How to control "File Download" and "Promtping for download" settings in Internet Explorer

Posted on 2007-07-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-08
The security settings in Internet Explorer that control whether a user is able to download files through the browser keep changing for users at my firm.  To be specific, it is:

Internet Options -> Security -> "Internet Zone" -> Custom Level -> Downloads

The settings in question are "Automatic prompting for file downloads" and "File download."  I would like the settings to both be "Enable."  My users are savvy enough and educated about the risks enough to warrant that, as they often have to download PDF and other documents from websites.  

For some reason I cannot figure out, even when I have set them both to "Enable" they will often get reset to "Disabled" for multiple users.  Some it happens almost every day; others it is less frequent.

Does anyone know either what causes that or how I can set it so it won't change?  These are all XP desktops.  We do have a domain controller (Windows Server 2003) with Active Directory, but I do not know Active Directory at all.  Perhaps there is a way to centralize that setting and keep it set there?

Thanks for any advice,
Question by:JediBecker
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Accepted Solution

netsmithcentral earned 2000 total points
ID: 19583146
If the computers are all joined to a domain (which they should be in Active Directory), you can edit the Domain Policy to accomplish this.  Although it is easier to edit the default policy, I recommend creating a new policy object with a higher priority to avoid accidentally destroying your default policy.  Here's the steps:

   1) Logon to the server
   2) Launch "Active Directory Users and Computers" (Start | Control Panel | Administrative Tools)
   3) Right click on the domain name and choose "Properties"
   4) Navigate to the Group Policy tab
   5) Select "New", name your new policy appropriately (eg "My Domain")
   6) Once the policy is created, move it up (Highlight it and select "Up")
   7) Click "Edit"
   8) Navigate to "Computer Settings | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Internet Explorer | Internet Control Panel | Security Page | Internet Zone "
   9) Find the "Automatic prompting for file downloads" and set it to "Enabled", then select "Enable"
   10) Find the "Allow File Downloads" and set it to "Enabled", then select "Enable"
   11) Close the policy editor
   12) Close Active Directory
   13) Log off the server
   14) Run the command "gpupdate /force" on all your workstations

This should do what you need.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 19585012
exactly what netsmithcentral said

if you have multiple dcs, make sure you wait 15-20mins or replicate the site

Author Comment

ID: 19586493
That's great advice, thanks.  I will give this a try on Monday when I get to work.
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Author Comment

ID: 19600838
Hi -- netsmithcentral and jjmartineziii,

I'm just getting to this today.  One quick question -- the "gpupdate /force" command: does that tell the workstation to get its policy from the domain controller?  But does it mean that it will ALWAYS match the domain's group policy?  That is, whatever is changing the setting now in the first place, will this guarantee that won't continue to happen?

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 19601338
"gpupdate /force" tells the computer to update its policy immediately.  By default, it gets this policy from whatever OU it is a member of (the Default Domain in the case of a one site, one OU domain).  So, running the command only updates the policy so you don't have to reboot.

Once the policy is in effect it's "permanent" until you change it at the server.  In fact, you'll notice the options on the Internet Explorer control panel that have been defined by group policy are grayed out.

Author Comment

ID: 19601485
That's perfect, thanks.  I hope to get time to try this today.  In any case, I'll be sure to post back here if it works or not.  


Author Comment

ID: 19608568
Netsmithcentral -- that solved the problem 100% and could not have been a more clear explanation of how to do it.  Thanks very, very much for your input.

And jj -- thanks to you, too, for the extra tidbit of info, added even after you saw netsmithcentral's answer.  That was kind of you to bother and I appreciate it.


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