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How to Set Internet Explorer's Security Zones in Windows 8

Regardless of whether your machine is running Windows 8 or an earlier operating system, Internet Explorer offers four security zones, each offering a different level of protection. When you add different websites to different zones, Internet Explorer treats those sites differently, placing restrictions on some and lifting restrictions for others.

Chances are good that you won't need to fiddle with the security zones in the desktop version of Internet Explorer. They come preset to offer the most protection with the least amount of effort. But if you're curious about Internet Explorer's zones, choose Internet Options from IE's Tools menu and then go to the Security tab in the dialog box that appears.

Here's the rundown:

  • Internet: Internet Explorer treats every website as if it were in this catch-all zone. This zone comes preset to offer Internet Explorer's "Medium-high" security level, which works very well for most needs.

  • Local Intranet: This zone is intended for websites running on an internal network. (Home users rarely have to deal with intranets because they're mostly found in corporations and large businesses.) Because internal websites are created in-house and are self-contained, this zone removes some security restrictions, letting you do more things.

  • Trusted Sites: Putting sites in here means you trust them completely.

  • Restricted Sites: If you don't trust a site at all but still need to visit it, place that shady site's web address in here. Internet Explorer then lets you visit the site but not download from it or use any of its plug-ins — small downloadable programs adding extra graphics, animation, and similar enhancements.

If you fiddled with the security settings and think you've changed them for the worse, you're not stuck. Just click the Reset All Zones to Default Level button on the Security tab.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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