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blocked windows internet explorerAfter our home computer became infected for the umpteenth time with an Internet Explorer exploit, even after I admonished my kids to avoid using Internet Explorer at all costs, I decided it was time to take drastic action. There are a lot of reasons why you may want to configure a computer so that it has blocked Windows Internet Explorer. Tim wrote about an effective method How To Disable Internet Explorer How To Disable Internet Explorer Read More a while back on how to do just that, however the approach he uses still allows any user to launch the application from the run command and access the Internet.

What if you simply want to block all of Windows Internet access from Internet Explorer, but you still want to allow any other browser or Internet application to work?


It is possible to cast Internet Explorer into isolation while all other Internet apps run free, and I’ll show you how to do it in just a couple of easy steps.

Modify Internet Explorer To Use A Proxy Server

The first step in this two step process is to trick Internet Explorer into accessing the Internet using a dummy proxy server. By default your LAN settings in IE are usually set up to automatically detect your Internet connection settings. We’re going to change that.

First, go to Tools -> Internet Options -> Connections -> LAN Settings.

blocked windows internet explorer

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First, uncheck “Automatically detect settings” and select the option to use a proxy server.  Set the address to some dummy IP followed by port 80. It doesn’t matter what you use, just make sure it isn’t a real server.

Or, another option I’ve seen some school network administrators do is to configure a proxy server that’s set up to serve an internal webpage that says something along the lines of “You’ve reached the end of the Internet.” The students may not laugh – but at least you’ll get a chuckle!

Click OK, go back to IE and try to browse the web. You’ll see the following error.

block internet access

Nice! Mission accomplished right? Wrong! All a clever little eight-year old girl needs to do is open up the Internet Options, click on “Automatically detect settings” and she’s back in business. Don’t think an eight-year old could do that? Well she did. So the next step is to disable every user’s ability to tweak the IE Internet options settings.

Disable Internet Options In The Control Panel

To do this, click Start -> Run and type “Regedit.exe“.

block internet access

Go to My Computer/HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Policies/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Restrictions. You may have to create the Internet Explorer and Restrictions keys if they aren’t already there. Then, create a new DWORD called “NoBrowserOptions” and set it equal to 1. Now, restart Internet Explorer.

You still won’t be able to browse anywhere, because it’s defaulting to the proxy server. So, go ahead and try to access Tools -> Internet Options. Your little ones will be faced with the following warning.

block internet access

This effectively blocks most normal users from accessing the Internet through IE. An especially clever user will just go to the Control Panel and enable the Internet Options that way, so you’ll also need to disable those control panel settings in the registry as well.

internet explorer has blocked

Go to My Computer/HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Policies/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Control Panel (or create the key if you have to). I’ve added several policy restrictions to the control panel, but the important one here is the DWORD ConnectionsTab. Setting this to 1 will disable the Connections tab in the control panel, so the user can’t change the Internet settings from the proxy you set up.

blocked windows internet explorer

You’ve completely blocked IE from accessing the Internet, and the only thing that a clever user could do to fix it is to find the right registry keys and fix them. So, this won’t block a seasoned geek, but it’ll at least keep your kids from opening up the wrong browser! Be warned that there are some Internet applications that make use of the connection settings in your Internet Options. Most applications allow you to configure proxy settings from within the app itself, but not all – so if any of your Internet apps don’t work after you lock down IE, this is probably why.

Have you ever had the need to block IE from accessing the Internet? Does this technique work for your application? Share your own experiences and how you have blocked your own Windows Internet Explorer access to the Internet.

Image Credit: Florin Florea

  1. Tim
    December 4, 2016 at 2:33 am

    Hey there, Im trying this as well, but I cant find the Internet explorer folder in regedit! Any tips?

  2. Daniel
    November 23, 2016 at 8:27 am

    A quick and simple trick to encourage users to use an alternative browser is to first unpin the IE shortcut icon from the Taskbar and delete it from the Desktop. Then locate IE in the Start menu and edit its properties so that it targets a different browser (e.g. Google Chrome). This way when someone clicks on IE, it actually starts Google Chrome instead.

    NOTE: This is only a deterrent, and determined computer savvy users will eventually figure it out and change things back or find some other workaround.

    Here's how:
    1. Right-click on the IE shortcut icon in the Taskbar, and select "Unpin from taskbar"

    2. If there's an IE icon on the Desktop, right-click it and select "Delete"

    3. In the Start menu, locate and right-click on Google Chrome and select "Properties." Do the same for IE, and place the two properties windows side-by-side.

    4. Copy and paste the content of the "Target" and 'Start in" fields from the Google Chrome properties window to the corresponding fields in the IE properties window. (Do NOT click Apply or OK yet).

