I have a rather frustrating problem and resolving it seems more and more impossible.
We use SCVMM to deploy Windows 8 templates in our lab environment. The templates have all necessary modifications done to fit our needs including setting the default browser to IE10. We also have a dozen of user accounts configured in the template each with different regional and language settings (for localized testing) of which each user is set to IE10 by default.
Unfortunately each time we make a template out of our (sysprepped) Windows 8 master image and deploy it afterwards, no default browser is set anymore for any user on the newly created Windows 8 VM.
This is quite a problem since our automation tries to open the default browser but ultimately hangs at the open with window. Due to the lack of proper IDs of the new open with window in Windows 8 we are unable to handle this message and as a result our tests fail.
Weve been working a long time to get this resolved but at the end we couldnt manage to get the problem solved.
Here are just a few things we tried:
- Trying to associate .html, .htm etc. files with IE manually through registry. There are many tutorials for this on the World Wide Web but none of them seem to work (maybe because they mostly relate to Windows 7?). Although keys in the registry seem to be just fine, the open with dialog still opens up and the IE complains about not being the default browser (a new tab opens up which tells you this). Even using .reg files which are reported to work fine under Windows 7 have absolutely no effect on Windows 8.
- Making a snapshot of the registry after weve set all default browser settings manually and importing the .reg file upon first startup of the newly created VM. NOTE: This does work under one condition! If we use a VM and make the adjustments, export the registry, revert to a snapshot where the changes are not yet made and then reimport the registry, the settings are applied. BUT: if we use another VM made out of the SAME template and import the registry, the settings are being ignored.
- Using tools which are supposed to change the default browser because we thought that we made a mistake somewhere but in the end even those tools which were supposedly working had no effect under Windows 8 (we still got asked by the open with dialog.)
We also wanted to see how other browsers handle the Make this browser default-procedure. We found out that other browsers also have this problem. As a test scenario we installed Firefox and we of course got asked after install if we want to make FF our default browser. Even after we clicked yes the Open with dialog STILL popped up the first time.
My question to you are therefore the following:
Why does WIN8 forget the default browser settings after being sysprepped?
Why do the registry entries for file associations have no effect on WIN8 (at least we still get asked for default programs even if we set the necessary keys).
Is there any way we can solve this problem or is this by design in Windows 8 to prevent applications silently making themselves default.
If there is a solution: Is there a way we can apply the settings for all users at once? (The registry solution works only if in HKCU?!)
Attached you can find a screenshot of the open with dialog we mean.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.