Over the last few weeks we have been tidying up some things in Active Directory to try and just make users lives easier. One of the things that is mildly irritating about Internet Explorer 7 is the “first run” page and the default search engine setting (Live search just doesn’t perform as well does it…). To control IE7 with group policy you will need to get the Microsoft IE7 ADM files (here.) These let you disable things like the start screen or change the option tabs that are displayed. Using the default templates you can specify that users are not able to change the actual search engine used.
Microsoft has a good technical article here but it is a little confusing.

Shown below is the code required to make Google the default & only search provider for IE7. To use this simply copy the code & place in a new .ADM file using notepad.

Alternatively you can download it here

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<span class="caps">CLASS</span> <span class="caps">USER</span>
<span class="caps">CATEGORY</span> !!WindowsComponents
<span class="caps">CATEGORY</span> !!InternetExplorer
 
<span class="caps">POLICY</span> !!PopulateSearchProviderList
			#if version &gt;= 4
			<span class="caps">SUPPORTED</span> !!SUPPORTED_IE7
			#endif
			<span class="caps">EXPLAIN</span> !!IE_Explain_PopulateSearchProviderList
			<span class="caps">KEYNAME</span> “Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes”
			<span class="caps">VALUENAME</span> “Version”
			<span class="caps">VALUEON</span> <span class="caps">NUMERIC</span> 1
<span class="caps">ACTIONLISTON</span>
<span class="caps">KEYNAME</span> “Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes”
			     	 <span class="caps">VALUENAME</span> DefaultScope	<span class="caps">VALUE</span> “{51FBBBAD-F020-4402-8D0F-8BBE16F168DB}”
 
				<span class="caps">KEYNAME</span> “Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{51FBBBAD-F020-4402-8D0F-8BBE16F168DB}”
				<span class="caps">VALUENAME</span> DisplayName  <span class="caps">VALUE</span> “Google”
				<span class="caps">VALUENAME</span> <span class="caps">URL</span>               <span class="caps">VALUE</span> “http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&amp;q={searchTerms}&amp;meta=”
			<span class="caps">END</span> <span class="caps">ACTIONLISTON</span>
		<span class="caps">END</span> <span class="caps">POLICY</span>
<span class="caps">END</span> <span class="caps">CATEGORY</span>
<span class="caps">END</span> <span class="caps">CATEGORY</span>
 
<span class="caps">CLASS</span> <span class="caps">MACHINE</span>
<span class="caps">CATEGORY</span> !!WindowsComponents
<span class="caps">CATEGORY</span> !!InternetExplorer
<span class="caps">POLICY</span> !!PopulateSearchProviderList
			#if version &gt;= 4
			<span class="caps">SUPPORTED</span> !!SUPPORTED_IE7
			#endif
			<span class="caps">EXPLAIN</span> !!IE_Explain_PopulateSearchProviderList
			<span class="caps">KEYNAME</span> “Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes”
			<span class="caps">VALUENAME</span> “Version”
			<span class="caps">VALUEON</span> <span class="caps">NUMERIC</span> 1
<span class="caps">ACTIONLISTON</span>
<span class="caps">KEYNAME</span> “Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes”
			     	 <span class="caps">VALUENAME</span> DefaultScope	<span class="caps">VALUE</span> “{51FBBBAD-F020-4402-8D0F-8BBE16F168DB}”
 
				<span class="caps">KEYNAME</span> “Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchScopes\{51FBBBAD-F020-4402-8D0F-8BBE16F168DB}”
				<span class="caps">VALUENAME</span> DisplayName  <span class="caps">VALUE</span> “Google”
				<span class="caps">VALUENAME</span> <span class="caps">URL</span>               <span class="caps">VALUE</span> “http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&amp;q={searchTerms}&amp;meta=”
			<span class="caps">END</span> <span class="caps">ACTIONLISTON</span>
		<span class="caps">END</span> <span class="caps">POLICY</span>   <span class="caps">END</span> <span class="caps">CATEGORY</span>
<span class="caps">END</span> <span class="caps">CATEGORY</span>
 
[strings]
<span class="caps">SUPPORTED</span>_IE7=“At least Internet Explorer 7.0”
WindowsComponents=“Windows Components”
InternetExplorer=“Internet Explorer”
PopulateSearchProviderList=“Populate List of search providers”
IE_Explain_PopulateSearchProviderList=“This policy setting will allow you to populate a list of search providers that will be displayed in the Internet Explorer search box.\n\n If you enable this policy setting and if the “Restrict search providers to a specific list of search providers” Group Policy setting is enabled, this list will be the only list that appears in the Internet Explorer drop-down list. If the “Add a specific list of search providers to the user’s search provider list” Group Policy setting is enabled, this list will be added to the user’s list of search providers.\n\n If you disable this policy setting or do not configure it, users will have complete freedom to create their own search provider list.”

Import the ADM by running Group Policy editor and then right clicking on the “Administrative Templates” container, pick “Add/Remove Templates” and then add-in the ADM file you created earlier.

After successfully importing the ADM file you can find the settings under:
User Config – Windows components – Internet explorer – Populate List of Search Providers