Planning the Internet Explorer 8 Deployment

To install Windows® Internet Explorer® 8 successfully, you must plan your deployment processes and strategies. By understanding how to plan and automate your browser installation, you can reduce the cost of migration and ensure a smooth transition to Internet Explorer 8. This section describes how to plan your deployment.

Assessing system requirements

The project teams should study the technical documentation for Internet Explorer 8, and identify the system requirements for deployment. Teams can review the following sources of technical information:

Requirements for IEAK 8 Customization Wizard

IEAK 8 has the following operating system requirements:

  • Internet Explorer 8

  • Windows XP with SP2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, or Windows Vista

If possible, you should install IEAK 8 on the same version of operating system as the destination computers that you are creating the custom package for.

Before you start the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8, check the amount of disk space available on the destination drive where you will build the custom package. The destination drive can be on the same computer that you are running the customization wizard from, but this is not a requirement. However, it is important that the destination folder is secure.

Before you build IEAK 8 packages, make sure that your computer meets the following requirements (in addition to the system requirements for Internet Explorer 8):

  • Depending on the number of components you download to include in an installation package, you will need up to 100 megabytes (MB) of disk space.

  • For every custom package you build, you might need up to an additional 100 MB of disk space. When you build a package for a media type (such as CD-ROMs) it is considered to be a separate package.

Identifying migration and application compatibility issues

Whether your users currently run Internet Explorer or another browser, planning how to migrate these users to Internet Explorer 8 is critical. Determine in advance whether you need to convert existing files and custom programs.

It is important to identify and solve migration issues, such as compatibility issues, before you attempt to migrate from your current browser software to Internet Explorer 8. To identify migration issues, test the migration process using your users' actual configurations. Testing enables you to identify solutions, such as the best method for upgrading existing, incompatible systems.

Use the Internet Explorer Compatibility Evaluator (from the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit 5) to test sites and applications for compatibility issues with Internet Explorer 8. After you identify your migration solutions, document them in your deployment plan.

For more information about the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit 5, see the Microsoft TechNet Application Compatibility Web page (

For more information about migration issues:

  • See the Internet Explorer 8 Release Notes included with the browser software.

  • Visit the Internet Explorer 8 support Web site (

  • Contact the manufacturer of the existing software or hardware.

Upgrading from earlier versions of Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 8 Setup installs over the existing version of Internet Explorer, and it imports proxy settings, favorites, and cookies from the previous version. However, you may find that reinstalling add-ons resolves any issues you find during testing.

For more information about installing Internet Explorer 8, see Part 3: Deploying Internet Explorer 8 in this deployment guide.

Using previously existing browser add-ons

You may be able to use most existing helper applications with Internet Explorer 8 by including them as custom components when you build your custom browser packages. Of course, part of the challenge there is identifying what add-ons are already installed.

If your organization is running System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or Systems Management Server 2003 Service Pack 3, you can take advantage of new functionality that is part of the asset intelligence that has been added to those management products. For those organizations not using SCCM or SMS, this information may be retrieved through WMI and registry queries against client computers using independently developed scripting and automation.

SCCM and SMS can now inventory and report on IE Helper Objects as part of regular hardware and software functionality. To access this information, you will need to run a SQL report against your SCCM or SMS databases to return the relevant information. Most planners should at least evaluate SCCM report Software 05A-Browser Helper Objects, which natively returns the following:

  • ProductVersion. DLL version number.

  • FileName. The actual .dll file name.

  • Publisher. The manufacturer of the add-on. May be blank.

  • Description Helpful information that often describes the Internet Explorer add-on.

Once you have an inventory of Internet Explorer add-ons, you will need to analyze the results, identify any duplication or opportunities to standardize on versions (rationalize), identify any substantial populations of common add-ons, and develop and test the implementation strategy accordingly.

