I appreciate all kinds of objections. But let me explain first why I think that disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security is a good thing to do.

First of all, one shouldn’t open web pages on production server, anyway. So the best way to enhance security would be if one could uninstall IE entirely. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t allow this, though IE ESC comes very close to a disabled Internet Explorer. Not because it really enhances security, but because it makes IE literally useless.

I just tried to access Microsoft’s homepage on a freshly installed Windows Server 2008. I had to click about ten times on this security prompt until the page was finally displayed. If you decide not to add the site to the trusted sites zone you might get away with just six clicks. If you click on any link the click orgy will usually start again. On other sites it might even be worse. I wonder who really uses IE on a server this way. And, I seriously doubt, that those who really do, know what they are actually adding to their trusted site zones all the time.

Anyway, my recommendation is to use Opera if you really have to access web pages on a productive server. This browser is more secure than IE or Firefox because the bad guys usually only focus on popular browsers.

Disable Internet Explorer Enhanced.Security.Windows Server 2008 R2 - Server Manager

In a test environment, where one doesn’t need this extra security, it makes sense to just disable Internet Explorer Enhanced Security. In Windows Server 2003, one has to uninstall the corresponding Windows Component. In Windows Server 2008, this doesn’t work anymore. You have to click on the root folder in Server Manager. Then you scroll down to the Security Information Section and click “Configure IE ESC”. You can turn off IE ESC for Administrators and/or for users. The latter probably only makes sense in a Terminal Server environment.

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55 Comments
  1. Carlyle 4 years ago

    Thank you very helpful!!
    A very annoying feature for Microsoft to enable on a server.

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  2. Alex 4 years ago

    Michael, you are my hero!

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  3. Marie M 4 years ago

    The information is helpful and fantastic !!! keep give us more info!
    Thanks God bless you!

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  4. mitch 3 years ago

    Thank you Michael , I didn't know how to get rid of it. unfortunately sometime you do need a web browser for updates and if you need to access your server remotely you must have internet connection to the server. just dont surf the web with the server.

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  5. mangesh 3 years ago

    hello sir i am using server 2008 i have one problem on the internet explorer enable security their is

    one issue i was trying to open site on the server2008 on internet  explorer but there open wrong format of the web site home page  and i was also trying it to another pc it will work properly so please any one can help me

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