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SECURITY

Customizing the Browser User Interface

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The Internet Explorer user interface can be customized for your organization using the Browser User Interface policies in Group Policy. These policies enable you to add custom titles to the title bar, custom logos that replace the Internet Explorer logo, and custom toolbars that add to or replace the existing toolbar.

Creating Custom Titles

Using the Browser Title policy, you can customize the text that appears in the title bar of Internet Explorer. By default, the title bar displays the title of the current page followed by the text "Microsoft Internet Explorer," such as "My Home Page–Microsoft Internet Explorer." When you add a custom title, the default title is updated so that your string is added to the text "Microsoft Internet Explorer provided by," such as "My Home Page–Microsoft Internet Explorer provided by ABC Publishing."

To add a custom title to Internet Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. Access User Configuration\Windows Settings\Internet Explorer Maintenance\Browser User Interface in Group Policy and then double-click Browser Title. This displays the Browser Title dialog box, shown in Figure 1.

    Image from book
    Figure 1: Use the Browser Title dialog box to add custom titles to Internet Explorer.

  2. Select Customize Title Bars and then type the custom title in the Title Bar Text box.

  3. Click OK.


    Note 

    The custom title also appears in Microsoft Outlook Express if this is installed and used on the affected computer or computers.

Creating Custom Logos

Internet Explorer displays two standard logos in the upper right corner of the Internet Explorer window: a static logo and an animated logo. The static logo is displayed when the browser isn't performing an action. The animated logo is displayed when the browser is downloading pages or performing other actions. These logos are produced in one of two sizes, 22 � 22 pixels or 38 � 38 pixels, and they are formatted as bitmap images.

Using the Custom Logo policy, you can replace the standard logos with logos specifically created for your organization. If you want to use custom logos, you can work with your organization's design or art department to create the necessary image files. Images in 256 colors should be indexed to the Windows halftone palette; 15-color images should be indexed to the 15-color Windows palette. The animated bitmap should consist of numbered bitmaps that are vertically stacked into one bitmap. The first bitmap appears static when no action is taking place and the remaining bitmaps appear in sequence when the browser is in use, producing the animation effect. You'll find two tools, the Animated Bitmap Creator (MakeBMP.exe) and the Animated Bitmap Previewer (AnimBMP.exe), in the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK), available for download from http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/ie/ieak/downloads/default.mspx. These tools will help you create and preview animated logos.

Once you finish creating the image files, test the files on your local system before using Group Policy to update other computers in the organization. The logo files become part of Group Policy and are stored with the Group Policy files. Because the files are imported before use, they don't need to reside on the local computer initially. In fact, it might be best to put the logos on a network drive so that you can test them locally and then incorporate them into Group Policy using the same file paths.

To add custom logos to Internet Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. Access User Configuration\Windows Settings\Internet Explorer Maintenance\Browser User Interface in Group Policy and then double-click Custom Logo. This displays the Custom Logo dialog box, shown in Figure 2.

    Image from book
    Figure 2: Once you create custom logos for Internet Explorer, you can use the Custom Logo dialog box to configure them to be used through Group Policy.

  2. If you want to set a static logo and have created static logos that are 22 � 22 pixels and 38 � 38 pixels, select Customize The Static Logo Bitmaps. Then perform the following tasks, in any order:

    • q In the Small (22 � 22) Bitmap text box, type the path to the small logo that you want to use or click Browse to use the Browse dialog box to find the image that you want to use.

    • q In the Large (38 � 38) Bitmap text box, type the path to the large logo that you want to use or click Browse to use the Browse dialog box to find the image that you want to use.


      Note 

      In all cases, the images must be the appropriate size or they won't be imported and set as the default logos. If you see a warning message that says the specified bitmap is too large, you'll need to select a different logo file to continue.

  3. If you want to set an animated logo and have created animated bitmap images that are 22 � 22 pixels and 38 � 38 pixels, select Customize The Animated Bitmaps. Then perform the following tasks, in any order:

    • q In the Small (22 � 22) Bitmap text box, type the path to the small animated logo that you want to use or click Browse to use the Browse dialog box to find the image that you want to use.

    • q In the Large (38 � 38) Bitmap text box, type the path to the large animated logo that you want to use or click Browse to use the Browse dialog box to find the image that you want to use.

  4. Click OK. The logo files are then imported and stored in Group Policy.

Creating Custom Buttons for Internet Explorer

Just as you can customize the title bar and logos in Internet Explorer, you can also customize the toolbar. The most common task you'll need to perform is adding a custom button that performs a specific task, such as launching a custom application. Before you can use a custom button, you'll need to do the following:

  • Create a script file containing the commands that you want to run, or know the path to an executable file that you want to use. The script file can be a batch file (.cmd or .bat) or a Windows Script Host (WSH) file (.js, .vbs, and so on).

  • Create (or work with your design or art department to create) a color icon file for the button. The color icon file, saved with an .ico extension, contains images for when the toolbar button is active. The icon file must contain three separate bitmaps: one 20 � 20 256-color, one 20 � 20 15-color, and one 15 � 15 15-color. The bitmaps must be indexed to either the 256-color Windows halftone palette or the 15-color Windows palette as appropriate.

  • Create (or work with your design or art department to create) a grayscale icon file for the button. The grayscale icon file, saved with an .ico extension, contains images for when the toolbar button is in the default or inactive state. The icon file must contain three separate bitmaps: one 20 � 20 grayscale image using the 256-color Windows halftone palette, one 20 � 20 grayscale image using the 15-color Windows palette, and one 15 � 15 grayscale image using the 15-color Windows palette.

When you are ready to proceed, you can add a custom button to the Internet Explorer toolbar by following these steps:

  1. Access User Configuration\Windows Settings\Internet Explorer Maintenance \Browser User Interface in Group Policy and then double-click Browser Toolbar Customizations. This displays the Browser Toolbar Customizations dialog box.

  2. On the Buttons panel, click Add to display the Browser Toolbar Button Information dialog box, shown in Figure 3.

    Image from book
    Figure 3: Use the Browser Toolbar Button Information dialog box to add custom buttons to the toolbar.

  3. In the Toolbar Caption (Required) text box, type the button caption, which should be short—no more than one or two words. The button caption appears to the right or below the button when users display both the text and the icon on toolbar buttons.

  4. In the Toolbar Action, As Script File Or Executable (Required) text box, type the path to the script or executable file that you want to run when the button is clicked. If you don't know the file path, click Browse and use the Browse dialog box to find the file.


    Tip 

    When setting the toolbar action, think carefully about the file path you use. It should be accessible to all users who will be affected by the policy you are creating. If necessary, you can use environment variables, such as %SystemDrive%, to ensure file paths are consistent for different users. You can also use network file paths, provided they are automatically mapped for users.

  5. In the Toolbar Color Icon (Required) text box, enter the path to the color icon file that you created for the button or click Browse to locate the file using the Browse dialog box.

  6. In the Toolbar Grayscale Icon (Required) text box, enter the path to the grayscale icon file that you created for the button or click Browse to locate the file using the Browse dialog box.

  7. If you want the custom button to be displayed on the toolbar by default, select This Button Should Be Shown On the Toolbar By Default. If you don't select this check box, users will need to display the button manually using the Customize Toolbar dialog box. This dialog box is accessed in Internet Explorer by selecting View, pointing to Toolbars, and selecting Customize.

  8. Click OK. If you later decide not to use the button, you can remove it by selecting the button on the Buttons list and then clicking Remove.

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