If you only have a small number of add-ons in your environment, you may only need to install Internet Explorer 8, install the add-ons, and then test and validate functionality using IT resources. For larger populations, you may elect to map the add-ons to users, and have subject matter experts evaluate the functionality of add-ons in Internet Explorer 8.

For more information about building custom browser packages, see Customizing Internet Explorer 8 using IEAK in this deployment guide.

Addressing compatibility issues

Because of significant code and feature changes in Internet Explorer 8, some previously existing software might not be compatible with Internet Explorer 8. You can often correct compatibility issues by obtaining upgrades from the software manufacturers, or by migrating to other, compatible applications. Internal applications should be evaluated by your organization's developers for compatibility.

In addition, Web pages that were developed for other Web browsers and for proprietary HTML or scripting extensions might not function the same way in Internet Explorer 8. Test your Web pages to identify compatibility issues with Internet Explorer 8. You might need to redesign Web pages that do not function properly.

You can test browser-based applications and Web sites for compatibility with Internet Explorer 8 by using the Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool in the Application Compatibility Toolkit 5:

For more information about the Application Compatibility Toolkit (included with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008), see:

It is also available as a separate download at:

For more information about third-party compatibility issues, see the Internet Explorer 8 release notes included with the Internet Explorer software.

Using additional deployment tools

When you use the Windows Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8 to build your custom browser, you may want to use additional tools as part of the deployment process. Consider the following applications and how you can use them to support your deployment of Internet Explorer 8:

  • Microsoft Systems Management Software. SCCM and SMS can help automate a large-scale deployment of Internet Explorer 8 by distributing and installing the browser on your users' computers. This automated installation requires little or no intervention from you or your users. You can create a deployment package that contains all the Internet Explorer 8 installation files, and a package definition (.sms) file that defines how Internet Explorer 8 is installed on users' computers. Then you can create a job to distribute your package to users' computers.

  • Group Policy. Internet Explorer 8 can be distributed through Group Policy, provided you first encapsulate the executable file in an .msi package.

  • Windows Update. Internet Explorer 8 is provided through Windows Update as a high priority installation package. If your users have direct access to Windows Update, this provides an upgrade path. The Internet Explorer 8 Blocker Toolkit enables IT administrators to disable automatic delivery of Internet Explorer 8 through Windows Update.

  • Windows System Update Services. By using this tool, you can maintain complete control of which packages are distributed to your users.

  • Network shared folder. Use IEAK 8 to create an installation package and make it available to users in a network shared folder. Users can install Internet Explorer 8 by accessing the shared folder and running the executable file. You can provide a link to the file in an e-mail message or from a Web page. This may not require additional engineering if your users do not have local administrative rights on their computers.

Considering user needs

When you are deciding which configuration options to install on your users' computers, consider the following user needs:

  • Browser security and privacy requirements that your users might have, or that your organization might require.

  • Language versions of the browser that you will need to install for users.

  • Accessibility features needed to accommodate users with difficulties and impairments.

Providing user security and privacy in the corporate environment


This section describes the security and privacy options of Internet Explorer 8 that are particularly important for administrators who need to protect the information, network, and users within their corporate environment. However, these options might also be valuable for other organizations and users.

Because Web browsers enable users to exchange important information and programs through the Internet and the intranet, consider the security requirements needed to protect your users' privacy and the contents of their exchanges. You should make educated choices about the types of browser security and privacy that you want to implement for your users.

Internet Explorer 8 supports a wide range of Internet protocols for secure information transfers and financial transactions over the Internet or the intranet. Internet Explorer 8 also provides a variety of features to help users ensure the privacy of their information and the safety of their work environment.

Users can set their own security and privacy options from within the browser, or you can preconfigure these options as part of your custom browser packages. When you preconfigure these settings, you have the option of locking them down, which prevents users from changing them.

For more information about preconfiguring security options, see Customizing Internet Explorer 8 using IEAK in this deployment guide. For more information about Internet Explorer 8 security, see the Internet Explorer 8 Desktop Security Guide.

