Utility Spotlight: Keep Internet Explorer 10 at bay

With the Internet Explorer 10 Blocker Toolkit, you can keep Internet Explorer 10 from appearing in the list of important updates for Windows 7.

Lance Whitney

Microsoft recently released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, so the new browser will being popping up as an important update in Windows Update. If you have automatic updates enabled on any of your clients or servers, Internet Explorer 10 could start appearing across your network. That’s not necessarily something you want.

If your organization is eyeing Internet Explorer 10, you’ll undoubtedly want to test it first. You might want to create a standard installation package using a tool such as Microsoft Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) 10. Until then, you’ll need a way to keep Internet Explorer 10 from installing on its own through Windows Update.

If you’re managing your Windows updates through Group Policy, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or another similar means, you can control which updates are deployed and which ones aren’t. However, if you don’t use these tools, what other option do you have?

Block and tackle

You can block Internet Explorer 10 as an important automatic update using the free Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 Blocker Toolkit. By itself, the toolkit doesn’t actually stop people from installing Internet Explorer 10. Enterprising users may still be able to install the browser manually through its download page. The toolkit does, however, at least ensure that Internet Explorer 10 won’t appear as an important Windows Update, where it will automatically install.

The toolkit gives you two ways to prevent the Internet Explorer 10 update from appearing. You can either block the update through a registry key or through a Group Policy template. Both methods give you the ability to turn the block on or off.

You’ll first want to try out the toolkit on your local machine. Download the Internet Explorer 10 Blocker Toolkit from its page at the Microsoft Download Center. Run the downloaded IE10_BlockerToolkit.exe file, which is a self-extracting file. You’ll be asked for a location to store the extracted files, which are named as follows:

  • IE10_Blocker.cmd: This is the script that creates a registry key to block the automatic installation of Internet Explorer 10.
  • IE10_Blocker.adm: This is the Group Policy template that lets you block Internet Explorer 10.
  • IE10_BlockerHelp.htm: This is a help file that explains how to use the script and the template.

Let’s look at the script first. Test the IE10_Blocker.cmd on your current PC. Open a command prompt with admin privileges and change to the location of the extracted files. Type in IE10_Blocker.cmd to see how the script is being used. To block the Internet Explorer 10 installation on your current machine, type IE10_Blocker.cmd /b. You should receive a message that deployment of Internet Explorer 10 is being blocked on the local machine and that the operation completed successfully, as you can see in Figure 1.

Test the Internet Explorer 10 Blocker Toolkit on a local machine first.

Figure 1 Test the Internet Explorer 10 Blocker Toolkit on a local machine first.

You can also confirm that the toolkit created the correct registry key. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Setup\10.0. You should see a value named DoNotAllowIE10 with the value data set to 1 (see Figure 2).

The DoNotAllowIE10 value will show up in the Registry Editor.

Figure 2 The DoNotAllowIE10 value will show up in the Registry Editor.

Now, how do you roll out this registry key to your networked PCs? That depends on which deployment tools you use. You can always use a login script. Copy the IE10_Blocker.cmd file to a network share accessible by all your users. Then add the IE10_Blocker.cmd /b string to a login script so it automatically runs when your users log into their PCs.

If you use Group Policy you might prefer to use the IE10_Blocker.adm file. Open your local Group Policy Editor and right-click on the setting for Administrative Templates under Computer Configuration. Then add the IE10_Blocker.adm template.

After you’ve added the template, navigate to the following folder: Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Classic Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Update/Automatic Updates Blockers v3. Open the setting for “Do not allow delivery of Internet Explorer 10 through Automatic Updates” and set the state to Enabled (see Figure 3).

You can activate the Internet Explorer 10 Blocker Toolkit in a number of ways.

Figure 3 You can activate the Internet Explorer 10 Blocker Toolkit in a number of ways.

After you’ve enabled the Group Policy setting to block Internet Explorer 10 on your local machine, you can enable that setting for all of the PCs on your domain. The Internet Explorer 10 Blocker Toolkit doesn’t guarantee that some users won’t sneak past it to manually install Internet Explorer 10 on their own. However, it will at least prevent the new browser from automatically installing as a Windows Update.

Lance Whitney

Lance Whitney is a writer, IT consultant and software trainer. He’s spent countless hours tweaking Windows workstations and servers. Originally a journalist, he took a blind leap into the IT world in the early ’90s.