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XP IE file download security

Since getting a new laptop I just don't seem to be able to get IE to accept downloads in the way I want.

With the security settings for the Internet Zone in Internet Options set to 'Medium', when I click on an EXE file, I'm not asked to confirm the download or select the download location. The computer simple downloads the file and executes it automatically. When I set it to High however, I'm not even allowed to download most files.

All I want is to simply be able to click on any EXE file, and get a dialog allowing me to select where I want to save my file. The same applies for movies, music files, whatever. No "are you sure you want to download this file" messsages, no automatic download and execution.

I've tried tweaking various settings but just don't seem to be able to get it right. What do I need to change?
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gazemery
Asked:
gazemery
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2 Solutions
 
Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
Is this laptop part of an Active Directory domain? It may be getting settings from the AD that over-ride what your doing.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/using/howto/security/settings.mspx
Under Tools>internet options> security> custom level
there is a "downloads" field, and directly under that it has"automatic prompting for file downloads" enable/disable check the Enable.
-rich
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gazemeryAuthor Commented:
AFAIK it's not part of an Active Directory domain, it just runs on a small home network.

I have tried switching the "automatic prompting for file downloads" and it makes no difference either way.

It seems the problem is only with EXE files, with other sorts of files - like MP3, it offers the option of opening or saving them. Yet with EXE, it's running them straight away. I'm guessing I need to look elsewhere for this?
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Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
Is this a XP service pack 2 machine?
On mine, I get prompted for exe, here are the setings of my medium level: (these are the setting that should matter)
Downloads
     Auto prompt for file dl
         Disable
    File DL
         Enable

Miscellaneous
     Open Files based on content, not file ext
           Enable
     Software channel permissions
          Medium safety
     Use pop-up blocker
          enable

xp sp2 btw... if i click on any of the exe's on this page I'm prompted: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html
-rich

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XPComputersCommented:
Is the machine using Windos XP SP2? You would want to install this if it isn't alredy installed. If it isn't yet, then before you do read the rest of my advice.

You might want to check that there are no nasties installed on your computer that have taken over the browser responses. If you have looked elsewhere then maybe something is deliberately leaving your machine wide open, so that it can secretly download other programs like key-loggers, backdoors etc.

You should fully scan your machine using a couple of different online virus scanners (even if your own anti-virus says it is ok, in case it has been corrupted) and spyware scanners like adaware & spybot. This way you can check that you don't have anything installed of a malicious nature.

You might find that this sorts your problem. Once you are sure you are all clear, then you can install XP SP2. This will improve your security of IE and the machine as a whole. It is imnportant to clear nasties off first as they can cause SP2 to crash your machine after install if not sorted first.

Let us know if you have SP2 yet or not. Right click on the "My Computer" icon and click "Properties" on the menu that appears. At the top of the General Tab it should say:
System:
Microsoft Windows XP
Home or Professional ?
Version ?
Sevice Pack ?

Let us know Home or Professional, Version year, and Service pack number.

Hope this helps

Mike
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gazemeryAuthor Commented:
Ok.... update. Now I can click EXE files and I do get a Save or Open dialog, but for certain downloads (usually ones initiated by clicking a button rather than a link) the downloads are still automatically executing. The product trial section on www.macromedia.com is an example of this.

I'm using Windows XP Pro 2002 with SP2. I'm pretty sure the machine is spyware free, it's only three days old, and has been Adawared and Spybotted, plus when I got it I gave the CurrentVersion/Run section a once over to check nothing I didn't want running was slyly loading.
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gazemeryAuthor Commented:
OK, I'm donning my dunces hat here :o it was actually zip files that were self-executing, not EXE files. Changed the action associated with zip files to Save rather than Open in file types and it has fixed it. Thanks for the help.
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XPComputersCommented:
I just tried Contribute 3 from Macromedia trial site. It prompts me for open or save, but then it is a .zip file not and .exe

Which application is an .exe and I will try it here.

Otherwise maybe you have .zips automatically opening, which might autorun the .exe inside them, but you never get to see the .zip as it has run already. (That would explain why you see a prompt for some .exe (ones that aren't zipped))

Anyway, happy to try to download any app here that you have problems with. I also have XP Pro 2002 SP2.

Mike
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XPComputersCommented:
Doh. Cross post.

Glad you fixed it

Mike
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gazemeryAuthor Commented:
thanks for the help guys :-)
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