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ICRA filtering using Microsoft Internet Explorer

To take advantage of the older PICS ICRA labelling system using Microsoft Internet Explorer, follow the key steps below.

Please note: There are 2 ICRA PICS labelling systems currently in use, and to get the most from your filtering, you will want to set up both of these systems in Content Advisor. This page shows how to set up filtering to read the older v02 labels (2000 to 2005), many of which are still in use. To set up Content Advisor with the newest vocabulary, if you do not already have the v03 rat file installed in your Content Advisor, please see the link at the bottom of the page.

Step 1: download

The ICRA PICS labelling system is encoded in a small file known as a 'rat' file (short for ratings). The first thing you need to do is to download this. When you click the link below you'll see a dialogue like that shown below:

Rat file download dialogue

Select Save this file to disk and click [OK]. On Windows 95, 98 and ME, save it to your C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM folder. On Windows NT/2000/XP, save it to C:\WINDOWS\System32.

Click here to download the icra.rat file (23kb).

Step 2: installation

From the Internet Explorer tool bar (top of screen) select [Tools] > [Internet Options]

Select the [Content] tab

In the Content Advisor section at the top, there are two buttons, [Enable] and [Settings]. If you have used Content Advisor before, please skip the next bit by clicking here. If you have not used Content Advisor before, the [Settings] button is not available. See below:

Content Advisor, first use

Click [Enable] to bring up the settings screen. Windows comes with the old RSACi rating system that ICRA replaced in 2000.

Original RSACi settings page

Ignore this for the time being, just click [OK] at the bottom. You will be prompted to enter a password. Be sure to choose one that:

  • You can remember
  • Your children won't be able to guess

Both ICRA and Microsoft receive many e-mails from people who have forgotten their password. ICRA is unable to help in this situation and Microsoft is VERY wary about giving out information on how to remove any passwords - mainly because it is impossible to determine whether or not it is the parent who has forgotten, or the child who is trying to find out...

Once you have entered your new password (twice, the second time to confirm you got it right first time!), click [OK]. IE6 also asks you to enter a password hint - just in case you do forget your password

Click the [Settings] button.

Select the [General] tab.

Near the bottom, click [Rating Systems] which will bring you to the following screen:

Click [Add] and you should be presented with a view of the C:\WINDOWS\system or C:\WINDOWS\system32 folder (depending on which version of Windows you're using). This will include your new icra.rat file. Select that file and click [Open]

'ICRA' should now appear in the Rating Systems menu...

Click [OK] to close down the settings options and return to the Content Advisor dialogue box. You have now installed the upgraded system and can now proceed to the next step to set it up.

Step 3: configuration

If you don't already have the Content Advisor dialogue box open, from the Internet Explorer tool bar (top of screen) select [Tools] > [Internet Options] and select the [Content] tab.

In the Content Advisor section at the top, click the [Settings] button.

Enter your password and click OK.

Select the 'Ratings' tab where you should see the installed ICRA labelling descriptors - Chat, Language etc.

Select the first descriptor and move the slide bar underneath the list to the right if you wish to allow access to that particular material or leave it on the left if you wish to prevent access to that particular material. The following illustration explains...

Then move down the list of descriptors one by one and set each descriptor to your preference.

Artistic nudityTake careful note of the text written under "Description." The first of these is shown in the screen shot below. This is a context modifier. ICRAplus allows you to, for example, allow access to an artistic picture such as Botticelli's Birth of Venus despite it including a bare female breast which you may have blocked out of context. Internet Explorer's Content Advisor does not support this function so for all context modifiers, you MUST set the slider to the right hand side.

First context modifier

Other descriptors to look out for are:

  • Future Descriptors: leave the slider to the LEFT.
  • ZZZ - System Setting - ZZZ: is set to the LEFT and cannot be moved.
  • ZZZ - System Setting - [Code C/L/N/O/V]: all 5 should be set to the RIGHT.

When you reach the end, click [OK].

Step 4: customize

Content Advisor depends on sites carrying an appropriate ICRA label. As this is a voluntary action on the part of the web author, not all sites carry our labels (although a growing number do!)

Content Advisor allows you to customize your settings to your own particular preferences and there are two key areas to consider:

  • Whether or not to allow access to sites which do not carry an ICRA label ("sites that have no rating");
  • Whether you wish to allow or disallow access specified sites irrespective of whether or not they are carrying an ICRA label.

If you don't already have the Content Advisor dialogue box open, from the Internet Explorer tool bar (top of screen) select [Tools] > [Internet Options] and select the [Content] tab.

In the Content Advisor section at the top, click the [Settings] button.

Enter your password and click OK.

Now click the [General] tab and you will see the dialogue box below:

IE5 Content Advisor, General tab

If you decide not to allow access to sites that have no rating AND that you don't want to allow the option of entering a supervisor password, this is likely to lead to very severe restrictions on internet access. Therefore most users will want to check both of the options at the top of this dialogue box... and then go on to the next step.

Now we're going to add in some specific sites that we do or do not want to allow access to. If you have decided to allow access to sites that have no rating, then you will probably want to block access to specific sites. Alternatively, if you chose not to allow access to sites that have no rating, then it is likely that you will want make a list of sites to which you DO want to allow access. Either way, click the [Approved Sites] tab to bring up the dialogue box below:

IE5 Content Advisor, Approved Sites tab

To add a site of which you approve, first type its url (its web address) into the box at the top:

IE5 Content Advisor, Approved Sites input

Notice that two buttons are now available: [Always] and [Never]. Click [Always] to allow access, [Never] to block it, both irrespective of any ICRA label they may or may not have. If you click [Always], the URL will appear in the lower box with a green tick (check). If you chose [Never], a red "no entry" icon appears.

IE5 Content Advisor, Approved Sites ICRA approved

These options provide for a fine level of control over the filtering applied to your computer. You can change your settings, add or delete URLs from the Approved Sites list at any time by returning to these dialogue boxes - all of which are under password control.

Step 5: enable

If you have not already done so, you can now click the "Enable" button. This sometimes causes some confusion. If the button says [Enable], Content Advisor is currently Disabled. Conversely, if the button says [Disable], then Content Advisor is Enabled. In other words, the button shows you which action you can take, rather than showing you the current status.

Step 6: test

With Content Advisor enabled, all filter settings set to 'Do not allow' and access to sites which have no rating (see section above) not allowed, try to access the following web sites:

Return to Support Index


If the test failed then there are 3 possibilities:
  • You've missed something - the most likely of which is that Content Advisor is not enabled. See above here.
  • If you have visited a web page recently with Content Advisor disabled, a copy will be stored on your computer and you will be granted access to that copy. So you need to delete your Temporary Internet Files. Click [Tools] > [Internet Options] and bring up the dialogue box below:
Delete Temporary Internet Files
  • If you are running Windows 95, 98, ME or NT, you might be suffering from a bug in Internet Explorer. Please see 3.3 for the solution.

Related topics:

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