Feb 15, 2010

Windows 7 - Use the Registry to Configure Custom Search Providers

Search providers are stored in the registry in either the HKEY_CURRENT_USER or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hives at Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes. To automate the process of adding search providers to computers, use a test computer to configure the search engines manually, including specifying the default search engine. Then, create a .reg file based on this registry key and its subkeys and distribute it to your client computers.

To create a .reg file, follow these steps:

  • To start the Registry Editor, click Start, type Regedit, and then press Enter. 
    To configure search engines for individual users, select HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes.
  • To configure search engines for all users on a computer, select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes.
  • Select Export from the File menu. Save the .reg file.

You can now distribute the .reg file to computers in your organization. To configure the search engines, double-click the .reg file to open the Registry Editor and apply the settings. Unfortunately, this requires administrative credentials. If you need to distribute the updated settings without explicitly providing administrative credentials, have a developer create a Windows Installer package that creates the registry values and distribute the Windows Installer package by using Group Policy software distribution.


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