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How to Customize Virtual Internet Explorer Settings

Created: 12 Oct 2010 • Updated: 29 Oct 2010
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Virtual Internet Explorer (IE) comes with a set of default settings that are suitable for most circumstances; however, by editing the Layer Definition File (LDF) used to create the virtual application it is possible to customize IE to meet specific customer requirements. This article describes how to edit the LDF to customize IE to meet specific customer requirements.

The Layer Definition File

The LDF is an XML-formatted file that contains the definitions for all files, folders, file system access control lists, and registry settings required to create a Symantec Workspace Virtualization (SWV) virtual application. All of the IE settings are customized by editing registry settings. To begin editing these registry settings open the LDF with a text editor and search for the following XML tag:

<reg-entry sublayer="ro">

This is found beneath the <pkg-config>\<pkg-registry>\<reg-entries> tags. All of the registry definitions for the Read Only sub-layer are defined between the <reg-entry sublayer="ro"> tags and wrapped with a CDATA section. The text within the CDATA section conforms exactly to the “REGEDIT” textual or “REG” file format. A quick reference that outlines the Windows Registry structure and how to structure REG files can be found here. For those familiar with importing and exporting registry entries using REGEDIT.exe this format will be very familiar.  While it would be possible to edit these registry settings within the <reg-entry sublayer="rw"> tags this is not advisable as all RW settings are set back to a default state, and therefore removed, when a virtual application layer is reset.

NOTE: By default, LDF packages are delivered as a self-extracting zip files that execute automatically to create a virtual layer. It is possible to extract the contents of the LDF package without executing it so that edits to the LDF can take place before creating the Virtual IE application layer. Following is an example of how this can be accomplished:

ie6-win7-1.0.21.0.exe -ap nr –unzipDir c:\projects\ie6-win7

The –ap nr ( where –ap = “application parameters” and nr = no run) will extract the contained files without executing the contained .bat file and –unzipDir specifies the location where the contained files are to be expanded. Once expanded, the unzipDir will contain the familiar .bat and .ldf files. After making the edits to the LDF files, run the .bat file to create the Virtual IE layer.

Customizing IE Add-ons

A common customer request is to customize the IE Add-ons that are loaded by a virtual IE instance. An IE Add-on (also referred to as “plug-in” or “extension”) is defined as a software component that adds additional functionality to IE. This includes components that extend the UI or base functionality of IE such as Browser Helper Objects and ActiveX controls that can be embedded within HTML content and executed within the IE browser container such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader and Java Plug-in.

Internet Explorer usually requires the user to explicitly allow the installation of these Add-ons to avoid potential security concerns introduced by installing a browser plug-in.

By default, a Virtualized IE instance will attempt to load any IE Add-ons that are installed and enabled on the base (i.e. installed on the system). This is very convenient as no additional configuration steps are required for Virtual IE to use Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Java or any other plug-in installed on the system. However, there may be instances where it is desirable to control the Add-ons that are loaded by Virtual IE.

Configuring Virtual IE to Prohibit Loading of All Add-ons

A misbehaving Add-on can cause IE to become unstable or negatively impact the load performance of IE. One approach to this problem is to disable the loading of all IE Add-ons. This can be accomplished by adding the following registry entries within the <reg-entry sublayer=”ro”> tag of the LDF used to create virtual IE:

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
"Enable Browser Extensions"="no"

Notice that this registry key is placed beneath the parent “HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE” key. The keys placed beneath the USER_TEMPLATE area are copied to the RW sub-layer beneath a folder named after the user SID when a virtual application layer is reset or created using the SWVLDF.exe tool. These are “per-user” settings so the USER_TEMPLATE defines the default settings for all users of the virtual application on the system.

NOTE: In order for this key to be created properly the “parent” keys must be created first. For this above example, the parent keys would be created as follows:

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE]

 

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software]

 

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft]

 

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer]

 

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
"Enable Browser Extensions"="no"

Configuring Virtual IE to Selectively Load Add-ons

A more common approach to addressing the problem of misbehaving Add-ons is to selectively disable misbehaving Add-ons. This allows Virtual IE to load Add-ons such as Adobe Flash or Adobe Reader but to skip loading Add-ons that cause problems for Virtual IE.

