The New IEAK for IE9
Microsoft has changed the IEAK (Internet Explorer Administration Kit) a bit for Internet Explorer 9. Here is a walk through of customizing IE9 installation for your company.
- Get the IEAK for IE9
- Install the IE9 on a test system (manual installation)
- Install IEAK on the same system.
- Run the IEAK and make the desired changes.
- Deploy IE9
Steps 2 and 3 are very closely tied together. You need to already have IE9 installed on the computer running IEAK. In fact, if your organization requires proxy servers and other intranet options, get these configured first on your computer. You can then automatically use them in your custom build.
If you attempt to run the IEAK without IE9 being installed you’ll get this little love-note.
After installing IE9, start the IEAK and you’ll get a series of questions.
Choose a method on how you plan on deploying IE9. You will probably need to select the third option, “Internal Distribution via a Corporate Intranet”.
You’ll notice the change here from earlier versions of the IEAK where you selected the areas you wanted to change. The first portion is to walk through the wizard. If you wanted to see all of your available categories in the left pane, you’ll need to complete the wizard and then open the IEAK Profile Manager (installs with the IEAK).
For right now let’s just focus on the wizard. It will make things easier for most of the IEAK customers.
You’ll be asked to select which sections you wish to have the wizard walk you through. Remember, you can change these sections manually using the IEAK Profile Manager at a later time.
This next step simply verifies that your installed IE9 version is up to date. If it’s not, you’ll need to syncronize.
After you syncronize you’ll be able to proceed.
The next step is an important one for many users, namely the ability to prevent the IE9 installation from automatically downloading IE9 patches during the installation. If you use WSUS or other applications for patching, you’ll want to uncheck this option.
Select how you wish to deploy IE9. Most of the time you will choose a “Completely Silent Installation” and “No restart” to suppress the required reboot after installation.
One of the more common customizations made in IEAK is the ability to brand your company or department name. Another common option is to add the help desk phone number to this section.
Browser User Interface
Other options include choosing a home page. You’ll notice that Microsoft has a default entry. I usually (and by usually I mean always) whack that entry. If you have a corporate intranet site you can list it here. If your company is experiencing tough economic times, you can always put dice.com or monster.com as the default home page.
If your users prefer a search engine (or if you prefer one for them) then you can select which will be the default in this section. Click “import”.
If you don’t see Google (and you want to add it) then select “Add” and enter the following info:
There have been some reports in other IE groups that the search providers section is a little spotty, so be sure to check that your preferred selection made it through. Usually the issues are revolving around the favicon for Google (the little icon that identifies or defines a webbrowser in the search field.)
I like to whack any default “favorite” links provided by Microsoft. I think it helps declutter. If you wanted to do the same, it’s under the “Browsing Options” section.
You can make any other changes in the Additional Settings section. Remember, you can always start up the IEAK Profile Manager to modify these settings after you have created your profile.
When the wizard completes go ahead and finish it up. You’ll have two directories created; FLAT and INS. If you wish to modify your settings you’ll need to open the IEAK Profile Manager and point it to the .ins file in the INS directory.
For deployments you can just use the stand alone installations in FLAT (you have a choice of .msi or .exe).
If you have tips on IEAK customizations that work for your organization please let us know.
NOTE: Remember that there are prerequisites to pushing IE9 to your Win7 and Vista systems. Here is our blog post about the IE9 requirement. This pre-req is particuarly frustrating because if you attempt to push IE9 to a system that doesn’t meet the requirements it will either return successful after about 30 seconds, or it will hang indefinitely.