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Remove the Internet Explorer Content Advisor Password

Users wanting to disable the Internet Explorer Content Advisor will sometimes find they have forgotten the required password.

This article was originally published on June 3, 2004, but the registry hack is the same for Internet Explorer 8. This blog post is available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download.

Problem

The Content Advisor in Internet Explorer is a fine example of good intentions sometimes leading to undesirable consequences. As users surf the Web under the watchful Content Advisor's eye, there will likely come a point where the restrictions imposed will become undesirable, even if only temporarily. However, users wanting to disable the Content Advisor will sometimes find themselves barred from making changes because they have forgotten the required password (Figure A). Fortunately, this annoying little problem can be solved quickly with a Windows Registry edit.

Figure A

Now what was that password again?

Solution

Removing the Internet Explorer Content Advisor Password from its Windows Registry key will disable all the restrictions. If you have ever edited the Windows Registry, the procedure will seem quite familiar. However, if you are new to the experience, don't worry, as Registry edits go, this one is fairly painless. (Always back up the Windows Registry before you begin editing.)

Here is the basic procedure:

  • Open regedit.exe (usually performed via the Run command).
  • Navigate to this key (Figure B):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Ratings

  • Right-click the key and delete it.

Figure B

Right-click the key to delete the password.
  • Open Internet Explorer and navigate to Tools | Internet Options | Content.
  • Click the Disable Content Advisor button.
  • Enter a new, more easily remembered password if you want (Figure C).

Figure C

Any password will work now.

This simple Windows Registry hack will disable the Internet Explorer Content advisor and return Internet Explorer to its default state.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

9 comments
ITSuper
ITSuper

How dynamic is the control through OpenDNS? Does it filter proxy servers too? I have some issues with my firewall blocking most but not all proxy servers.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I am not a fan of the content advisor, but I understand why it is there? Does your organization use the content advisor or other filters to limit users on the Internet?

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

There is a setting...not sure how effective it is...never tested it. I don't think my users are smart enough to know how to even use a proxy. I would think between using that setting by OpenDNS and using your firewall that you could block most of them. http://blog.iwanttobeanerd.com/tag/opendns/

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I used content advisor in the past, but administer content advisor is a nightmare in a network. If you manage a network and you don't have tools to block webpages (ie: websense, proxies, etc), you can use a host file and even setup IIS in your local network to display a cool "restricted webpage" information. I even setup a Batch file to deploy the HOSTS file to an entire organization. Works like a charm!! :)

awgiedawgie
awgiedawgie

Your credentials and experience say a lot for you, and they offer some authority to your comments. That being said, unless your users are below the age of ten, or residents in a home for the developmentally disabled, it is generally unwise simply to assume they are not smart enough to do something. My son, at ten, was already asking me questions that challenged my training, and now, at 17, can probably program circles around me. Maybe it's just me, but between your thinking your users aren't that smart, and then using phrases like "not sure", "never tested it", and "I would think...you could block most of them", you're rapidly losing credibility. With a B.S. in Marketing, you should know those phrases don't sell. IMHO, you, as an IT department manager, need to be sure; you need to test it; and you need to know - not think - just what kind of success rate something has before you start recommending it.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

OpenDNS do not block youtube, metacafe, facebook, etc.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

I have OpenDNS as forwarders in my DNS infrastructure. OpenDNS blocks lot of bad websites but my users can access youtube, metacafe, etc without any issue. I block this with Forescout and Hosts files.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Aside from the fact there is a check box for "Social Networking" sites, you can also use the "Manage Individual Domains" section to always block or always allow individual domains.