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If there is one thing I would like to see become a standard feature in Internet Explorer it would be the ability to prevent installation of damn toolbars and for those preventative measures to be enforced by default. It would then be an option (a hard-to-find one, preferably) to enable installation. Disallowing toolbars in IE would make Windows suck so much less for the average user, and it wouldn't be a problem for the advanced users, because we tend to use alternative browsers anyway.

IE toolbars really are the scourge of the default Windows experience.

I can't count the times I've been tending to someone's broken computer and they have a mass of stinking toolbars populating half of the whole damn IE window:

enter image description here

However given disallowing toolbar installation isn't the default behaviour of IE: is it possible to disable installation of toolbars in IE through a setting somewhere? When I am setting up a new comptuer for someone, I'd love to be able to set something like this.

Update: has anyone got a way of disabling toolbar installation without access to Group Policy Editor?

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I would suspect that there is a registry setting somewhere. – Brad Gilbert Jul 20 '09 at 17:51
+1 for the picture. – kinokijuf Dec 26 '11 at 13:01
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is this setting in IE8 and IE9 Beta (which works perfectly for me).

IE9 Advanced Settings

I cannot tell if it is in earlier versions as well, as I have only got my laptop here with me.

It does not stop Flash player from working, so should work fine for you.

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At last, an answer to this question (for IE9 at least)! Thanks Jason. – Charles Roper Oct 2 '10 at 19:41

Using the Group Policy Editor Click Start, Run and type GPEDIT.MSC Navigate to this path:

 Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Internet Explorer

There are a lot of settings in there to change the behavior of Internet Explorer, including the ability to enable or disable add-ons.

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On my Vista Home Premium system, GPEDIT.MSC cannot be found. Is it only found in "pro" versions of Windows? – Charles Roper Jul 21 '09 at 6:45
@Charles, yeah its was excluded from the Home version, just ran into this problem a few days ago, will post the link if i can find it – Petey B Jul 29 '09 at 18:20
Any luck with that link Petey B? – Charles Roper Oct 25 '09 at 20:38

My first suggestion to avoid having this sort of problem is to install and use Firefox instead. Second I would watch every new app you install like a hawk. I have noticed some very inconspicuous ways software providers are able to get you to accept the installation of one toolbar or another.

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Unfortunately, many users I come across don't particularly like to use a browser they're not familiar with. One user said they hated Firefox, thought it was 'dodgy', and asked for IE (or 'the E' as they put it) to be reinstated. Furthermore, sadly, they barely understand what 'installing software' is, let alone how to watch out for sneaky toolbars piggy-backing on the installations. – Charles Roper Jul 20 '09 at 18:05
I personally do not like the look and feel of firefox (or at least when i first tried it a few years ago), and switched to Opera, then after a few weeks back to IE. Absolutly love Chrome however, and have been using that since it was released. – Petey B Jul 29 '09 at 18:24
Also, i find it extremely funny when i go on a non techy's computer and always see at least 2 different IE toolbars installed. – Petey B Jul 29 '09 at 18:25
There are skins/themes you can use which will make FF look and act for all intents and purposes, EXACTLY like IE... with the only difference being it actually renders according to the standards. ;) – eidylon Aug 25 '09 at 15:44

One of the best settings to keep a clients computer safe, besides telling them that using internet explorer is like walking around in prison with your pants pulled down, is to disable the default behavior of downloading files without prompting the user.

Open IE, then select Tools⇨internet options-Security⇨Custom Level, scroll down to the bottom and you will find a section titled downloads. You have to Enable Automatic Prompting. By default this is disabled and file download is enabled which means Download anything and don’t tell me about it. You may choose to disable File download, but that may be overkill and will lead to complaints.

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