Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

More answers for IE 7

My recent article on tweaking IE 7 and using Security Zones has prompted several reader questions whose answers are worth posting here. So today there will not be my usual Tip of the day, but instead there will be several Q’s and their A’s. If for some reason you missed the original article and would like to get up to speed, click here.

Q. Can’t add a site to Trusted Zone, Why are my options “greyed out”?
A. The person who sent me this question did not specify if they were experiencing this at home, or at work, which can have different causes. If you are on your personal machine at home, the most likely cause for having any Settings or Options choices greyed out (unavailable) is that you are running in User mode. You need to be running as an Administrator to make changes to Windows’ behavior. Log out of your current session by clicking on Start >Log Off and switch to a user account with administrator privilege. Now your menu choices will not be greyed out and you can make your changes. When you’re finished, log off and return to your normal user account.
If you’re at work and using the company’s machine, it is likely that there are policies in place that prevent employees from making these kinds of changes. If you have a legitimate change (that will “help improve your productivity”) that you’d like to have made, submit a request to your IT department.
**Also, some types of malware will modify your Trusted Sites zone (adding poisoned, or junk sites such as a bogus lottery) and then change a setting in your Registry which blocks — greys outs — your ability to go in and remove them. Use anti-spyware programs to scan your machine and remove the infection. In this case, I would start with the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Q. How do I remove a site from a Zone?
 A. You can remove a site from any Zone by navigating to the Security tab of Internet Options as shown in the prior article, click on the zone you want to edit, and then click on the site you want to remove, as shown below.
remvsite.jpg
Now click on the “Remove” button.
Actually, the fella who sent me this question was referring specifically to the Restricted Sites zone. He either really doesn’t trust Microsoft, or is trying purposely to load his machine with malware…either way, I would think twice before removing sites from the Restricted Sites zone!

Q. What should I do with these security warnings?
A. IE displays several types of warnings — suspected phishing, ActiveX, prevented download, open site in your Trusted Zone, et al — and so the answer depends on which warning you are getting…and what you’re doing when you get them.
If you are being warned that the site you’re looking at is a “suspected” Phishing site, then by all means do NOT enter any personal information! As these sites often also try to install trojan horses and malware downloaders, close down your browser and run a full antispyware sweep. Not all “suspected” sites are truly Phishing sites, sometimes mistakes happen, but in this day and age, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
ActiveX is a tool (a bit like Java) that usually is used for good purposes, more often than not actually (Microsoft Update uses ActiveX, and that’s something you definately want enabled), but in keeping with the thought expressed immediately above, you should decide on a case-by-case basis. If you can see and do everything you want to on a site without installing the ActiveX control, why install it?
Preventing unwanted downloads is a very good thing, so I strongly advice you: do not turn this warning feature off. Just click on the yellow bar and select “download this software” when you are downloading code. In fact, I believe this advice can be applied to all of IE’s warnings. We are living in a world where the Internet is relatively unpoliced, and so while it is irritating, it is safer (and wiser) to live with these warnings that to have our identity stolen and used to commit crimes, or have our PCs turned into a spambot.

Today’s free link: if you suspect a site is fraudulent and/or being used to “phish” for your personal information, and IE hasn’t flagged it as such — but you’re suspicious anyway — download McAfee’s free Site Advisor. This IE “plug in” will give you a valuable ‘second opinion’…and is updated more often than IE is.

Copyright � 2007 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

July 21, 2007 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, IE 7, networking, PC, security, security zones, Vista, Windows, XP

9 Comments »

  1. Hi, i have this problem using IE6. Further I am the admin and logged in as such. Still the field is greyed out. The same happen when selecting local intranet. I just can’t add any url.

