Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration

by Chris Sanders [Published on 22 Jan. 2008 / Last Updated on 22 Jan. 2008]

Windows Server 2003 comes out of the box very hardened in some areas. One of these is through Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration. Here is how to disable it.

Windows Server 2003 is shipped with several of its high security features enabled by default. One of these features is Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration. There can be several reasons you want to disable this feature. This includes if the server is a terminal server used for internet browsing, or even if it is just causing administrators a headache when they need to download a file for use on the server.

This feature can be disabled from the Add/Remove Windows Components dialog, accessible from the Add/Remove programs control panel. Here you can browse to Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration. If you want to uninstall it all together simply uncheck the box and click Next.

Luckily, uninstallation is not as black and white as it may seem. By clicking the “Details” button in the Add/Remove Windows Components dialog you can select whether to remove IE Enhanced Security Configuration for only users or administrators. In a lot of cases you can be better fit to simply disable this feature for only one of these groups of users.

Remember to be very weary of letting average users access the internet on a production server with this feature disabled. All it takes is one user who is uneducated in proper internet usage to infect the entire server with some form of malware.

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Chris Sanders is a network consultant for KeeFORCE, one of the most popular network consulting firms in western Kentucky. Chris is the author of the book Practical Packet Analysis as well as several technical articles. His personal website at www.chrissanders.org contains a great deal of information, articles, and guides related to network administration, network security, packet analysis, and general information technology.

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