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Setting the same Internet Explorer Home Page on a specific PC for all users.

Posted on 2006-05-19
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
I want to force the Internet Explorer Home Page to be the same for all users when they use one specific PC on the network.  They can set it to be whatever they like on the other PCs but I need to keep it the same on this one.
How do I do it?
Thank you
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Question by:peparsons
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by:Debsyl99
ID: 16716556
Hi try this
Run regedit from a command prompt and navigate to the following key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
First right click on main and select export to back up the registry key - selected branch only so if you need to you can restore it.
Then delete the following key only : Start Page
Then browse to the following key branch
HKEY_ LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
Double-click on the key Start Page and set it to the home page you want

Hopefully that should do it so test it out,
Deb :))
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Author Comment

by:peparsons
ID: 16716701
Deb
So, what is happening here.  If there is an entry in HKEY_CURRENT_USER does that override the entry in HKEY_ LOCAL_MACHINE.  If there isn't  one in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER then it just uses the one I have set in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE?

I have done that and it does use the home page set in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.  However if someone sets a new home/start page then it recreates the HKEY_CURRENT_USER entry.

Obviously it would be nice if the users could not alter the home page but I imagine that would need to be done with group policies and I don't really understand them.  How about running a batch file in Startup that sets the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Start Page?  I don't know how you set registry files in a batch file.

Any further ideas?
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by:Debsyl99
ID: 16716778
"If there is an entry in HKEY_CURRENT_USER does that override the entry in HKEY_ LOCAL_MACHINE" - yes it does - but if they're just changing it back then no dice.

Are the users logging on to this pc local admins? If not you could either enable the local policy settings of the pc - or if it's on a domain apply a group policy. It's fairly straighforward - and easier than running a batch file at startup. Let me know what your setup is and I can step you through it.
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by:peparsons
ID: 16716820
The people logging on are domain admins.  I don't know about local admins.  I think that all domain admins are local admins.  It is on a domain.  I would not want to apply a group policy to all the users though because I would like them to have freedom on the other PCs.  Can you  set a policy on the server that will just apply to this specific PC (psa008 is the name of the PC)?
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by:Debsyl99
ID: 16716869
If they're domain admins then it's going to be very difficult if not impossible to restrict them - you'd need to change their status to stop them changing this page.
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by:Debsyl99
ID: 16716938
Best you can do is this: An ad users and computers Create an OU for this pc - a sub OU will do if it's already in it's own OU.
Move the pc into this OU and then set the following policy that you link to that OU - Computer Configuration - Administrative Templates - Windows Components - Internet Explorer - Internet Control Panel - Set the policy to disable the general page to enabled. Check that domain computers have the right to read and apply this policy. Then run gpupdate /force from a command prompt on the pc. Then remove the start page from the HKCU registry key and set the HKLM key as described previously. The policy setting applies to the computer, not the user so they shouldn't be able to change it back. However if they're domain admins it probably won't be long before they're in ADUC disabling that policy!
I'm assuming that they must need to be domain admins - if so then unless you want to start creating new accounts for them and delegating parts of AD for them to manage whilst excluding this one - ultimately other than slowing them down there'd not a lot you can do.
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Author Comment

by:peparsons
ID: 16716940
OK, what about the batch file in startup?  Do you know how to write such a batch file?

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Debsyl99 earned 2000 total points
ID: 16717163
Yep - you can run a batch file at logon - but they can still change it by editing the logon scripts - they're domain admins.
How to add, modify, or delete registry subkeys and values by using a registration entries (.reg) file
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310516/

All group policies do is change reg values on the pc - or within HK Current user. But if you want to try it - paste the following between the ---------------- into a text file:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Start Page"=-

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Start Page"="http://yourpage.com"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel]
"HomePage"=dword:00000001

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Save the text file as - all files - ie.reg - note the reg file extension is important. Then create the batch file. Open another txt file and paste in the following:

RegEdit.exe /s ie.Reg

Note that ie.reg must be the same as the name you gave to the reg file. Then save the txt file this time as "all files" with a .bat extension - call it startup.bat - note that startup.bat.txt won't work - you need the .bat extension.

