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Force IE to default to your home page

by Steve Wiseman on May 3, 2006 · 10 comments

in Windows


I have been asked this a few times now. How can you force Microsoft Internet Explorer to default to a custom home page?

It really is a simple group policy setting, but with many group policy options – it is not always easy to find.

First, for this to work I am assuming you have a Windows 2003/2000 network with Active Directory, and your client workstations are joined to the domain

Get on the domain controller, go to Administrative Tools, and Launch Active Directory Users and Computers.

Right click on the domain where you would like to create the policy.

A menu will popup – select properties. A dialog box will be displayed.

Click on the Tab that says “Group Policy”

Now Click on the Edit Button

A tree view of policies will be displayed.

Drill down to this key:

User Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Internet Explorer Maintenance -> URLS

Now, double click on Important URLS. You should see a dialog box that lets you change the default Help, Home, and Search pages of IE.

Make your change, and wait. I will take some time before the change replicates across the network – workstations will also need to be rebooted for the change to take effect.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Yoav November 2, 2009 at 6:51 am

thank for the inf. 🙂

2 Rob March 29, 2010 at 6:07 am

I would advise not changing the default domain policy and recreatng a new policy for this. Best Practices and all that.

3 Neil Cotton June 11, 2010 at 11:42 am

Nicely presented.
Note. A machine does not need to rebooted, as this is a user based poilicy. The users will need to log off and on again, and the policy will be in place.

Alternatively, to test the setting.
Start > Run > gpupdate /force
this will force the group policy settings to be downloaded from the domain.

4 AThoron June 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

It was Very useful!!! thanks a lot

5 Chad Haggerton January 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Thanks. It’ been a few years and I forgot how to get to this setting.

6 Ryan May 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for this. I couldn’t recall where the group policy was for this setting and computers all across my network had the wrong intranet by default! >_<

7 Aaron June 13, 2012 at 9:46 am

How can I set it up so that it will look to a HTML file that I have created? I have tried but it says that my URL is incorrect.

8 Steve Wiseman June 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

Hi Aaron,

I am not sure if you can provide a link to a file…IE may prevent this for security reasons…still you might want to try putting the path in the file URL format. Like this:


9 Chandrabhan February 7, 2014 at 8:43 am

How to customize (changing default web page) in windows server 2008

10 Steve Wiseman February 7, 2014 at 9:30 am


It does not really matter which Windows version you are using…but the viersion of IE. It should be really close to the instructions in this article. I don’t think this part of IE has changed much over the different versions.

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