Locating I.E Proxy Settings

compdigit44 used Ask the Experts™
My company uses GP to lock down I.E so user cannot even see anything but the General Tab in I.E. One of our senior AD guy's just left and for the longest time I have been working where are proxy settings are managed. I check DHCP / DNS and do not see an option for WPAD nor any GP setting listing for a PAC file location?

If it possible that our company is not using a proxy because I was certain we were??? I tried running a GPResult and RSoP on my workstation and did not see any IE proxy settings...

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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016

You can try viewing the proxy settings from an administrative command prompt using the netsh command.

Type: netsh and then winhttp and then show proxy
Can you see the IE settings on your client machine?
If not, you may inspect your registry....


HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings

There is also a autodiscovery mechanism, so if a proxy offers such service, the client requests a pac file from this service, what is configured on the offering device.

Also you can check for an WIn HTTP proxy (not equal as browser)
netsh winhttp show proxy


When I run the netsh command it does not find a proxy and states direct access..

I did not see any proxy setting under HKCM\Software\Policies but only saw under HKCU\Software\Polcies that proxy was set to 1 and that it....
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Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016

Do a traceroute to a site and see whether you can see a host on your network that could act as proxy (and check that host).

Or try accessing internet using a different browser like FireFox - does that work?
Mmh, it is notneccessarily reliable. we have to separate a web proxy from winhttp.
If a browser proxy is set, the winhttp proxy doesn't care..
Each application can have its own proxy settings, so generic settings may be overwritten.

netsh delivers the winhttp proxy. so if it is empty it doesn't mean that there is no proxy set in the browser.

Tracert follows usually the standard gateway, so it would ignore a web proxy, as it is no web traffic.

And, if auto configuration is used, you doesn't see a setting in the registry.
In this case, the browser searches for a proxy and maybe it finds one.

Firefox is a try to see if the result is different for the case, the proxy filters something out, but not capable to find the IE settings as firefox has its own configuration.

The settings in the registry are:
Proxy or ProxyEnable = 0/1
AutoConfig = 0/1
ProxyServer = server name or URL to pac file

You may also inspect
SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel
and also
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Connections\DefaultConnectionSettings

The last key may either contain just some bytes or even more information about proxy settings.


I am using Palemoon and can access the internet without issue. The default proxy setting are set to "Use system Proxy" settings...

In the registry Proxy  is set to "1" but I am not seeing any of the other values list an actual server
Topic Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Ok, one more thought. A typical function of a proxy is to block certain sites.

Are you aware that the company is blocking sites (or has been before)? You could try accessing sites that for example server torrent files or try downloading a legal torrent.

Two things could happen: the torrent download is not working or you get a message in your browser saying that the content you try to download is being blocked because of company policy.

Last thought. Perform an analysis of the network, components, servers etc. to find that proxy, if it is existing at all.


I could sworn the company was using a WPAD file but might be wrong. I do know why use a bluecoat web filter managed by out network team..

I wonder what the pros / cons us using a appliance vs. wpad/pac file?

thanks again
WPAD has nothing so do with an appliance..
The WPAD is just a configuration file which tell the browser the same settings that the local proxy settings. A WPAD file sometimes is more flexible as you have some more option to redirect traffic.

How the setting are then transferred to the client is a different question. The browser can to be configured to use a WPAD file from an URL, or the proxy (what ever it is) creates such a file dynamically to reflect the settings which are set in the proxy.

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