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Block File Downloads in Internet Explorer

While Microsoft is a pretty drastic method of protecting your computer, it allows you to disable all downloads in Internet Explorer.

There are several situations where disabling downloads in IE provides a temporary or permanent fix to protect your PC from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other malware. Read on to find out why and how to prevent users of your computer from downloading files.

Why are downloads crashing?

Some downloaded files pose a greater threat to your computer’s security than others. Executable files with the * .exe extension are especially dangerous because these files, as their name suggests, have executable code. If you are not sure if the downloaded executable file comes from a trusted source, you should never click that file type.

Ask any experienced computer administrator and he / she will tell you that the threat from viruses and other malware is growing exponentially as more people access and use a PC. Even at home, impatient children or inexperienced users are more likely to give up anything that looks tempting. Turning off the ability to download files is what you can do to protect your computer from the actions of these users.

Finally, if you have a guest account on your computer that anyone can use, you need a method to protect your PC from malicious downloads. The safest alternative is to disable any downloads altogether. After all, if a person doesn’t have their own computer account and must use a guest account, you have a strong incentive to protect yourself from the actions of that random user.

Obviously, the biggest loophole in this method is that someone can just download Chrome or Firefox and download whatever they want, right? Yes, technically you should configure your computer so that it can either run IE only or block Firefox and other browsers from starting. You can read my previous post on setting up kiosk mode for an account in Windows 10, this is the first method.

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To prevent other apps from launching, you need to configure something like AppLocker But this won’t work if you have a home version of Windows installed. It’s a little tricky to set up, so kiosk mode might be the best option if you’re just trying to keep kids from messing up your computer.

How to block downloads in IE

Fortunately, you can disable loading in IE with just a few clicks. Start by opening IE and clicking on Tools in the menu bar. Then click “Internet Options” to open the “Internet Options” window.

In Internet Options, click the Security tab, and then click the Custom Level button under the Security Level for this Zone section.

You should now see the Security Settings – Internet Zone window. In the Options box, scroll down to the Downloads section and find the File Download option. Change this setting from Enabled to Disabled. Click OK.

IE now asks if you want to change the settings for this zone. Click OK.

IE must be restarted for this change to take effect. Close IE and open it again.

If you want to test the setup, go to any reputable site and try downloading the file. For example, you can go to www.adobe.com and try downloading Adobe Reader. Please note that when you click to download a file, IE issues a security warning and informs you that your security settings do not allow the download of this file.

For maximum protection against malicious downloads, consider disabling downloads entirely in IE. Despite the radical approach to computer security, it can be your most powerful weapon against malware when many people use your computer or if you have a guest account on your computer.

Downloads disabled in group policy

If you are using Pro or a later version of Windows, you can also set this setting in Group Policy. To do this, click “Start” and enter Group Policy.

This will open the Local Group Policy Editor. Now go to the following section:

Computer Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Internet Explorer – Internet Control Panel – Security Page – Internet Zone

Once there, you should see an “Allow file uploads” option on the right.

Double click this item and make sure the “Disabled” radio button is checked.

Again, you will need to do some extra work to really stop tech-savvy users from finding other ways to work around this limitation. It is always a good idea to turn off command line access, as this way files can be loaded easily. Enjoy!

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