Group Policy Preferences For Different Versions Of Internet Explorer In the Same Policy

So, you’re managing a Windows estate and you’re in the process of updating Internet Explorer versions that you’ve managed via Group Policy. At some point you’re going to have multiple versions of Internet Explorer out in the wild and need to manage the settings for them both. As you should know by now, Internet Explorer maintenance settings have been deprecated in favour of Group Policy preferences.

The first thing to note is that even if you download the Group Policy templates for IE11 and install them correctly, you wont see an option for IE11, just IE10 and earlier.

IE Group Policy

Not to worry though, IE10 settings will apply just fine to IE11 and that is the desired behaviour. So, now you know how to configure settings for IE11, you might wonder how preferences for different versions of IE in the same policy would interact on the client machine. Well in the setup I looked at this had previously been done using item level targeting, which is in the common tab of the policy;

IE Item Level Targeting

The targeting was looking into the registry and checking for specific version strings which would only have the policy apply where the registry strings matched what was being checked;

IE Item Level Targeting Registry Setting

Now, while the above method would work it’s unnecessary. When you create a new setting within the policy, you’ll see some Item-level targeting is already put in place by Microsoft to ensure the settings only get applied to the right version IE on the client. The version of the IExplore.exe process running on the client machine is checked and then that is used to determine which IE settings to deploy from the GPO. So in my environment, as you can see below the settings would only apply to specific IE versions;

IE Version Filters

The XML file already contains all it needs to look for specific versions of IE, and as a result the various policies can co-exist with each other.

In short, the item level targeting is done for you, no need to add any more targeting unless you need to filter things down further.

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