    Any advice? (you can pm me also)

    Thanks

    Like

    Comment by crapelli | May 3, 2009 | Reply

  2. What, specifically, is “greyed out”?

    In a third article – not referenced in the two here – I remind people that to add normal websites, the “Require server verification..(https:)” checkbox needs to be un-checked. (as shown in picture)

    If that doesn’t resolve your issue, I further suggest that you make sure your computer is free from malware. You don’t tell me what OS you are using, but since you are still using IE 6, my guess is it is older.. older equals more hackable. IE 6 is the MOST HACKED piece of software ever written. I strongly, strenuously, and ardently urge my readers to upgrade to IE 7 or IE 8 and/or use an alternative browser like Firefox, Opera, or Avant.

    You can also try re-Installing IE (see, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/cant-download-reset-ie/), but that’s a last resort.
    Be sure to Export your Favorites first.

    Like

    Comment by techpaul | May 3, 2009 | Reply

  3. I know I’m old fashioned :) and I admit I’m still using W2k. But I love it.

    Anyway reinstall is not a big deal – haven’t though of it – as I am normally using FF and/or Opera. This problem only cam to me as I was guided to this piece of handy tool for Skype: saveontelephonebills.com. There I need to enter this URL …bills.com/ under Internet Option / Security / Extended. And greyed out is the field t enter the URL and the button “Add”. And the “https” checkbox is unchecked. BTW, when I tried to go to “trusted websides” it was the same situation.

    I must admit I have many years ago tweeked my system with Xteq and in early December 2008 cough my worst virus. I cleaned and my system is up but you never know. I’m now in contact with some people who hopefully can help me in getting rid of any remainders.

    I keep the reinstall in mind unless you can tell me on what principal this system at saveon is working (btw: Messenger Service can’t it be as I have enabled it and it’s still not working). It would make it a bit more easy to localize it in the system and Xteq.

    Thanks for responding.

    Like

    Comment by crapelli | May 3, 2009 | Reply

    • I suspect that you will need to follow the re-Install method, as I think there are lingering issues from your previous infection. You say you are getting assistance with that..

      I want to say before answering your other question, that there’s one – and only one – way to make sure your machine is clean after a “bad” infection: Format the hard drive. Run a disk shredder several times (such as Boot & Nuke). Format again, and re-Install Windows.

      I understand that Super Antispyware works well on Win 2000, and you could combine that with ClamWin AV.. but will you get infected again? Run 2000 and IE 6 and, yeah (I hope I’m wrong, though).
      The Internet has become too rough and tough a playground for that combo, I’m afraid.

      As for the website you mention. I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but why don’t you just download Skype right from Skype? If you need a phone number, get one from Skype. If you need to call landlines, buy the Skype plan.. from Skype.
      That site doesn’t seem to me to be anything other than a middleman.

      … did you use that tweak tool to set any Local/Group Policies?

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 3, 2009 | Reply

  4. The side I gave you is a “translator” for skype. when i write in one language it directly translate it into another language and send it over skype chat

    Like

    Comment by crapelli | May 3, 2009 | Reply

  5. BTW, looking at Xteq I see also all the NetMeeting stuff greyed out. As Xteq is a tweeking tool usually a function is not greyed out there. So I’m suspecting that NetMeeting is as a function not available. But does this have to do with my Local Intranet problem ? I only can speculate.

    Like

    Comment by crapelli | May 3, 2009 | Reply

    • crapelli,
      Having features greyed out in IE – to the best of my knowledge and experience – has nothing to do with NetMeeting, or the Messenger service, or an IM.

      My experience has been that your symptoms are usually a result of action taken by malware, or a Restriction placed in a Local Policy. Please read http://www.amset.info/windows/policy.asp … ignoring references to Active Directory.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 4, 2009 | Reply

      • Hi Paul, great – it worked. Your link http://www.amset.info/windows/policy.asp was perfect and this part “Applying Internet Explorer Security Settings to All Machines” did the trick.

        Many thanks for the effort :) Wishing you a good day.

        Like

        Comment by crapelli | May 5, 2009 | Reply

        • Thank you for letting me know the results, and congrats on a successful repair.

          Like

          Comment by techpaul | May 6, 2009 | Reply


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