Internet Explorer Protected mode and Vista Support

Internet Explorer Toolbar Development

Some of the key Purposes of toolbar usages are as follows:

  • For easy navigation of websites.
  • For easy navigation of search keywords.
  • For keeping the bookmarks of the websites.
  • For creation of toolbar buttons by dragging and dropping the URLs
  • For Blocking the Popup
  • For giving notifications to users for IE Events
  • For capturing the contents of webpage
  • For getting the content of RSS Feeds.
What is Internet Explorer Protected in VISTA?
Internet Explorer's Protected Mode is a new feature in Microsoft Vista Operating System, and is one of the pieces of User Account Control (UAC). Protected mode is designed to protect the computer by restricting the parts of the system that code running in the IE process can affect. If a malicious web page exploits a code-injection bug in IE or an IE plug-in, that code will not be able to do damage to the system.

Vista introduces a new attribute on securable objects called the mandatory integrity level. There are four levels:

• System: Used by OS components, should not be used by applications.
• High: Processes that are running elevated with full admin rights.
• Medium: Processes launched in the normal fashion.
• Low: Used by IE and Windows Mail to provide protected mode.

The information that Windows keeps about a process includes which integrity level it was launched with. This level can never change once the process is started, it can only be set at the time the process is created. A process's integrity level has three main effects:
  1. Any securable objects that the process creates get that same integrity level.
  2. The process cannot access a resource whose integrity level is higher than the process's own level.
  3. The process cannot send window messages to a process that has a higher integrity level.
To determine if our extension is running in a protected mode IE process, we use IEIsProtectedModeProcess which will return the BOOL Parameter whether protected or not.

How to develop a toolbar for and VISTA support?
Most of the plug-ins need Registry and/or File system access for reading and/or writing operations, these operations can be done without problem when Internet Explorer Protected mode is Disable.

When protected mode is enabled, an extension can only write to a few directories under the user's profile. There are special low-integrity directories under the TEMP, Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, and Favorites directories that are writable. Internet explorer also has some compatibility shims, which virtualizes other commonly-used directories. I haven't seen a full list of those "common directories Write operations to those directories will be redirected to a subdirectory of Temporary Internet Files. If an extension tries to write to a sensitive location, like the Windows directory, the operation will fail.

Developers need to use VISTA SDK for getting the File system Writable Location for downloading any files OR for doing any File system operations.

VISTA SDK can be downloaded at

How to Enable / Disable Internet explorer Protected Mode?
From control panel open your Windows Login User account settings from those settings…
Click on Turn User Account Control on or off

From that Screen make sure Use User Account Control (UAC) to help Protect your computer option is Un-Checked for Disabling Internet Explorer Protected mode (Once settings is changed you must need to Restart your PC).

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Refer: Internet Explorer Protected mode

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