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

Posted on 2007-07-27
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
    LVL 12

    Accepted Solution

    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

    exactly what netsmithcentral said

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

    Author Comment

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

    Author Comment

    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

    "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

    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

    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.


    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Looking for New Ways to Advertise?

    Engage with tech pros in our community with native advertising, as a Vendor Expert, and more.

    Internet is a big network which is formed by connecting multiple small networks.It is a platform for all the users which are connected to it.Internet act as platform in different fields. Such as: Internet  as a collaboration platform. Internet  as…
    Several part series to implement Internet Explorer 11 Enterprise Mode
    This tutorial will walk an individual through the process of transferring the five major, necessary Active Directory Roles, commonly referred to as the FSMO roles from a Windows Server 2008 domain controller to a Windows Server 2012 domain controlle…
    How to create a custom search shortcut to site-search Experts Exchange using Google in the Firefox browser. This eliminates the need to type out whenever you want to search the site. Launch your Bookmark Menu: Press 'Ctrl +…

    759 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    9 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now