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Customize Internet Explorer 8 for clients using IEAK

Help clients customize their browser environment with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8. Susan Harkins suggests using the Internet Explorer Administration Kit for the customization process.

 Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) is out. Its new features probably won't convert non-IE users, but it does offer some improvements over IE 7. Corporate users in particular will be interested in the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK), which makes it easy to customize IE 8 -- and that's where you come in.

Whether you offer this service as a free added-value task or charge for it, check with your clients to see how they might benefit from a customized browser environment. There are several easy selling points, which include the following:

  • IEAK is free.
  • It's available for ISPs, Web sites, software providers, and businesses. IEAK Corporate Version provides the highest level of customization.
  • The Corporate Version lets you control and lock IE 8's security settings. This is a big plus for all companies, not just large ones, so don't let the corporate tag distract you. Your small clients can benefit from easier to manage security.

The kit's Customization Wizard will walk you through the customization process. You don't need my help for that, but I do have a few time-saving tips to offer:

  • Ideally, you'll want to run the kit on a system that is similar to the corporate environment you're supporting because the kit retrieves information from the system. For that reason, the system you run the kit on should have the same add-ons, search providers, and Favorites that you want to install with the client's custom installation.
  • Early in the process, the wizard will let you identify the browser features you want to customize. You might be tempted to skip this step but don't; by deselecting features that you don't intend to change, you can reduce the number of subsequent steps.
  • Use the Automatic Version Synchronization feature to automatically download and install updates.
  • If you're installing via a CD, use the Auto-Run option.
  • For better or worse, you must run the Customization Wizard for each version of Windows that you support for your clients. In other words, if a client has several versions running, you'll need a separate customization for each version.

Would any of your clients benefit from a customized browser environment? If so, do you think you'll use the IEAK for clients who use IE? Share your thoughts in the discussion.

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About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

3 comments
Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

Even though IE8 seems to be a massive improvement over earlier versions, Microsoft's history of peeing in the pool has long since sent most of my clients scrambling out of the water for the warmth and safety of Firefox. How about yours?

Aakash Shah
Aakash Shah

Most still use IE in our organization. I find it easier to lock down with Group Policies and combining that protection with Data Execution Protection (DEP) and Protected Mode in Vista+ makes it a win for me. Also, IE is easier to update and doesn't cause problems with non-admin users. FireFox has problems attempting to update when using non-admin accounts. Also, there are no built in GP's available for FireFox and also no easy way to automatically schedule updates. Having said all of that, I personally use FF because of the add-ons available through FF.

ssharkins
ssharkins

Most are still using IE. I tried using Firefox myself for awhile -- researching. :) It ate itself and I've never bothered to reinstall it. However, I did like it!