Building a Global Condition in System Center Configuration Manager to Test the Internet Explorer Version

In the first post of this series, I listed the system requirements for Microsoft Office 2016. Those requirements included “The current or immediately previous version of Internet Explorer; the current version of Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, or Firefox” as the browser requirements. Let’s simplify this to a minimum requirement. Since our Office 2016 application package will target Windows operating systems, we can guarantee that some version of Internet Explorer will be present. Our prerequisite logic for our Office 2016 application package can therefore focus on IE and ignore the other available options.

At the end of the overview post for this series, I wrote the following:

Windows 10, 8.1, and Server 2012 R2 have Internet Explorer 11 built in; Windows 8 and Server 2012 have Internet Explorer 10 built in. Both of these IE versions satisfy the requirements. For Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, we’ll either have to build an IE11 application package or set a condition that checks for IE10 or IE11. My initial thought is to just set a condition because if any Windows installation is on an old version of IE at this point (January 2016), then the user or administrator has specifically blocked it from being installed in Windows Update as well as in the settings of IE itself, and so we should respect that decision and just fail the Office installation. (If I change my mind about this, you’ll find out in a future post.)

Well, I haven’t changed my mind! The day after I published that post, Microsoft ended support for Internet Explorer 10, leaving IE11 as the only supported version.

Microsoft aggressively pushes out Internet Explorer updates, and as I mentioned in the quoted passage above, any machine with IE10 or earlier is purposely configured that way, and our deployment package should not try to overcome that situation. (Alternatively, the computer may be misconfigured, or Windows Update functionality may be broken in some way; in either of these cases, it is better to fail our Office deployment and let the problem get addressed rather than try to resolve the issue in an automated way.) Based on this reasoning, rather than building another prerequisite application package for IE11, we will merely test that it is installed with a new Global Condition.

Microsoft documents several ways to determine a Windows installation’s Internet Explorer version in KB969393: Information about Internet Explorer versions. Fortunately, there is a registry value that will work nicely, and fortunately, even though this value is a string, we can test it with a “Begins with” verb when using it as an Application requirement.

As with our Server Core test, this Global Condition will be a simple query of a registry value. In Configuration Manager, in the Software Library workspace, navigate to Application Management>Global Conditions. I named my Global Condition “Internet Explorer Version”, and here are its properties:

Property Value
Name Internet Explorer Version
Description Returns the version of Internet Explorer 10 or 11 from the registry. The queried registry value (svcVersion) is not present when IE9 or earlier is installed. Use this to test the major version with the “Begins with” verb and a value of either “10.” or “11.”.
Device type Windows
Condition type Setting
Setting type Registry value
Data type String
Key name SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer
Value name svcVersion
This registry value is associated with a 64-bit application Unchecked

Coming Up

In a later post in this series, we’ll use this Global Condition with the verb “Begins with” and value “11” in the requirements of our Office application package to ensure that IE11 is installed. Next time, we’ll study a pitfall of Microsoft’s Office setup program.

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