Internet Explorer Administration Kit 8 (IEAK 8)
If you're tempted, like us, to make a custom Internet Explorer Administration Kit 8 (IEAK 8) applying settings like the "Provided by" and removing the "Welcome to" and configuration screens associated with a fresh install of Internet Explorer 8, please take care.
I cannot prove for certain that this is the case but it appears the settings applied at this point are in conflict with those set by Group Policy- causing intermittent loss of connectivity where proxy settings are lost.
Using the IEAK I didn't apply any connection settings and I've had constant complaints from a test area all day that external sites wheren't available. Log on remotely, gpupdate and reboot and everything works correctly. Leave it a while and the complaints start to come in again.
I was intermitently able to replicate this on a staff test account and proxy settings were all blank- as "set" in by the IEAK msi.
This has only been affecting staff, not students, as our students have their proxy settings re-applied every ten minutes. Presumably this has been preventing the IEAK from having an opportunity to re-assert itself in a noticeable way (we've had no complaints).
The clincher is the restrictions on menu options available set in the MSI that disappeared (i.e. all menus re-appeared) when GP applied, but the restrictions appear to be applied when the proxy settings are missing.
We're now switching to a vanilla IE8 install and using GP to manage it's entire behaviour, including "First Run". Thankfully that's one issue caught during limited testing.
Hope that saves someone some time.