Automatic Configuration

Using automatic configuration

Automatic configuration allows you to apply branding changes to your Internet Explorer installation. Access to the feature is controlled by a feature control registry key. To use automatic configuration in Internet Explorer 9, you must add the FEATURE_AUTOCONFIG_BRANDING to the registry.


The following procedure shows how to modify the registry correctly. Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it so that you can restore the registry if a problem occurs.

To add the automatic configuration feature control key

  1. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press Enter.

  2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\FeatureControl

  3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key.

  4. Type the following key name, and then press Enter:


  5. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.

  6. Type iexplore.exe, and then press Enter.

  7. Right-click iexplore.exe, and then click Modify.

  8. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.

  9. Exit Registry Editor.

With the registry key in place, automatic configuration should now process successfully. Ensure that the Use automatic configuration script check box is selected, a proper URL path to the .ins file is present, and the Automatically detect settings check box is cleared.


Branding changes (such as a customized Internet Explorer 9 title bar or toolbar that is distributed to users' computers through automatic configuration) are not applied if the Disable external branding of Internet Explorer policy setting is enabled in Group Policy. This policy prevents branding by a third party, such as an Internet service provider or Internet content provider. For more information about the Administrative Templates policy settings, see Managing Browser Settings with Group Policy Tools in this deployment guide.

In an Active Directory environment, you can also use the Internet Explorer Maintenance (IEM) extension settings in Group Policy to enable automatic configuration. In this way you can also specify the URLs of configuration scripts.

Updating automatic configuration settings

Use the following procedure to enable or change automatic configuration settings in the Internet Explorer 9 browsers that you deploy to your users' computers.

To edit automatic configuration settings

  1. In the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 9, advance to the Automatic Configuration page.


    In IEAK 9 Profile Manager, select Automatic Browser Configuration.


    In Internet Explorer Maintenance, in the left pane, click Connection, and then in the right pane, double-click Automatic Browser Configuration.

  2. Select the Enable Automatic Configuration check box.

  3. Specify the interval in minutes for how often automatic configuration will occur. If you enter 0 (zero) or do not enter a value, automatic configuration occurs only when users restart their computers.

  4. To configure proxy selection automatically, type the URL for the automatic proxy script on your server in the Auto-proxy URL (.wpad, or .pac file) box.

  5. To enable automatic detection of browser settings, select the Automatically detect configuration settings check box.

For more information about using automatic proxy, see Automatic Proxy later in this section.

For more information about automatic detection, see Automatic Detection later in this section.

For more information about using IEM settings, see Managing Browser Settings with Group Policy Tools in this deployment guide.

Locking automatic configuration settings

You can restrict your users' ability to override the automatic configuration settings. In Group Policy, simply enable the Administrative Templates setting Disable changing Automatic Configuration settings.

For more information about modifying registry-based Group Policy settings for Internet Explorer 9, see Managing Browser Settings with Group Policy Tools in this deployment guide.

Alternatively, if you do not manage an Active Directory environment, you can use the Advanced Settings policies in the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 9, or in the IEAK Profile Manager. Click Corporate Restrictions, and then click Connections Page. Select the Disable changing Automatic Configuration settings check box to lock automatic configuration settings.