You can implement the following options, depending on your users' security and privacy needs:

  • Microsoft Windows Defender. You can enhance security and privacy protections by using Windows Defender with Internet Explorer 8. Extending protection against malware at the browser level, Windows Defender helps prevent malware from entering the computer through a download.

  • Microsoft SmartScreen. Developers of phishing and other malicious activities thrive on lack of communication and limited information sharing. With the new and improved SmartScreen® Filter, anti-phishing tools screen threats from imposter Web sites seeking to acquire personal information such as user names, passwords, billing data, and more. SmartScreen also includes new anti-malware tools to help prevent spyware, adware, and other potentially dangerous software from infiltrating your computer system and monitoring your every move.

  • Privacy preferences. Web sites increasingly pull content in from multiple sources, providing tremendous value to consumer and sites alike. Users are often not aware that some content, images, ads and analytics are being provided from third-party sites, or that these sites have the ability to track their behavior across multiple Web sites. InPrivate Filtering provides users an added level of control and choice about the information that third-party Web sites can potentially use to track browsing activity.

  • Security zones. Internet Explorer 8 security zones enable you to divide the Internet and intranet into four groups of trusted and untrusted areas, and to designate the particular safe and unsafe areas that specific Web content belongs to. This Web content can be any item, from an HTML or graphics file to a Microsoft ActiveX® control, a Java applet, or an executable program.

    After establishing zones of trust, you can set browser security levels for each zone. Then based on the zone that a site belongs to, you can control settings for ActiveX controls, downloading and installation, scripting, cookie management, password authentication, cross-frame security, and Microsoft virtual machine (VM) capabilities.

  • Digital certificates. To verify the identity of individuals and organizations on the Web and to ensure content integrity, Internet Explorer 8 uses industry-standard digital certificates and Microsoft Authenticode® 2.0 technology. Together with security zones, certificates enable you to control user access to online content based on the type, source, and location of the content. For example, you can use security zones in conjunction with certificates to give users full access to Web content on your organization's intranet, yet limit access to content from restricted Internet sites.

  • Content ratings. The Internet Explorer 8 Content Advisor enables you to control the types of content that users can access on the Internet. You can adjust the content rating settings to reflect the appropriate content in four areas: language, nudity, sex, and violence. You can also control access by approving or disapproving individual Web sites for user viewing.

  • Permission-based security for Microsoft virtual machine. Internet Explorer 8 provides permission-based security for Microsoft virtual machine, and comprehensive management of the permissions granted to Java applets and libraries. Enhanced administrative options include fine-grained control over the capabilities granted to Java code, such as access to scratch space, local files, and network connections. These options enable you to give an application some additional capabilities without providing unlimited access to every system capability.

Addressing language version needs

You might need to deploy Internet Explorer 8 in more than one language, depending on the diversity of your user community. To do so, create and distribute a separate custom browser package for each language version you want to deploy. When you create additional packages for different language versions, you do not need to re-enter your setup and browser settings.

For more information about selecting the language for your custom browser package, see Customizing Internet Explorer 8 using IEAK in this deployment guide.

Multilingual support in Internet Explorer 8 is available through two options. Localized versions of Internet Explorer 8 provide complete language support for specific language and locale combinations. These localized versions can be obtained on the download page for Internet Explorer 8 by selecting the appropriate language version from the main download page. Another option available to users who are running the Multilingual User Interface (MUI) Pack for Windows XP is the Windows Internet Explorer 8 MUI Pack.


To install multilingual support on Windows XP computers running the MUI Pack, you can install the Windows Internet Explorer 8 MUI Pack as an additional component by using the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8 in IEAK 8.

To download Internet Explorer 8 in additional languages, see

Implementing accessibility features

You might need to address the needs of users with the following difficulties and impairments:

  • Blindness.

  • Low vision.

  • Deafness.

  • Physical impairments that limit their ability to perform manual tasks, such as using a mouse.

