Internet Explorer Administration Kit 8 Makes It Easy to Customize IE 8 - Page 2

End-user experience

IEAK gives businesses several options for how an employee will experience the IE 8 installation.

One option is for the installation to work as it normally does, with the standard options screens displayed. However, it is also possible to choose a hands-free install (where users don't choose options) or a completely silent install.

Basic branding options are available, though there's nothing that greatly changes the look and feel of the browser. I was able to change the top title bar of IE 8 to say "Windows Internet Explorer Provided by eWEEK Labs."

IEAK 8 does a good job of leveraging IE 8's ability to customize the integrated search capabilities within the browser. I could define which search providers would be available, and also add company Website or internal search servers to the browser.

All of the standard links and home pages used in the browser can be predefined with IEAK. For example, I could preset the home page, browser favorites and the links shown in the link bar in the browser. For the most part, these are pulled from the browser installed on the IEAK system (although they can be customized from within IEAK). It was also possible to configure the pages shown to users after they completed the installation.

New IE 8 features such as Accelerators (which provide additional in-line capabilities within the browser window) and Web Slices can be predefined with IEAK. I was able to import Accelerators into IEAK and add them so they would appear when employees installed the customized IE 8 package.

Also interesting was that it was possible to set up IE 8 so that it would run in IE 7 compatibility mode by default. I guess this would be attractive to businesses that rely on Web applications that require IE 7 compatibility.

Security settings

With IEAK 8 Corporate Version, it is possible to control and lock the security settings of IE 8, predefining security zones and content ratings. Legacy security settings, such as proxy servers, also can be controlled with IEAK.

The final screen of the wizard is the Additional Settings screen, which, despite its bland name, is probably the most powerful feature. From this screen, I could configure nearly any aspect of IE 8, from autocomplete to cache controls to language settings.

Once the wizard is finished, IEAK generates installation files for IE 8 as .exe and .msi files; for those choosing a CD installation, IEAK creates a CD image complete with autorun defined.

Also part of the IEAK 8 is the Profile Manager. This tool makes it possible to open already-completed configurations and make necessary changes to them after initial deployments (for example, if a company Web page changes or new company Web applications are deployed).

Click here for more information and to download IEAK 8.