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Using the IE Content Advisor to block all Internet access

This is an old trick that was documented on the Microsoft website for Windows 95 – Windows 2000 but seems to have disappeared since. Here’s a basic retelling of the procedure to block all Internet access and allow only approved sites using the FREE content advisor found in Internet Explorer.

1. Copy the following text into Notepad and save it as “noaccess.rat” in the Windows\system32\ directory (or another directory of your choice). Be sure that the file extension is .rat and not .txt. You can download a zip file containing¬†noaccess.rat here.

((PICS-version 1.0)
(rating-system “http://www.microsoft.com”)
(rating-service “http://www.microsoft.com”)
(name “Noaccess”)
(description “This file will block all sites.”)

(category
(transmit-as “m”)
(name “Yes”)
(label
(name “Level 0: No Setting”)
(description “No Setting”)
(value 0))
(label
(name “Level 1: No Setting”)
(description “No Setting”)
(value 1))))

2. In the “Control Panel” double-click on “Internet Options” and click on the “Content” tab.¬†If in Internet Explorer, click on “Tools” and “Internet Options” and click on the “Content” tab.
3. Click “Enable.”
4. Inside the “General” tab click on “Rating System.”
5. Remove all entries and click “Add.” Add “noaccess.rat” from the Windows\system32\ directory.

Content Advisor Block Internet

6. Click on the “Approved Sites” tab and add all the websites you wish to allow access to.

Content Advisor Block Internet

UPDATE (Dec 14 2009): I have added the noaccess.rat and noaccess.txt files to a zip file that can be downloaded here.

Comments

Ayan Debnath
Reply

An error:

When adding the .RAT file, IE7.0 says –
“A quoted string was expected near line 2″

Pls help me….

Ayan Debnath
Reply

Hello,

I have corrected the previous problem.

One question -
Is there any way to not to show the “Content Blocked” dialog-box ?
I want it to be silent.

Chris
Reply

I don’t believe there is a silent way with the Content Advisor.

You can always modify the HOSTS file in Windows to block certain websites. Just have an entry for each website you wish to block and have 127.0.0.1 as the IP…that way people will assume the site is down (will show up as 404 – Not Found).

Is this for a corporate network? Or one where people logon through a domain controller?

Dennis L
Reply

I’m getting the same error on line 2 during adding the noaccess.txt in IE 7. Can you please help, thanks.

Rob
Reply

((PICS-version 1.0)
(rating-system “http://www.microsoft.com”)
(rating-service “http://www.microsoft.com”)
(name “Noaccess”)
(description “This file will block all sites.”)

(category
(transmit-as “m”)
(name “Yes”)
(label
(name “Level 0: No Setting”)
(description “No Setting.”)
(value 0) )
(label
(name “Level 1: No Setting”)
(description “No Setting.”)
(value 1) ) ) )

Dave
Reply

If you are still getting errors as listed above, and you have copy and pasted the text, you may want to try replacing the double quotes as this fixed the errors for me. Though I cannot get the file to show up in the add menu when it is in my Windows/System32 folder on Windows Vista.

durnf
Reply

Is there a content advisor for Google Chrome?

Chris Stinson

Sorry, not that I have seen yet.

Eumenides
Reply

Will this work on Windows 7 machines running IE8 and IE9? I know that this is an older string, but need to deny some of my specific workstations from accessing all but a couple of sites.

Thank you.

Chris Stinson
Reply

Yes. I have it working on a number of Windows 7 machines with IE9.

Randy
Reply

I think this method of using a no-access Ratings file in IE’s Content Advisor is the most straightforward approach for anyone seeking a free password-protected way to broadly block sites on a standalone pc (not sure if this is networkable).

It involves no additional software, 3rd parties or web interfaces, no messing with routers, firewalls, proxies, compatibility issues, etc.

In its normal usage, Content Advisor’s biggest downside is probably that it looks only at URLs, and can’t block sites based on keywords on the webpage or in the window title but, again, that’s not the usage here, which is to block everything except user-specified sites.

Content Advisor also accepts URL wildcards (*) although applying them seems inconsistent. Some examples:

- *website.com or *.website.com for the entire site and all subdomains.
- *subdomain.website.com for the entire subdomain.
- http://www.website.com for the entire main site.
- http://www.website.com/x* for everything at level x only. This would typically be used to allow/block access to a certain subject area of a website.
- http://www.website.com/ for the home page only.
- Full URL for just that specific page.

NOTES:
- Don’t include “www” if a site doesn’t have a www prefix.
- A wildcard on a partial word can only be a leading wildcard, e.g. *hoo.com will block yahoo.com, hoohoo.com, wahoo.com, etc. but yah*.com won’t work at all.
- For secure pages (URLs beginning with “https”) the https URL domain including the https prefix must be added to the Approved Sites list of Content Advisor, even if the entire site was already entered.
- Many sites have 3rd parties loading with them, causing the Content Advisor popup to appear frequently on your approved sites. Either add these 3rd parties to the Approved List or block them with the HOSTS file.

Hope this helps.

Anthony
Reply

This worked like a charm!! Thank you!!!

Do you know if there is a way to suppress the warnings for when something is viewed that is not allowed? I have a few sites that are allowed, but they look out to other sites (like ad sites) and getting notifications that they are not allowed??

Thanks!

Frank
Reply

I can’t get this to work.

Any .rat file that I create or edit and save to system32 folder does not get listed/displayed when using IE9 to add it to the .rat menu.

Tried 20x, but whenver I edit the .rat file, IE no longer sees it.

What am I doing wrong.

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