Customize IE9 for your company with the IEAK

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.

  1. Get the IEAK for IE9
  2. Install the IE9 on a test system (manual installation)
  3. Install IEAK on the same system.
  4. Run the IEAK and make the desired changes.
  5. 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 yoIE9 must be installed to run the IEAKu 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.

Choose IEAK sections to customize

This next step simply verifies that your installed IE9 version is up to date. If it’s not, you’ll need to syncronize.

Syncronize your IE9 installation with the current version available.

After you syncronize you’ll be able to proceed.

IEAK IE9 customizations

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.

Disable auto update after installation of IE9

User Experience

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.

Choose silent installation for IEAK in IE9

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

Brand your company name into IE9

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.

Important URL’s

Add custom home page to IE9

Search Providers

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”.

Is Google part of your IEAK

If you don’t see Google (and you want to add it) then select “Add” and enter the following info:

Adding search providers to IEAK

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.)

Avoid Clutter

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.

Don't include Microsoft favorites in IE9

Additional Settings

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.