[Last Call] Learn how to a build a cloud-first strategyRegister Now

x
  • Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 743
  • Last Modified:

System default browsers vs. Win XP Roaming Profiles

I am running Windows XP in a student lab environment. Students have roaming profiles so that most of their preferred setting follow them from computer to computer. One annoying exception is the default browser. Even though they can specify the default within a given browser, there seems to be a system override for links in emails, word processing documents, etc. This default browser is speified in "Set Program Access and Defaults", but this function requires Administrative privileges. I couldn't find a policy to allow this one function.

The ideal outcome would be that students could specify the ssytem default browser once and it would be loaded from their profiles whenever they logged in.

A less desirable solution would be that students could set this system default browser each time they log in.

I suspect either of these solutions might be possible with some programming, but I am completely inexperienced at Windows programing.

The solution I suspect I'm stuck with is that I set the default system browser to the most popular and those who prefer another are just out of luck.

Thanks in advance for your help.
0
Gazaway
Asked:
Gazaway
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
1 Solution
 
SysExpertCommented:
maybe this will help

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;297878

I would also post in the MSDOS TA, or VBS TA for more help.

I hope this helps !
0
 
GazawayAuthor Commented:
Great article that will no doubt be useful. But unfortunately it doesn't quite fit. Here's a quote from the article: "NOTES: Being registered as the default Start menu Internet application is not the same as being registered as the default Web browser. The default Web browser is used for launching arbitrary URLs from anywhere in the system. The Start menu Internet application merely controls the program that is launched when the user clicks the Internet icon on the Start menu." What I need to change is the default Web browser, not the Start menu Internet application.Thanks for the assist, though. I'll take your advice and cross-post the problem to the sites you mentioned.
0
Free Backup Tool for VMware and Hyper-V

Restore full virtual machine or individual guest files from 19 common file systems directly from the backup file. Schedule VM backups with PowerShell scripts. Set desired time, lean back and let the script to notify you via email upon completion.  

 
GazawayAuthor Commented:
I apologize for not explaining my problem more clearly. I don't want to lock down the preferred web browser, I want to enable students to change it. Here is the scenario:
- As administrator, I open "Set Program Access and Defaults". I select "Custom" and select "Use my curent web browser". My personal default web browser as administrator is Netscape.
- A student logs in. His default web browser is IE. But when he clicks on a link in an application like Word, it opens in Netscape, in spite of his default browser setting.
I want ALL links to open in the student's preferred browser, not the administrator's. But this appears to be a system setting and students don't have permissions to use "Set Program Access and Defaults."

I hope that is a better explanation of what I want to accomplish.

Thanks!
0
 
SysExpertCommented:
You may require elevated user rights, or Runas in order to do this.

Could be issue with security since an Admin password will be required and visible in a batch file.

Depends on how tight you want security.

I hope this helps !
0
 
GazawayAuthor Commented:
SysExpert-

I suspect you are correct. I'll leave this question open for another day or two to see if any actual solutions are presented. If not, I'll close it and award you the points. Knowing there is NOT a solution is in itself a solution!
0
 
RobSampsonCommented:
If your environment is very tightly locked down, and the users have direct access to use Regedit, then I suspect this cannot be done.  The registry file here:
http://windowsxp.mvps.org/reg/IE_Default_Browser.reg

sets IE as default by modifying HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT values, so if your students do not have access to that, then I suspect this cannot be done.

They will only be allowed to change the browser via script if they can do it manually.  Are you able to change the default browser under a student profile manually?  While I can't find any exact info on how a different browser selected changes the system, perhaps you could run RegMon, change the browser, see what changes in the registry, and make a .Reg file out of it....

Regards,

Rob.
0
 
SysExpertCommented:
see

auto-it Free scripting tool, keyboard macros

http://www.autoitscript.com/autoit3/

It also includes a  compiler, but it is not a very  secure solution for a serious hacker.


I hope this helps !
0
 
GazawayAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay in replying. I'm close to a solution and want to wait to report until I actually get it working. Thanks!
0
 
GazawayAuthor Commented:
I apologize for the additional delay - I was out of the office yesterday.

Well, I think I have solved the problem, but it was pretty convoluted.  First, SysExpert's original post proved relevant to this particular problem after all. Then I found another link which expanded on the information in the Microsoft link (http://newoldthing.wordpress.com/2007/03/23/how-does-your-browsers-know-that-its-not-the-default-browser/) Armed with some clues as to where to look in the registry for the default browser changes, I started experimenting. To my surprise, I found that the correct registry settings were actually being made when a user selected a new default browser. However, those keys were NOT being saved when the roaming profile was written back out to the network. Examining the UPHClean messages, it appears that when the user logs off, winlogon.exe is not releasing the handle and UPHClean is forcing it to close, and the changes don't get saved. This is an issue separate from this problem. I'll work on a solution and if I get stuck I'll open a new problem here.

For posterity, the keys that control the browser settings on a user basis (which, if available, override the system settings) are in HKCU\Software\classes, specifically .htm, .html, .shtml, .xht, .xthml,  FTP, GOPHER, HTTP, HTTPS, and <browser>HTTP and <browser>URL (where <browser> is the default browser selected by the user). As a work-around for the profile not being saved with these keys, I've created a logoff script that saves them in a .reg file in the user's profile and a logon script that reloads them. This fixes the problem until I have time to deal with the reasons they're not getting saved automatically.

Thanks to all who repsonded. SysExpert's suggestions were the most useful in resolving this problem, so I am awarding the points to him.
0
 
RobSampsonCommented:
Gazaway, what an excellent way to overcome such a problem.  Great work!

And thank you very much for posting your findings and solution, much appreciated!

Good luck with the UPHClean issue....

Regards,

Rob.
0

Featured Post

Independent Software Vendors: We Want Your Opinion

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!

  • 5
  • 3
  • 3
Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now