XP post-Firefox IE Lockdown

Windows XP users, so you've decided to listen to repeated advice to switch your default web browser to Firefox. But IE is still lurking on the system since they won't allow you to remove it. Programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, or anything else that displays HTML using the IE engine is potentially at risk. (BTW, I also suggest you switch your email to Mozilla Thunderbird.) Furthermore, your desktop is still potentially vulnerable to "Search Toolbar" hijacks and whatnot because they wound it around Internet Explorer (to wiggle through holes in the federal antitrust ruling against them but I digress).

What can you do? Well, I don't have all the answers. And you generally ignore me when I suggest that you switch to Linux. It's always too hard, too complex, too different, too scary, don't have time, or Linux doesn't yet run Windows programs. (Why would Linux even aspire to run Windows programs? Why doesn't Windows run Linux programs? Besides, Crossover Office certainly does run Windows programs on Linux. But you never hear me when I say that.)

Oh, yes, you asked about what you can do... Well, first of all you can disable BHO and Toolbands support in Explorer. What are those? They are the fancy pants little toolbars that invade your computer from seemingly nowhere. BHOs have unrestricted access to the system; which seems insane if you think about it for more than 2 seconds. You can also set a non-evil Home Page and Search site like Google. And finally enable some of the new Internet security restrictions in XP SP2.

Or, you can simply install this registry patch I created to lockdown IE on XP... It is well commented so you can see what it does if you want. I've also made a similar IE lockdown patch system administrators can use to set the defaults. You normally would want to install both.
Disclaimer: if it harms something then you can't blame me. You're installing a hand-made registry patch from someone who doesn't even use Windows. It might even eat your branes and turn your cat into a goldfish.

Notice in this screenshot that the Yahoo Companion toolbar I just installed is missing. Yahoo's website remains blissfully unaware. With a huge amount of luck on your part the evil toolbars will suffer the same fate.