Do you get tired of telling people where your technology helpdesk is or how to access it? I certainly do! Looking for an easier way, I discovered that Internet Explorer includes a very intuitive way to connect your users to your helpdesk. Under the help menu in IE, you will notice an Online Support button. By default, this link takes you to support.microsoft.com.
With a simple registry hack, we can point this button to any URL that we want! Implementing this is easy when using Group Policy Preferences. Our end result allow us to redirect users to our internal helpdesk URL!
What About IE Maintenance?
Beginning with IE 10, managing settings with Internet Explorer Maintenance (IEM) became impossible! While Administrative Templates and IE Preferences can replace most of the settings within IEM, they don’t support all of the Important URLs. The big one that was no longer supported was the Online Support link.
Most of these settings can be configured in the registry. The trick was finding out exactly what needed to be set. Thankfully, Microsoft has documented this process throughly in this very obscure TechNet article.
Deploying Your Registry Change
In a GPO, navigate to User Configuration/Preferences/Registry. Create a new registry preference with the following settings:
Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Help_Menu_URLs
Value Name: Online_Support
Value Type: REG_SZ
Value Data: YOUR HELPDESK URL
Close the Group Policy editor and link this GPO to an OU containing users. If you use a unique helpdesk URL for specific locations, you can also use Loopback Policy Processing to set this registry key for a group of computers.
On the next GPUpdate (including a background refresh), your clients will have easy access to your company helpdesk! This is true even if Internet Explorer is currently open. Pretty cool!
Wrapping up – how do your users access the helpdesk? Favorites? Start Menu/Screen shortcuts? Custom Error URLs? Something else?