For example, there is a well-documented problem with a plug-in named “Java Plugin 2 SSV helper” which will cause a delay of 20 to 40 seconds when loading IE. Following are the recommended steps for disabling this plug-in:

  1. Identify the class ID of the component to be disabled. Load Virtual IE, go to “Tools->Manage Add-ons…”, Right-Click the list header and check “Class ID” so it will appear along with the other information about Add-ons. Make note of the Class ID of the “Java Plug-in 2 SSV” as this will be used in a following step.
  2. Edit the Virtual IE LDF and add the following registry entries within the <reg-entry sublayer=”ro”>:

 

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\{DBC80044-A445-435B-BC74-9C25C1C588A9}]

"Flags"=dword:00000001

"Version"="*"

 

The Class ID of the plug-in to be disabled is created under the “HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Ext\Settings\” key. In this case, the Class ID of the Java Plug-in 2 SSV collected from step one was used. The value of 00000001 for the “Flags” value indicates that the Plug-in is disabled. Change the value to “0” (zero) to enable the plug-in if desired at a later time.

 

The same two-step process is repeated for each Add-on to be disabled.

Additional Virtual IE Settings

There are many settings that can be configured to customize the behavior of Virtual IE. The following table is a list of many common Virtual IE settings. The “Registry Entries” column specifies the key to be added within the <reg-entry sublayer=”ro”> tags.

"IEWatsonEnabled"=dword:00000000

"IEWatsonDisabled"=dword:00000001

HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

Description

Registry Entries

Change IE Start Page

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Start Page"="about:blank"

Change IE Window Title

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Window Title"="Virtualized By Symantec Workspace Virtualization"

Check For Newer Versions Of Stored Pages:

0 = never

2 = On reload IE

3 = On page visit

4 = Automatically

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"SyncMode5"=dword:00000002

Amount of Disk Space To Use (For Temporary Internet Files)

400=1MB

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Cache\Content]

"CacheLimit"=dword:00000400

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\Cache\Content]

"CacheLimit"=dword:00000400

Days to Keep Pages in History

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Url History]

"DaysToKeep"=dword:00000000

Auto Complete Settings

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AutoComplete]

"AutoSuggest"="yes"

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Use FormSuggest"="no"

"FormSuggest Passwords"="no"

"FormSuggest PW Ask"="no"

Never Dial A Connection

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"EnableAutodial"=dword:00000000

Always Expand ALT Text for Images

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Expand Alt Text"="yes"

Move System Caret With Focus/Selection Changes

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Move System Caret"="yes"

Always Send URLs as UTF-8

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"UrlEncoding"=dword:00000000

Disable Automatic Updates IE

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"NoUpdateCheck"=dword:0000001

Close Unused Folders in History and Favorites

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"NscSingleExpand"=dword:00000001

Disable Script Debugging (Internet Explorer)

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"DisableScriptDebuggerIE"="yes"

Disable Script Debubbing Other

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Disable Script Debugger"="yes"

Display a Notification about Every Script Error

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Error Dlg Displayed On Every Error"="no"

Enable Folder View For FTP Sites

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\FTP]

"Use Web Based FTP"="yes"

Enable Install on Demand (Internet Explorer)

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"NoJITSetup"=dword:00000001

Enable Install on Demand (Other)

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"NoWebJITSetup"=dword:00000000

Enable Offline Items To Be Synchronized on a Schedule

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Webcheck]

"NoScheduledUpdates"=dword:00000001

Enable Page Transitions

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Page_Transitions"=dword:00000001

Enable Personalized Favorites Menu

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"FavIntelliMenus"="YES"

Enable Third Party Browser Extensions

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Enable Browser Extensions"="yes"

Enable Visual Styles on Buttons and Controls in Web Pages

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"UseThemes"=dword:00000001

Force Offscreen Compositing Even Under Terminal Server

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Force Offscreen Composition"=dword:00000000

Notify When Downloads Complete

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"NotifyDownloadComplete"="no"

