If you want to manage even the smallest Internet Explorer settings in any infrastructure environment, IEAK 10 is your tool of choice.

The Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) has been available for previous versions of Internet Explorer since Internet Explorer 6. In Part 4 of this series, we’re looking at the latest Internet Explorer Administration Kit: version 10, specifically released to manage Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.

About the IEAK 10

The Internet Explorer Administration Kit is the most elaborate Internet Explorer management method, both for Internet Explorer installations on domain-joined computers, as for computers outside of the domain. Thus, it is the ideal fit for Bring-Your-Own (BYO*) environments, where hardware may not be part of the owned and managed infrastructure, but colleagues need specific settings to connect to the infrastructure.

Downloading the IEAK

In contrast to the Group Policy Settings and Group Policy Preferences discussed in Part 2 and Part 3 of this series, the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) needs to be downloaded.

You can download the Internet Explorer Administration Kit installer (ieak.msi) from here. It is available in many languages and is around 1.71 MB in size.

Installing the IEAK

It is a best practice to install the Internet Explorer Administration Kit on a reference computer with the Operating System and Internet Explorer version you want to customize. This way you can use the Import buttons to fill in many settings fields.

Installing the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) is as straightforward as any other Windows program. You see a Welcome page, accept to acknowledge the EULA, choose where you (don’t) want bits on your disk(s), click through screens with a Next button, and at the end of the installation you get to press Finish. Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all…

One screen in the Internet Explorer Administration Kit, however, is important. It’s the Choose License Type screen. The Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) contains two license modes. You need to choose between these two modes when you install the Internet Explorer Administration Kit:

IEAK 10 - Choose License type

IEAK 10 - Choose License type


1. External mode
The external mode allows you to set most settings and the IEAK license enables you to distribute your custom package to anyone. This distribution mode is ideal for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Content Providers and Developers.

2. Internal mode
In internal mode, you can customize additional settings, like the search guide URL, First Run wizard and welcome page settings. However, the license only allows you to distribute packages to colleagues and you may not distribute your package to a third party.
Although the Installer only displays “via a Corporate Intranet”, many more options are available to distribute the Customization packages to computers and users.

Using the IEAK

IEAK 10 - Internet Explorer Customization Wizard tyleWhen you choose the Internal Distribution via a Corporate Intranet mode in the installer, your Windows 8 Start Screen will feature a new Tile, called the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard. This is the Wizard that allows you to create custom Internet Explorer 10 setup and settings packages. The custom Internet Explorer 10 setup packages aren’t that useful, since Internet Explorer 10 is preinstalled on Windows 8 and Full installations of Windows Server 2012, but the settings packages are a real treat.

The Internet Explorer Customization Wizard is a 25-screen wizard, detailing all the settings for Internet Explorer 10. If the business requirements only cover a couple of settings, you can deselect the screens you don’t want to configure on the Feature Selection screen:

IEAK 10 - Feature selection

The Feature Selection Screen of the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard

The options you keep checked on this screen all display a screen in the wizard, allowing you to:

Specify the user experience during installation of Internet Explorer 10 (Interactive, Hands-free or Completely silent) and Restart Options (Default, No restart and Force restart) on the User Experience screen,

  • Customize the Title Bar and specify additional buttons that appear on the toolbar of Internet Explorer on the Browser User Interface screen.
  • Create a list of Search Providers and set the default Search Provider on the Search Providers screen.
  • Add a home page and set an online support page URL on the Important URLs screen.
  • Add a list of Internet Explorer accelerators your colleagues can use with Internet Explorer on the Accelerators screen.
  • Add folders and URLS to favorites, the Favorites Bar and RSS feeds on the Favorites, Favorites Bar and Feeds screen. Additionally, you can disable Suggested Sites here.
  • Remove the default favorites, web slices and links, feeds and accelerators from Internet Explorer on the Browsing Options screen.
  • Disable the Internet Explorer 10 First Run Wizard and overrule the Internet Explorer Welcome Page on the First Run Wizard and Welcome Page Options screen.
  • Set Internet Explorer 10 in Internet Explorer 7 mode on the Compatibility View screen.
  • Import dial-up and Virtual Private Networking (VPN) connections on the Connection Settings screen.
  • Disable Automatic Configuration and/or Point to an *.ins file on the Corporate Intranet on the Automatic Configuration screen.
  • Enable proxy server settings on the Proxy Settings screen.
  • Import security zones and privacy settings and import custom content ratings on the Security and Privacy Settings screen.
  • Import customized default program settings for the HTML-editor, E-mail Newsgroups, Internet call, Calendar and Contact list on the Programs screen.

And if that doesn’t enable you to make the changes you want, there’s also the Additional Settings screen that enables you to change all those small settings buried deep in Internet Explorer:

IEAK 10 - Additional Settings

The Additional Settings screen in the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard

Distributing packages

When you’re done creating your custom settings package, it appears in the location you specified on the File Locations screen at the beginning of the Wizard. In the various subfolders of your build location, the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard has left three distinct configuration packages:

  1. Executables (*.exe files)
  2. Microsoft Installers (*.msi files)
  3. Internet Setting files (*.ins files)

You can use the executables to configure Internet Explorer 10 on devices by letting your colleagues double-click them. Admittedly, not the most elegant way and certainly not the most security-conscious one, but something that might just be what you need.

The Microsoft Installers are a real treat. These can be distributed with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, System Center Configuration Manager or your favorite management solution. Also, you can assign it to computers and users, using the Software Installation functionality that is part of Group Policy Settings.

The Internet Settings files are in a class of their own. These files can be placed on your Corporate Intranet, can be placed in the SIGNUP folder of any Internet Explorer installation and can be fed to Internet Explorer using rundll32.exe iedkcs32.dll,BrandInternetExplorer /ins:<Ins file location>.

Also read the 4sysops IEAK tutorial.

  1. JPMO 7 years ago

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been unable to get IE11 to take the configuration-only customization as generated by the IEAK. I’ve tried running the rundll32 command and manually specifying the .ins in the automatic configuration script, but it doesn’t apply. Looking at the .ins file, I notice that there isn’t anything that references the branding.cab file that is also generated. I’ve placed the cab file (as well as extracted all contents) in the same directory as the .ins file, but this doesn’t help. Per the ins file spec, I’ve tried adding the CabsURLPath parameter, which did not work either. Any tricks to this?

  2. Bryan 7 years ago

    IEAK 10 is not available at microsoft site anymore. would you be able to give me a copy?

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