Enterprise Software

Prevent the automatic delivery of Windows Internet Explorer 9 in Windows 7

In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, Greg Shultz shows you how to use the Internet Explorer 9 Blocker Toolkit to prevent the automatic delivery of Internet Explorer 9 on a Windows 7 system.

As you may know, Microsoft is touting Internet Explorer 9 as the best thing since sliced bread. It's supposed to be very fast, very secure, and very contemporary with all sorts of fancy bells and whistles. For the most part, these claims are true. However, not all Web sites or browser-based applications are compatible with Windows Internet Explorer 9, so there are a lot of folks who would like to hold off on upgrading to this new version.

Unfortunately, the default delivery mechanism for Internet Explorer 9, Windows Update, treats the new browser version as an important update, as shown in Figure A, and automatically flags it for installation. As such, it could very easily be installed inadvertently. Fortunately, for those of you who want to prevent that possibility, Microsoft has created the Internet Explorer 9 Blocker Toolkit.

Figure A

By default, Windows Internet Explorer 9 is marked as an important update and flagged for installation.

In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, I'll show you how to use the Internet Explorer 9 Blocker Toolkit to prevent the automatic delivery of Internet Explorer 9 on a Windows 7 system.

Note: Environments managed with an update management solution such as Windows Server Update Services or Systems Management Server do not need to use the Blocker Toolkit. The ability to manage deployment of updates, including Internet Explorer 9, is built in.

A note on Internet Explorer 9 installation

Before I get started, I need to clarify my comment about the inadvertent installation on Internet Explorer 9. Of course, Internet Explorer 9 will not install automatically, but because it is flagged as an important update and the check box is selected, you will be automatically prompted to install it unless you continually clear the check box. If the check box remains selected, you will see a dialog box that offers you the choices of Install, Ask Me Later, and Don't Install, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Before it actually installs, Internet Explorer 9 displays a prompt.

If you do not pay close attention, you could inadvertently choose the Install option. Internet Explorer 9 Blocker Toolkit will prevent that scenario from occurring.

Getting the Blocker Toolkit

Once you download the Internet Explorer 9 Blocker Toolkit, you'll see that you have a simple executable file named IE9_BlockerToolkit.exe. When you double-click the file, you will be prompted to accept the EULA. Just click Yes and you'll be prompted to choose where you want to place the extracted files, as shown in Figure C. Use the Browse button to select a location and then click OK.

Figure C

You'll be prompted to choose where you want to place the extracted files.

You'll then find the following four files in the folder that you selected:

Table A

IE9_Blocker.cmd Script for use on individual systems
IE9_Blocker.adm Group Policy Administrative Template
IE9_BlockerHelp.htm Help system
IE9_BlockerHelp-GPFilteringDialog.jpg Image displayed in Help

Using the Blocker Toolkit

The Group Policy Administrative Template is designed to allow Windows administrators to use Group Policy to centrally manage the blocking or unblocking of the automatic delivery of Internet Explorer 9 across various systems in their environment via the Group Policy Object.

The Group Policy Administrative Template can also be added to the Local Group Policy Editor in certain versions of Windows 7 and be used to block the automatic delivery of Internet Explorer 9 on individual systems. This includes Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and Windows 7 Enterprise.

Users of Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Premium will have to use the Internet Explorer 9 Blocker script.

The Group Policy Administrative Template

Adding the Group Policy Administrative Template to the Local Group Policy Editor is a straightforward procedure but involves more steps than using the script. Even so, some of you may prefer to use a GUI rather than a script.

To begin, launch the Local Group Policy Editor by clicking the Start button, typing gpedit.msc in the Start Search box, and pressing [Enter]. Next, expand the Computer Configuration branch of the console tree, right-click Administrative Templates, and select Add/Remove Templates, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

After you right-click Administrative Templates, select Add/Remove Templates.
When you see the Add/Remove Templates dialog box, click the Add button and then locate the IE9_Blocker.adm file, as shown in Figure E. Then, click Open to add the template and then click the Close button to close the Add/Remove Templates dialog box. When you do, you'll see the Classic Administrative Templates folder inside Administrative Templates.

Figure E

After you click the Add button, locate the IE9_Blocker.adm file.
Now open the Classic Administrative Templates folder and drill down to the Automatic Updates Blockers v3 folder, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F

You'll now find the Internet Explorer 9 blocker setting in the Local Group Policy Editor.
At this point, double-click the new setting to bring up the Do Not Allow Delivery of Internet Explorer 9 through Automatic Updates dialog box, shown in Figure G. Then, select the Enabled radio button, click OK, and close the Local Group Policy Editor. To complete the operation, restart your system. When you do, Internet Explorer 9 will be moved from the Important section of Windows Update to the Optional section.

Figure G

When you select the Enabled radio button and restart your system, Internet Explorer 9 will not be available as an Automatic Update.

The script

Using the script is easy. Just open an Administrator Command Prompt by clicking the Start button, typing cmd in the Start Search box, and pressing [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Enter] to run with administrator rights. Respond to the UAC. Then type the command

ie9_blocker /b
as shown in Figure H. To complete the operation, restart your system. When you do, Internet Explorer 9 will be moved from the Important section of Windows Update to the Optional section.

Figure H

Internet Explorer 9 is now optional.

What's your take?

Now that Internet Explorer 9 is flagged as Optional, you won't have to worry about it inadvertently being installed because it is flagged as an Important. However, at a later point in time, you can go to the Optional section of Windows Update and install Internet Explorer 9.

Will you use the Internet Explorer 9 Blocker Toolkit? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

Addendum

On several, but not all, of my Windows 7 systems, I have discovered that Internet Explorer 9 does not appear in the Optional section of Windows update. It is completely blocked, which actually makes sense.

If that happens to you and at a later date you want to install Internet Explorer 9, you can simply unblock the update. To do so from the the Local Group Policy Editor, just select the Disabled option. To do so with the script, just use the command

ie9_blocker /u

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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