    5. In the IE properties window, click "Change Icon..." and copy the file path from the "Look for icons in this file" field.

    6. Click "Apply" and then "Close", to close both windows.

    7. If the icon for IE has changed to the Google Chrome icon, (which it probably will have), right-click it and select Properties again.

    8. Click "Change Icon..." and past the copied IE icon file path back into the "Look for icons in this file" field.

    9. Click "Apply" and then "Close", to close the window.

    The IE icon will now look as it should, but when it is clicked it will open Google Chrome instead of IE.

    :-)

  3. Daniel
    November 23, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Google Chrome also no longer works after setting the proxy server settings in IE as described in this article.

  4. Frances
    June 17, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    I disabled Internet Explorer back in October. Haven't looked back since.

  5. ravi teja
    March 6, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    I have read this post bcoz i my IE is opening by itself when i am using chrome but when i have blocked explorer my chrome is not working so please give a solution for my question

  6. Baz
    April 22, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I followed similar to this article, but used GPEDIT.MSC to remove the "Connections" tab.
    You can exclude Windows Update from the block by adding the following exceptions to the proxy settings:
    http://*.update.microsoft.com;
    https://*.update.microsoft.com;
    http://download.windowsupdate.com
    However the whole thing was negated when the user simply "reset" Internet Explorer settings from the "Advanced" tab (LOL).

  7. Terrapin J
    April 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    is there a way to script a site to not allow anyone using IE access to it?

    in other words. i run a site i'd rather not allow internet explorer users to be able to gain access to since it is the insecurest browser on gods green earth webwise, so i want to restrict it at the httpdocs root. it is invision boards php driven.

    anyone? anyone?

    thanks

  8. Thomas
    January 28, 2015 at 3:32 am

    But very intriguing artile and I will try still try this!

  9. Thomas
    January 28, 2015 at 3:30 am

    Hi, you cannot get rid of Internet Explorer even if you try. Its a important component of windows that is deep and integral. Other program use Internet Exploror's HTML code and ext to make it work. So it just best to keep it and update it.

    • Terrapin J
      April 5, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      actually you can. filexile and turning off safety features for such and deleting both IE roots. it leaves only the sqmapi.dll and pdmproxy100.dll files in 64 bit folder version intact after you purge them.

  10. GIVNBYGRACE
    August 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Caution! Some LAN configurations will not work if you attempt to point IE to a fake proxy server. I believe the best safety strategy when using a Windows-based computer is to keep the IE browser fully updated with strong security settings in place and only use it to perform Microsoft-related updates. Core components of the IE browser package are utilized by non-Microsoft vendors. IE8 is much improved over previous versions and in most cases will not cause problems by simply being on your computer.

  11. darrell thomas
    August 16, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    this dont work as it disables all connects with other web browsers aswell please help

  12. Rabblerawr
    August 14, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or what, but on my computer Chrome and IE use the same Internet LAN settings, so if I disable IE from accessing the internet, it stops Chrome as well. Can somebody help me out with this?

  13. GA
    August 14, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Get a firewall! :)

  14. Kevin Ke
    August 14, 2010 at 5:50 am

    Ya, you can completely remove IE, but the best way for you to do is modify your Windows Installation disk. (nLite, vLite and 7Lite got this options).

    @rdube: horror? Unless most of your softwares are IE-based. I tried xp, vista and 7 with IE uninstalled, used them without any probs. If updating via web is a habit, I suggest using WUD.

    For me, I will think twice before using softwares that statically based on IE - if that's not a must.

  15. Rachelle
    August 13, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I got a horrible virus, which prevented my machine from accessing windows updates and corrupted Windows. Microsoft techs spent 20+ hours trying to find and disable the worm, but ultimately OS is toast. I don't think Windows updates can be installed from other browsers, so please be careful about blocking access. These updates are critical.

  16. qpease
    August 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    When we used to use Windows XP at school I did this to prevent those few extra viruses that get downloaded somehow to school computers. Now we use Ubuntu and have not a worry about any of the multitude of problems associated with IE and Windows. I never really liked IE and can't see how so many people are stuck in a rut with this cumbersome web browser.

    • qpease
      August 13, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      Also wanted to mention the headache that IE causes in the design of webpages using strictly html. My daughter designed several webpages for a few organizations this year. The looked beautiful and many people commented how great they were, but the the people using IE called, email, etc. complaining how how everything was garbled. The website had to be tweaked a bit and still not everything was perfectly viewed on IE. We placed a header that read: " This website is view best in any browser other than Internet Explorer". We got a few very happy converts out of this. For me, IE is nothing but a headache. I tried IE8 and still feel it is nothing in comparison to Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.

