If you are an Internet service provider (ISP), you can use the Windows® Internet Explorer® Customization Wizard 8 to create a custom package that automates Internet sign-up for your customers.


The Internet sign-up option is not available for the Windows Vista® operating system.

If you use one of the server-based Internet sign-up methods that are supported by Internet Explorer Administration Kit 8 (IEAK 8), you will use an Internet sign-up server to collect information from each user. The sign-up server adds the data to your customer database, and then sends a configuration packet back to the user's computer. This packet configures the browser for subsequent connections to your Internet services.

The following server-based sign-up methods are available in IEAK 8:

Regardless of which server-based method you choose, you should begin by doing the following tasks described in this topic:

Then, you should complete the following additional steps, depending on the sign-up method you want to use:

Prepare sign-up files and folders

To ensure that your package installs correctly, the folder that contains your custom sign-up files must include the following files:

  • Signup.htm. This HTML page provides information about your Internet services, and must include a link to an appropriate HTML page on the sign-up server. You can customize the sample Signup.htm file, which is located in these folders (depending on the sign-up method you want to use): <systemdrive>:\Program Files\Windows IEAK 8\toolkit\isp\Server\ICW or <systemdrive>:\Program Files\Windows IEAK 8\toolkit\isp\Server\kiosk. For example, you can add technical support information or include links to Internet sign-up (.isp) files.

  • Signup.isp. This Internet sign-up file is used to dial your sign-up server and is referenced in Signup.htm. This file should also contain a link to the URL of the server script that generates your Internet settings (.ins) files. Using the Internet Explorer Customization Wizard 8, you can edit the parameters contained in this sign-up file. This wizard also generates other .isp files for the sign-up process. Sample Signup.isp files are also located in these folders (depending on the sign-up method you want to use): <systemdrive>:\Program Files\Windows IEAK 8\toolkit\isp\Server\ICW or <systemdrive>:\Program Files\Windows IEAK 8\toolkit\isp\Server\kiosk.

  • All other sign-up files. All related files, including .gif and .jpg graphics files, must be saved in the same folder with your custom sign-up files. For example, you might want to include your own customized versions of the Install.gif file.

Configure DHCP for IIS

If you are using an Internet Information Services (IIS) server as your sign-up server, you must configure the Internet sign-up server to provide a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) IP address to the client computer when the client connects to the server. Because the sign-up process is relatively short, the expiration time for the IP address lease can be small — possibly only a few minutes.

Because the sign-up process is intended to be used over a point-to-point dial-up connection, the IP addresses allocated for the DHCP server do not need to be formally assigned IP addresses. You should determine whether the DHCP IP addresses are valid Internet addresses or arbitrary addresses.

For more information, see your DHCP product documentation.

Register the .ins file MIME type

For your user's computer to process the .ins file automatically, you must register a Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) type for the .ins file with the sign-up server. This MIME type is designated application/x-Internet-signup. When the client requests an .ins file, the sign-up server responds with this MIME type, which starts the associated installation application on the client side.

You must manually edit MIME types in the registry. To add the .ins file MIME type, use Regedit.exe to add the following information.

Under this key:


Add this value:


This value does not have a string associated with it. For more details about setting MIME types, you can also refer to the IIS product documentation (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=68950).


For these registry settings to take effect, you must shut down all IIS services after adding the new MIME type. It is not sufficient simply to stop and restart the Web publishing service. (In practice, the FTP and Gopher services are not likely to be running in the sign-up server configuration.)

Additional references