How to use security zones in Internet Explorer
This article was previously published under Q174360
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The article describes the types of security zones in Microsoft Internet Explorer, and how to configure different levels of security for Web sites that you visit.
Internet Explorer includes five predefined zones: Internet, Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, Restricted Sites, and My Computer.
You can configure the My Computer zone (which contains files on your local computer) only from the Microsoft Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK); these settings are not available in the browser interface. Administrators should use the default settings for this zone unless your organization has a specific requirement. Reduced security settings can result in security risk, whereas increased security settings can reduce functionality.
You can set the security options that you want for each zone, and then add or remove Web sites from the zones, depending on your level of trust in a Web site.
Types of Security Zones
Internet ZoneThis zone contains Web sites that are not on your computer or on your local intranet, or that are not already assigned to another zone. The default security level is Medium.
Local Intranet ZoneBy default, the Local Intranet zone contains all network connections that were established by using a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path, and Web sites that bypass the proxy server or have names that do not include periods (for example, http://local), as long as they are not assigned to either the Restricted Sites or Trusted Sites zone. The default security level for the Local Intranet zone is set to Medium (Internet Explorer 4) or Medium-low (Internet Explorer 5 and 6). Be aware that when you access a local area network (LAN) or an intranet share, or an intranet Web site by using an Internet Protocol (IP) address or by using a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), the share or Web site is identified as being in the Internet zone instead of in the Local intranet zone. For more information about this issue, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
303650 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/303650/) Intranet site is identified as an Internet site when you use an FQDN or an IP address
Trusted Sites ZoneThis zone contains Web sites that you trust as safe (such as Web sites that are on your organization's intranet or that come from established companies in whom you have confidence). When you add a Web site to the Trusted Sites zone, you believe that files you download or that you run from the Web site will not damage your computer or data. By default, there are no Web sites that are assigned to the Trusted Sites zone, and the security level is set to Low.
Restricted Sites ZoneThis zone contains Web sites that you do not trust. When you add a Web site to the Restricted Sites zone, you believe that files that you download or run from the Web site may damage your computer or your data. By default, there are no Web sites that are assigned to the Restricted Sites zone, and the security level is set to High.
The Restricted Sites zone contains Web sites that are not on your computer or on your local intranet, or that are not already assigned to another zone. The default security level is Medium.
Note Security settings are applied only to files on your computer that are in the Temporary Internet Files folder. These settings use the security level of the Web site from which the files came. All other files are assumed to be safe.
How to Configure Security ZonesTo change the default security level for a zone, customize security options in a zone, or assign a Web site to a specific zone. To do this, follow the steps in one of the following sections.
How to Change the Default Security Level for a ZoneFor each security zone in Internet Explorer 4.x, you can select the High, Medium, Low, or Custom security level setting. In Internet Explorer 5 and 6, you can select the High, Medium, Medium-low, Low, or Custom Level security setting.
To change the default security level for a zone:
How to Customize Security Settings in a ZoneThe Custom option gives advanced users and administrators more control over all security options. For example, the Download Unsigned ActiveX Controls option is disabled by default in the Local Intranet zone (Medium security is the default setting for the Local Intranet zone). In this case, Internet Explorer may not run any ActiveX controls in your organization's intranet because most organizations do not sign ActiveX controls that are only used internally. For Internet Explorer to run unsigned ActiveX controls in your organization's intranet, change the security level for the Download Unsigned ActiveX Controls option to Prompt or Enable for the Local intranet zone. You an set the following security options by using the Custom setting:
Note You cannot assign a Web site to the Internet zone. The Internet zone contains all Web sites that are not on your computer or in the local intranet zone, or that are not already assigned to another zone.
For more information about how to resolve symptoms that are not resolved by the previous steps, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
319585 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/319585/) "Software update incomplete" error message when you visit the Windows Update Web siteMicrosoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.
For more information about how to set up security zones, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie6/using/howto/security/setup.mspx (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie6/using/howto/security/setup.mspx)For more information about how to change Internet Explorer security settings, visit the following Microsoft Web site: