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How To Restore the Security Tab in Internet Explorer

written by: PatrickDickey•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 8/31/2010

If you are running Internet Explorer and have found that your Security Tab is missing in Internet Options, here's how you'll restore the tab.

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    Restoring The Missing Security Tab

    You’ve opened up your Internet Options panel and noticed that the Security Tab is missing. And you don’t remember how it happened or whether you did it. Now, you want to restore the tab. I’ll walk you through the steps. One note first, you will have to work in the Registry. As long as you follow the instructions, you’ll be fine.

    You will want to log in as the Administrator in order to complete these tasks. This is because the options that you need in the registry are inaccessible to non-Administrators. If you’re on Windows XP Home or one of the Windows Vista Home editions, you’ll do this by restarting and pressing your F8 key repeatedly until the boot menu comes up. Then choose “Safe Mode" or “Safe Mode with Networking". The default password for the Administrator is blank, so you’ll just press Enter.

    The first thing to do is find out why the tab is missing. Certain Antispyware Programs "immunize" your Internet Options and hide the tab. You’ll want to undo that and see if that fixes the problem. If you don’t have an antispyware program, or it doesn’t hide the Security Tab, then you need to run a full system scan and clean up any spyware that it finds.

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    Diving Into the Registry

    After you’ve ran the antispyware scanner and are satisfied that your computer is clean, you’ll need to open the registry. Here are the steps that you'll follow. Note that Step 3 will be for those who want to block certain tabs and Step 4 will be for those who don't want to block anything.

    1. Pressing your Windows Key + R key will bring up a Run.. box. Type regedit and press Enter.
    2. Once you’re inside of Regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel.
    3. Look for SecurityTab and right click on the name. Choose "Modify" and change the value to 0.
    4. Right click on "Internet Explorer" in the left-hand pane and choose "Delete". At the prompt about deleting the key and any subkeys, choose "Yes."
    5. Close Regedit and restart your computer.

    In Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 RC, the key is located in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key. This also holds true if you have Internet Explorer 7 or Internet Explorer 8 installed. If you can't find the key in HKEY_CURRENT_USER, look here.

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    Final Thoughts

    While you’re in Safe Mode, I also recommend setting a password for the Administrator account. This safeguards your computer from the potential of someone else using that account to take control of your computer.

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    References

    The information that I used for these steps came from various sources. These sources include

    http://www.daniweb.com/forums/thread1444.html Although this forum post is about the Advanced Tab, the information applies to the Security Tab as well.

    http://www.derkeiler.com/Newsgroups/microsoft.public.security/2003-03/0173.html Diving into the replies of this brings up the same information as the Daniweb site.

    http://windowsxp.mvps.org/IEFAQ.htm#Tabs This article discusses the need for an antispyware scan (they recommend one product) and gives a general description of the steps in the registry.