MSEdge start page

  • Context

I needed to configure a few Windows 10 computers as if they were a kiosk computer.
These 5 computers are part of a workgroup. They are not part of a domain or AD joined or whatever.
I installed the new Microsoft Edge (chromium based) browser and have been tasked to set a start page.

  • Problem

Some settings that can be defined to set the StartPage for example don’t work when the computer is part of a workgroup.
They only work when the computer is part of a domain or is managed by a MDM 😦

It feels like the Apple guru told me that I cannot change the default browser on an iPhone, that Safari is good for me and that I’ve to stick with it 😦 D’oh!

The behavior is documented on this page and says:

If you browse the address edge://policy, you can see the settings that are not applied. Their Status reports ‘Error, Ignored’:

  • Solution

I took me 4 days to come up with a solution. 2 more days than I took me to come up with ideas that led to @sys:doesnotexist : Disallow AutoPlay/Autorun from Autorun.inf.

It wasn’t straightforward. Here’s a quick overview of the ideas I explored:

  1. Observe the behavior of msedge.exe: what dll it loads, what registry keys it queries to find out that the computer is part of a workgroup and is not domain joined or Azure AD joined.
  2. Lie somehow to the computer and make it believe it’s part of a domain.
  3. Provision a temporary Azure AD tenant, configure Intune, push a MSEdge configuration, enroll the device and observe what’s being done at enrolloment.

It appears that MSEdge.exe reads all the registry values under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Edge.
It determines after that if the device is part of a workgroup, or is domain-joined or AAD-joined.
It uses and loads the following Dlls: C:\Windows\System32\mdmregistration.dll, C:\Windows\System32\dsreg.dll,…

To join the computer to a domain that’s unreachable. I provisioned a offline blob using djoin.exe.

.\djoin.exe /requestODJ /loadfile C:\blob.dat /windowspath C:\Windows /localos

The 3 most interesting registry keys written by the above djoin.exe command are:

The problem with an offline join is that there’s a slowdown because the netlogon service is trying to reach the domain controller and the Built-in local groups (users and administrators) have the SID of the Domain Users and Domain Admins assigned as members.

The Intune provisioning path is actually the most promising. It takes only a few hours to configure before you can enroll the device. The device should be Azure AD joined and not Azure AD registered to have its security baseline being pushed.

Procmon.exe shows that MSEdge.exe reads the following registry keys:

It looks first for the key name (a GUID) under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Provisioning\OMADM\Accounts.

It uses this key name to open HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Enrollments\ and look for a DWORD value named EnrollmentType

0x0 means not enrolled or to be reset according to this page, 0x6 MDM enrolled.

It also reads HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CloudDomainJoin but this key and its info aren’t required to make MSEdge.exe think it’s MDM enrolled.

Here’s my solution:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
'@ |
Out-File 'C:\Windows\edge.dat' -Encoding 'Ascii'
regedit.exe --% /s C:\Windows\edge.dat
view raw fix-MSedge.ps1 hosted with ❤ by GitHub

At the end, I’ve got Edge Chromium running on a workgroup based computer, reading and applying all the settings under the HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies key including the RestoreOnStartup and the HomepageLocation values.

Happy days 😎

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