Then in active directory users and computers - double click on their user account - select the profile tab and enter the name of the bat file you just created - note you don't need to put a path.

Then copy the files ie.reg and startup.bat in the netlogon folder on your dc. Test this out with a test account. The script will delete the start page value from HK Current User - add the start key value to HKLM and will disable their ability to change the home page. Then wait to see how long it takes them to figure out what you did and change it back.
Deb :)
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by:Debsyl99
ID: 16717175
Sorry - above should read -
Then in active directory users and computers - double click on their user account - select the profile tab and enter the name of the bat file you just created in the logon script box - note you don't need to put a path.
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Author Comment

by:peparsons
ID: 16717839
Deb
>Yep - you can run a batch file at logon - but they can still change it by editing the logon scripts - they're domain admins.
It doesn't matter.  They wouldn't work it out even if it were on the desktop.

>[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

>"Start Page"=-

Does that delete the current user key like we did previously? Why are we doing that?  Why don't we just set the current user key to the start page that we want and leave out the....

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

"Start Page"="http://yourpage.com"

The stuff that you wrote about the profile paths.  Am I right in thinking that if I do it that way, it will run on every PC that they use?  (That would not be what I wanted. I would have to put it in Startup.)
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Author Comment

by:peparsons
ID: 16718594
I have put these files...
ie.Reg
startup.bat
....in this folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
If I go into that folder in WIndows Explorer and run the batch file, it works beautifully.

When I log in as the user, however, I get these error messages:
1:
Are you sure you want to add the information in
C:\DOCUME~1\ALLUSE~1\STARTM~1\Programs\Startup\ie.Reg to the registry?
2:
Cannot import ie.Reg: Error opening file.  There may be a disk or file system error.

Do you know why that is?
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Expert Comment

by:Debsyl99
ID: 16719012
Sorry - been tied up this afternoon. You'd need to specify the path to ie.reg in the batch file startup.bat so paste this in instead

regedit.exe "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\ie.reg"

Note you need the "" as  there are spaces in the folder names. The above command will give you the prompt and tell you it's been successful. When you run it for your dom admins use the /s switch to prevent the prompt and allow the script to run silently ie.

RegEdit.exe /s "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\ie.reg"

Let us know how you get on,
Deb :))


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Author Comment

by:peparsons
ID: 16719299
>Sorry - been tied up this afternoon.
Please don't apologise.  You have been so helpful.

I did what you suggested:
RegEdit.exe /s "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\ie.reg"
I no longer get this error message:
Cannot import ie.Reg: Error opening file.  There may be a disk or file system error.
...but I still get the question:
Are you sure you want to add the information in
C:\DOCUME~1\ALLUSE~1\STARTM~1\Programs\Startup\ie.Reg to the registry?
And then it puts up a message telling me it has been successful and it waits for me to click on the OK button.
I actually copied and pasted your line in.  Is /s definitely the right switch?
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Author Comment

by:peparsons
ID: 16719539
If I browse to the startup.bat file and double click on it I see the black command window but no question.  If I edit startup.bat and remove the /s and double click on it again, I get asked the question.  Why is it different when you have it run in Startup?
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Author Comment

by:peparsons
ID: 16719741
OK, I think I've worked out what the problem is.  It's running it twice: once when it comes to ie.Reg and then silently when it comes to startup.bat

I'll move ie.Reg out of the way.
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Expert Comment

by:Debsyl99
ID: 16719765
Yup - I am a dunce - that's exactly what's happening. Move ie.reg to another folder - say

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users

Then leave startup.bat in your startup folder and change the line in it to:

regedit.exe /s "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\ie.reg"

and it'll work fine

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Author Comment

by:peparsons
ID: 16720355
Deb

Thank you very much for all your help.  It works really well.

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Expert Comment

by:Debsyl99
ID: 16720370
Thanks - ur very welcome - have a good weekend :)
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