Prevent Internet Explorer Toolbar Layout from being Reset

Every once in a while, Internet Explorer resets the toolbar layout and I need to customize them the way I want, every time this happens. I have Google Toolbar and the default Links toolbar enabled, which I have docked to the extreme right, showing only the chevron.

Occasionally Internet Explorer (or probably one of the browser add-ons) resets the toolbar positions, pushing the Links toolbar to a separate line and thus occupying additional screen real estate. This happens even though the toolbars are in a locked state.

Internet Explorer toolbar layout preferences are stored in the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar\WebBrowser

By denying “write” permission to the above key for your user account, you can lock down the custom toolbar layout in Internet Explorer. Before following the steps listed below, don’t forget to customize the layout as you’d like.



Deny Write Permissions for the WebBrowser key

  1. Click Start, Run type Regedit.exe
  2. Navigate to the WebBrowser registry branch mentioned previously.
  3. From the Edit menu, click Permissions…
  4. Click Advanced
  5. Click Add
  6. Type your user name in the Select User or Group box, click OK
  7. Click the Deny checkbox for Set Value Permission.
  8. Click OK, OK
  9. Click Yes when you see the following confirmation message:
    You are setting a deny permissions entry. Deny entries take precedence over allow entries. This means that if a user is a member of two groups, one that is allowed a permission and another that is denied the same permission, the user is denied that permission.
    
    Do you want to continue?
  10. Click OK to close the Permissions dialog box.

After doing the above, Internet Explorer preserves the custom toolbar positions in my system correctly!

When you plan to add or remove third-party toolbar in future, make sure that you first reverse the above Permission changes. Otherwise, the install or uninstall process will fail.


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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

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