Using Internet Explorer Maintenance Extension

The Internet Explorer Maintenance (IEM) extension enables you to define and implement certain Internet Explorer 9 configurations as part of a Group Policy Object (GPO). IEM uses two sets of extensions to accomplish this purpose:

  • A server-side snap-in (ieaksie.dll) that extends Group Policy Management Editor (GPME) with a number of legacy Internet Explorer settings in a GPO.

  • A client-side extension (iedkcs32.dll) on each user's computer that implements the IEM settings contained in the GPO.


We recommend that you use IEM only in Preference mode. This avoids conflict with Windows® Internet Explorer® 9 policy settings that you specify using the Administrative Templates policy settings. Preference mode allows you to specify browser settings that the user can change later.

Exploring IEM settings

You can import and customize settings in the following categories by using IEM.

This category Contains options to:

Browser User Interface

Customize the browser's appearance.


Preset and control the users' connection settings, such as dial-up and local area network (LAN) connections.


Customize the Favorites folder, the Links bar, and important URLs such as the home page URL.


Specify the default Internet programs for performing common Internet tasks, such as reading email or viewing newsgroups.


Configure your users' security settings, to prevent them from accidentally compromising network security.


Specify the values for additional settings (Preference mode only). These settings include the disk space that is allowed for temporary Internet files, the location of ActiveX® controls or Java code downloads, browser display settings, and connection settings for your corporation.

Modifying IEM settings

The steps necessary to edit IEM settings depend on the tools you are using: the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) alone, the GPMC with Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM), or local Group Policy. IEM settings are under User Configuration\Policies\Windows Settings\Internet Explorer Maintenance in the GPME. The following resources provide guidance for editing GPOs:

Choosing Preference mode

By default, IEM is in Normal mode. In Normal mode, you can configure IEM settings so that they are refreshed on users' computers on a periodic basis (or each time the users log in). However, users can temporarily change these settings between the times scheduled for their setting refresh. For this reason, these settings in Normal mode behave as "pseudo-policies."

In Preference mode, you can configure IEM settings, but allow users to change these settings later by using the Internet Explorer 9 user interface. Preference mode also exposes several additional advanced settings that you can configure. Unlike the pseudo-policies you configure in Normal mode, the settings you configure in Preference mode are true preferences. In this regard, IEM settings work similarly to Internet Explorer Settings items in Group Policy preferences.


Normal mode and Preference mode settings cannot coexist in the same GPO.

To enable Preference mode

  1. Edit IEM settings in a GPO.

  2. Right-click Internet Explorer Maintenance and then click Preference Mode.

  3. If you have already configured IEM settings in the GPO, you must reset it before you can change to Preference mode. Right-click Internet Explorer Maintenance, and then click Reset Browser Settings.

When you are using IEM in Preference mode, the text (Preference Mode) appears next to the items that can be configured. In addition, the Advanced category appears in the left pane. When you try opening IEM settings that are not available in Preference mode, GPME displays an error message.

Enabling IEM policy processing

To use IEM to create policies that are regularly reapplied on users' computers, you must:

  • Use IEM in Normal mode.

  • Enable the Internet Explorer Maintenance policy processing setting in Group Policy, and select Process even if the Group Policy objects have not changed.

To enable Internet Explorer Maintenance policy processing

  1. Edit a GPO.

  2. In the left pane, click the Group Policy folder to open it. The Group Policy folder is under Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\System.

  3. In the right pane, double-click Internet Explorer Maintenance policy processing and click Edit.

  4. Click Enabled, select Process even if the Group Policy objects have not changed, and then click OK. .

Exporting IEM settings

You can use Group Policy to export all of the IEM settings to an .ins file, and if necessary, to cabinet (.cab) files. These settings can then be used to configure automatically computers that run other supported operating systems. Only the IEM settings in Group Policy are exported.

For more information about applying exported settings, see Managing Browser Settings Through IEAK 9 Profile Manager in this deployment guide.

To use IEM to export the settings from your computer to an .ins file

  1. Edit a GPO.

  2. Right-click Internet Explorer Maintenance, and then click Export Browser Settings.

  3. In the .INS file full path and filename box dialog box, type the full path and name of the .ins file that you want to export.

    Internet Explorer Maintenance is under User Configuration\Policies\Windows Settings.

  4. Click OK.