Security and privacy features in Internet Explorer

This information applies to Windows Internet Explorer 7.

Internet Explorer offers a number of features to help protect your security and privacy when you browse the web.

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What security features does Internet Explorer have?

Internet Explorer includes the following security features:

Which security features are turned on when I first use Internet Explorer?

By default, Internet Explorer is set to provide a level of security that can help protect you against common threats, such as spyware or other types of malware, when browsing the web. These settings can help protect against known security threats, such as websites installing add-ons or other programs without your knowledge.

How can I protect my privacy when I'm online?

Internet Explorer provides the following features that can help protect your privacy when you're online:

Why am I getting a message that reads "Your security setting level puts your computer at risk"?

You are getting this message because certain security settings are at a lower level than is recommended. By default, Internet Explorer has a minimum level for some settings that can help protect your computer from websites that are trying to install malicious or unwanted software without your knowledge or permission.

How do I know which settings are not at recommended levels?

To see which security settings are not at recommended levels, follow these steps:

To view Internet Explorer security settings

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the Security tab.

  4. Click the Internet icon, and then click Custom level.

    Settings that are not at recommended levels are highlighted in red.

    Picture of security settings
    Security settings set below recommended levels

What is changed when I click "Fix Settings for Me" on the Information bar when my computer is at risk?

When you click Fix Settings for Me on the Information bar, Internet Explorer will reset the security settings that put your computer at risk back to their recommended settings. To see your security settings, follow these steps:

To view Internet Explorer security settings

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the Security tab.

  4. Click the Internet icon, and then click Custom level.

    Settings that are not at recommended levels are highlighted in red.

How do I change my Internet Explorer security settings?

To change your Internet Explorer security settings

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the Security tab.

  4. Click the Internet icon.

  5. Do one of the following:

    • To pick a preset security level, drag the slider.

    • To change individual security settings, click Custom level. Change the settings as desired and click OK when you are done.

    • To set Internet Explorer back to the default security level, click Default level.

  6. When you are finished making changes to the security settings, click OK.

How do I change my Internet Explorer privacy settings?

To change your Internet Explorer privacy settings

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the Privacy tab.

  4. Under Settings, do either of the following:

    • To allow or block cookies from specific websites, click Sites.

    • To load a customized settings file, click Import. These are files that modify the rules that Internet Explorer uses handle cookies. Since these files can override default settings, you should only import them if you know and trust the source.

  5. When you are finished making changes to your privacy settings, click OK.