Reuse Windows for Launching Shortcuts

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"AllowWindowReuse"=dword:00000000

Show friendly HTTP Error Messages

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Friendly http errors"="no"

Show friendly/Full URL

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer]

"Show_FullURL"=dword:00000000

Show GO Button

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"ShowGoButton"="no"

Underline Links

Always=yes

Hover=hover

Never=no

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Anchor Underline"="yes"

Use Inline AutoComplete

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AutoComplete]

"Append Completion"="yes"

Use Passive FTP

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\FTP]

"Use PASV"="yes"

Use Smooth Scrolling

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"SmoothScroll"=dword:00000001

Use HTTP 1.1

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"EnableHttp1_1"=dword:00000001

Use HTTP 1.1 Through Proxy Connections

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"ProxyHttp1.1"=dword:00000001

Microsoft Virtual Machine

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Java VM]

"EnableLogging"=hex:00,00,00,00

"EnableJIT"=hex:01,00,00,00

"EnableJavaConsole"=hex:00,00,00,00

Enable Automatic Image Resizing

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Enable AutoImageResize"="yes"

Enable Image Toolbar

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Enable_MyPics_Hoverbar"="yes"

Play Animations in Web Pages

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Play_Animations"="yes"

Play Background Sound

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Play_Background_Sounds"="yes"

Play Videos in web Pages

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Display Inline Videos"="yes"

Show Image Download Placeholders

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Show image placeholders"=dword:00000001

Display Images

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Display Inline Images"="yes"

Smart Image Dithering

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer]

"SmartDithering"=dword:00000001

Print Background Colors and Images

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Print_Background"="no"

Search from the address bar

0 = Do Not Search

4 = Just display the result

5 =  Just go

6 = Display Results

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"AutoSearch"=dword:00000005

Allow Active Content From CDs to Run on My Computer

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_LOCALMACHINE_LOCKDOWN\Settings]

"LOCALMACHINE_CD_UNLOCK"=dword:00000001

Allow Active Content to Run in Files on My Computer

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_LOCALMACHINE_LOCKDOWN]

"iexplore.exe"=dword:00000000

Allow Software to Run or Install Even if The Signature is Invalid

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Download]

"RunInvalidSignatures"=dword:00000000

Check for Publisher's Certificate Revocation

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WinTrust\Trust Providers\Software Publishing]

"State"=dword:00023c00

Check for Server Certificate Revocation

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"CertificateRevocation"=dword:00000000

Check for Signature on Downloaded Programs

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Download]

"CheckExeSignatures"="yes"

Do Not Save Encrypted Pages To Disk

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"DisableCachingOfSSLPages"=dword:00000001

Empty Temporary Internet Files Folder When Browser Is Closed

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Cache]

"Persistent"=dword:00000000

Enable Integrated Windows Authentication

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"EnableNegotiate"=dword:00000001

Enable Profile Assistant

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Security\P3Global]

"Enabled"=dword:00000001

Use SSL 2.0 (Checked) + SSL 3.0 (Checked) + TSL 1.0 (unchecked)

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"SecureProtocols"=dword:00000028

Warn About Invalid Site Certificates

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"WarnonBadCertRecving"=dword:00000001

Warn if Changing Between Secure and Insecure Mode

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"WarnonZoneCrossing"=dword:00000000

Warn if Forms Submittal is Being Redirected

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

"WarnOnPostRedirect"=dword:00000001

Show Status Bar In IE and All Windows

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"StatusBarWeb"=dword:00000001

Default IE Download Directory

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer]

@=""

"Download Directory"="%USERPROFILE%\\Desktop"

Disable IE Send Information to the Internet Prompt

[HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\3]

"1601"=dword:00000000

Manage Internet Explorer Error Reporting

 [

Open IE In full Screen By Default

 [HKEY_USERS\USER_TEMPLATE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"FullScreen"="yes"

 

Summary

Editing the LDF used to create the virtual application layer can customize the behavior of Virtual IE.  These customizations include controlling the Add-ons that are loaded by Virtual IE, the start page, window title and many others.