  • Cognitive or language impairments.

  • Seizure disorders.

Internet Explorer 8 provides many features that benefit users with difficulties and impairments who use third-party accessibility aids, such as screen readers, customizable layout, and other accessibility aids.

Determining installation media and methods

After you run the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8 to build custom browser packages, you can use various methods to distribute them to your users. You can automate installations of Internet Explorer 8 with preselected components and browser settings so that no user action is required, or you can allow users to choose from up to ten installation options.

You can distribute a customized Internet Explorer 8 package from:

  • FTP or Web download sites on the Internet or the intranet.

  • Flat network shares (all files in one directory).

  • CD-ROMs.

  • Single-disk branding (customize existing installations of Internet Explorer 8).

  • SCCM or SMS.

  • Group Policy.

The following sections discuss some of the factors to consider when you choose your distribution media and methods.

For more information about selecting your media for distribution, see Customizing Internet Explorer 8 using IEAK in this deployment guide.

Reaching your users

Identify the media that will work best for your users. For example, you might need to distribute your custom browser packages to the following types of users:

  • Stand-alone users. For stand-alone users who are not connected to the local area network (LAN), you can distribute custom browser packages from the Internet, or on CD-ROMs or other removable media.

  • Remote-access users. If your users access the Internet or intranet through remote-access modems, it can be time consuming for them to download the custom browser package over their modems. Instead of using the Internet or the intranet, you can distribute the custom browser package to these users on CD-ROMs or other removable media.

  • Local network users. For corporate users who connect to your network, you can distribute custom browser packages from download sites on your intranet.

Assessing network performance and bandwidth issues

When determining your distribution method, consider your network capacity and the performance expectations of your users. If your users access the custom browser packages on the intranet, your distribution methods will affect network performance and the available bandwidth. Installing Internet Explorer 8 over the network places demands on the network response time and connection time. Choose distribution methods that optimize network performance and bandwidth.

For example, if you distribute custom browser packages over the Internet to users on your intranet, the distribution can cause excessive loads on firewalls and proxy servers. If you distribute custom browser packages from only one download server on a large WAN, the distribution can overload the server and cause traffic issues across the interconnecting routers and bridges of subnets and LANs. You can usually achieve the best network performance by distributing custom browser packages from download servers that are located in multiple domains or subnets of your intranet.


By using the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8, you can specify additional download sites that Setup will automatically switch between during installations. This provides optimum download performance and a distributed load across the intranet.

To help alleviate performance and bandwidth impact, you might also want to consider distributing a smaller browser package with a limited number of browser components. For example, users can install a browser-only version, which includes the majority of the components used on the Web, and then install additional components as needed through the Install on Demand feature.

Developing a deployment plan

To ensure a successful Internet Explorer 8 deployment, develop a written plan. The following four-step process can help you complete your deployment plan:

  1. Get organization-wide input. Collect information from your project teams, staff, help desk, and user groups. You might want to conduct surveys or interviews to determine the full scope of your organization's deployment requirements. Be sure to evaluate Web and intranet applications impact, as well as the use of ActiveX controls in your organization.

  2. Identify and document key topics related to your organization's deployment. Include sections in your deployment plan for the following topics:

    • Deployment goals.

    • Critical success factors.

    • Installation prerequisites.

    • Deployment tasks, resources, and tools.

    • Task and resource dependencies.

    • Budget for resources needed to meet deployment goals.

    • Task responsibilities and timelines for completion.

    • Significant risks and contingency plans.

  3. Test the plan. After you write the plan, test each step thoroughly. Verify all deployment strategies and identify potential issues. Update the plan based on your test results.
    For more information about testing your deployment plan in the lab, see Setting Up and Administering a Pilot Program in this deployment guide.

  4. Review and accept the plan. Finalize the deployment plan before you deploy Internet Explorer 8. All project teams should review and accept the contents of the plan before deployment begins.