  17. Nat Jay
    August 13, 2010 at 7:08 am

    I stopped using IE in 2006. What works best for me is to simply block IE from accessing the internet through my firewall (simple firewall settings is all it took). Been using Firefox and Chrome for all online access.

    BTW many of the problems with IE also seem related to people using older versions of that browser -- like IE6 and IE7.

  18. Nat Jay
    August 13, 2010 at 5:08 am

    I stopped using IE in 2006. What works best for me is to simply block IE from accessing the internet through my firewall (simple firewall settings is all it took). Been using Firefox and Chrome for all online access.

    BTW many of the problems with IE also seem related to people using older versions of that browser -- like IE6 and IE7.

  19. Anonymous
    August 13, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Assuming the kids are just habitual in using IE, if you change the default browser and all shortcuts to point to an alternative browser, won't it cover most cases? You could even keep the name and the icon of the shortcuts the same as for IE, but they would instead open the alternative browser. If the kid is determined, he would find a way anyway.

    @Mrcloseencounters, there might be a way to uninstall IE, but not its COM components so that the windows update will not fail.

    • Kevin Ke
      August 14, 2010 at 3:50 am

      Ya, you can completely remove IE, but the best way for you to do is modify your Windows Installation disk. (nLite, vLite and 7Lite got this options).

      @rdube: horror? Unless most of your softwares are IE-based. I tried xp, vista and 7 with IE uninstalled, used them without any probs. If updating via web is a habit, I suggest using WUD.

      For me, I will think twice before using softwares that statically based on IE - if that's not a must.

  20. irha
    August 13, 2010 at 2:53 am

    Assuming the kids are just habitual in using IE, if you change the default browser and all shortcuts to point to an alternative browser, won't it cover most cases? You could even keep the name and the icon of the shortcuts the same as for IE, but they would instead open the alternative browser. If the kid is determined, he would find a way anyway.

    @Mrcloseencounters, there might be a way to uninstall IE, but not its COM components so that the windows update will not fail.

  21. banzai
    August 13, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Am I the only one who has never, NEVER in 10 years of IE use suffered any kind of exploit directly attributible to IE? I prefer IE to any other choice in the list. Microsoft has been slow on web standards, I'll admit, but I find IE to be a smoother, more solid browsing experience than Firefox and better on personal security than Chrome (see: "What Google Knows About You"). That's just my opinion.

  22. bmcgonag
    August 13, 2010 at 1:25 am

    I work in computer repair, and I try so hard to get people to quit using IE, but they just resist and refuse. I don't understand it. Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Chrome are all better browsers.

    I wish I could just go in and disable IE on their machines too, but I'd lose business, adn I guess when you think about it, them using IE probably triples my business.

  23. bmcgonag
    August 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I work in computer repair, and I try so hard to get people to quit using IE, but they just resist and refuse. I don't understand it. Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Chrome are all better browsers.

    I wish I could just go in and disable IE on their machines too, but I'd lose business, adn I guess when you think about it, them using IE probably triples my business.

  24. Anonymous
    August 12, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Some 3rd party programs also use IE's internet settings, so pointing IE to a dummy proxy server may cause those 3rd party programs to stop using the internet as well.

  25. Ryan Dube
    August 12, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Yes - I read some horror stories on a few forums where someone tried to do an uninstall, I guess it didn't turn out too well...lol.

  26. Mrcloseencounters
    August 13, 2010 at 1:13 am

    You have to have IE if for no other reason than to install updates/patches/fixes. (You choose the term)

    MC

  27. cookieman
    August 13, 2010 at 1:05 am

    How about just uninstalling it?
    Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features on or off -> Uncheck Internet Explorer

  28. cookieman
    August 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    How about just uninstalling it?
    Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features on or off -> Uncheck Internet Explorer

    • Mrcloseencounters
      August 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm

      You have to have IE if for no other reason than to install updates/patches/fixes. (You choose the term)

      MC

      • Matthew S
        August 14, 2010 at 12:14 am

        I turned it off in win 7 and I can still update/patch/fix. I have auto update off and use MSE Update Utility to keep MSE up to date.

    • George
      May 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      This would work for inexperienced users and small children, but even basic users know how to enable ie within control panel, or at least are competent enough to Google it.

    • George
      May 5, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      This was perfect for what I needed. If you were hoping to truly help at least one person, than you have done a good job. I needed a way to block the internet without disabling IE, as the machines use software to generate .html reports. We have several workstations on the other side of the US. These were put into place to monitor equipment. Lately, the operators have been surfing the web and the PCs are collecting junk. This was just what I was looking for, thank you!!

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