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Posts Tagged ‘pinned’

Internet Explorer, self signed certificates, shortcuts / pinned sites and the missing “Continue to website”-link phenomenon

2012/04/17 1 comment

Wow, Microsoft did a great job with introducing a new shortcut feature for websites with the extension .website

This will bring a lot of enhancements if you are a browser masochist and like to have pain accessing Intranet pages with self signed certificates.

So the default problem of websites with self signed certificates (admin consoles, switches, storage devices.. you name it) is the annoying popup, warning you to not access the site but rather close your browser.

Now, as used-to-microsoft-polemic-messages-admin you just go ahead and install the certificate in the trusted cert store, add the URL in the “Intranet” zone and drag-and-drop a link to you desktop and BAM.. the link is not working as you thought.

What happened? The “Continue to website (Not recommended)” link is missing. So how should you be able to access your trusted internal website with a self-signed cert if there is no option to continue?

Have a look into the shortcut you created to your site. Funny thing that link is saved as “.website”. As you might know, until now all internet shortcuts had the “.url” extension. Microsoft changed that and introduced the more secure and featuref**ing extension “.website”

Microsoft had and still has a lot of security problems which forces them to implement strange security “features”, like blocking every active content on not explicit allowed URLs (Windows 2003/2008 Strong Security enabled), blocking downloads you requested to force you to click again,… or rendering shortcuts to websites with “spoofed” insecure, certificates unusable.

If you create a shortcut to a website now, IE creates the file and sets some policy settings in it. If a website uses a self signed certificate, the browser checks the shortcut, and sets something like “Block Access, Self signed”. You can check that by changing contents of the shortcut (with notepad++ or similar) and save it. The next time you open it, Internet Explorer disables it again and writes it back to the file when the browser is closed.

Solution:

Delete all the website shortcuts created with Internet Explorer and create your own ones:

  1. Right-click on your Desktop and select “New- Shortcut”
  2. Enter the target URL e.g. http://www.google.de
  3. Enter the name for the link
  4. Click OK to finish the wizard.

This creates a file with a .url extension, which opens like charm.

You can also create new shortcuts with notepad.

  1. Create a new text file
  2. Put the following content in it:
  3. [{000214A0-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}]
    Prop3=19,11
    [InternetShortcut]
    URL=http://YOURURL
    IDList=
  4. Save it as <filename>.URL

That’s it. Your links are working again. Just prevent using the .website format.

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