Web browser policy

For security reasons, it is important that students and staff use the available and approved browsers whilst using University PCs.

This approach was agreed by the University’s Information and Communications Technology Committee (ICTC) in March 2013. Small revisions were made in May 2014. In September 2016 this policy was updated to reflect the move to Google Chrome as the additional browser. In May 2018 the policy was updated with the introduction of the Windows 10 service, and with information concerning the fully assured Mac service.

In February 2020, this policy was updated to following the retirement of the Windows 7 service and the change to make Google Chrome the default browser on Windows 10 PCs.

What are the key things to know?

On the managed Windows 10 service, three web browsers are provided:

  • Microsoft Edge is installed as the supported and actively developed browser provided by Microsoft with Windows 10
  • Google Chrome is the default web browser. It is installed and automatically maintained with updates as they are released by Google
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 11) is provided. It is no longer developed by Microsoft and only receives security updates. You should not use Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10 for general web browsing

On the fully assured Mac service, two browsers are provided:

  • Safari, as the Apple default browser
  • Google Chrome is installed and automatically maintained with updates as they are released by Google

Our major web applications (e.g. Blackboard) are tested against a variety of browsers.

On the Windows 10 service, we recommend you use Google Chrome as your primary browser for day to day use. We are not able to explicitly test all of our major web applications against browsers on the Mac service due to time constraints and availability of effort.

Some of our systems may have functionality that only works in Internet Explorer 11. If you experience problems accessing one of these systems with Chrome, then you should use Internet Explorer 11.

Other settings

On the Windows 10 services, certain options within the browsers may be set by IT Services and not be configurable by the user. In the case of Google Chrome, these limitations are enforced even if a portable version of Chrome is used from a removable media drive e.g. USB stick.

Because Google Chrome is automatically updated, decisions taken by Google when these updates are released (such as the decision by Google to block Flash content by default) may affect some functionality on websites and systems. This changes may come at short notice and are beyond our control.

It is not possible to install custom-developed extensions (or “add-ons”) into browsers unless those are approved by IT Services. Extension requests should be submitted to the IT Service Desk. This is to ensure that extensions are safe, secure and that they do not create unacceptable risk to the University by storing information, subject to GDPR, in cloud services which have not been appropriately risk assessed. See Google Chrome webpage for a list of approved extensions.

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