How-To Geek

Backup and Restore Internet Explorer’s Trusted Sites List

If you’ve used a computer on a corporate network you’ve likely had to add a website to your trusted sites list because it just wouldn’t work otherwise. After a while, you end up with a mess of sites in your Trusted sites list… so how do you transfer those to a new computer without retyping them?

Like most everything else in Windows, there’s a quick way you can do so in the registry by backing up a single key, which we’ll cover for you today.

What Are We Backing Up Again?

For those of you that don’t know what we’re talking about, if you go to the Security tab under Internet Options, you’ll see a Trusted sites icon in the list.


Selecting that icon and then the Sites button will bring up a dialog which will allow you to add or remove sites from the zone.


For the purposes of this example, I used a clean computer that only had added to the list, which would be silly to backup via the registry… this should really be used for machines with a long list.

Backing Up Via Regedit

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box and navigate down to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\Domains


Right-click on the Domains key and choose Export, and then give the file a useful name. You can then transfer it over to any other computer you’d like.

Importing the Backup

This is as simple as double-clicking on the file on any machine that you want to restore that list on. Remember that it will potentially wipe out entries currently on that machine you are restoring over and replace them with the backup copy.


As you can see, I was able to take the backup file from my Vista machine and restore it onto my XP machine:


This is probably most useful for somebody in IT… easy way to add all the corporate web apps just once to the trusted sites list.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/23/08

Comments (7)

  1. venkat

    This is definitely useful to corporate users.

  2. John Paul

    What about on a Windows 2000 machine? I do not have a ZoneMap/Domain key in my registry. Please advise. Thank you.

  3. Kevin L

    This is good… I have actually done this exact thing before…for a different reason but never thought to use it to back-up all of my TRUSTED sites and then transfer them to another PC. That is exactly what I need to do this Thanksgiving Holiday. Transferring from Vista to X-P Pro.

    Many Thanks “How to Geek” This is a great service you are providing for the less technical among us who want to learn… how to get to that next level of proficiency in our skills…KL

  4. Kevin L

    Dear Forum /also… How to Geek…Please advise me, “my brother who lives with me has recently developed a problem with his PC. He recently had a personal trip for family business…an obligatory wedding to attend.While there with the family, Our nephew who is a computer science major in college…wiped my brothers hard drive clean to give him a “fresh start” in it’s place he installed a “fresh Windows” copy of XP, a copy he calls XP Black. I’ve never heard of it before…now.
    But he says it is a cross between Win-XP and Vista a proto -type version of Vista of sorts. His problems developed however when he tried to install and use a registered software disk of the Nero suite 2007 software application. He has an external L-G DVD burner attached to the new PC which he hoped to use.

    Every time he tries to use the program however his computer locks up and freezes. My question for all of you is…how and where do I start to troubleshoot this problem for him in order to fix it?

    P.S. He also might have installed one OS on top of the other thinking that they would somehow “merge and repair his previous issues” but since I was not there I don’t really know what was actually done to his computer…Thank you in advance KL

  5. adam

    very neat, I’ve seen this key before, but never thought of backing it up…..I’ll definately do this now though! :) I’m one to “browse with high security” and selectively “allow” domains only as I need them ;) So my “trusted” zone is quite huge….

    Question though, is there a way to back up the “Restricted” area? Or are those entries included in this branch?

  6. Ralph Malph

    Good info, but author forgot that HKEY_Current_user is only good for the current user. So their statement “easy way to add all the corporate web apps just once to the trusted sites list.” dose not really work very well unless the current user is logged on when the reg setting is applied. This is not the fault of the author, of course, it is just ONE OF A THOUSAND, common sense needs that Microsoft leaves out of its products. (I should be able to change Current_User to Local_Machine and have it then apply for ALL users, but thanks to the usual MS half A__ job I can’t.)

    I have 40+ PC running in a higher ed library with 100+ people using the PCs all with different logins and profiles and this would be a GREAT way to set the Trusted/Untrusted sites for those users quick and easy, unfortunately MS does not have the intelligence to see that.

    This comment is not meant to take away from the EXCELLENT info the author is presenting in this article, just to keep anyone from being accidentally mislead by his last statement.

  7. Ralph Malph

    PS… to Adam,

    This will also back up the restricted site as they are in the same place. They just have a different value for the DWORD found inside the entries under “Domain”. It is the value of that DWORD that makes a site trusted, intranet, internet, or restricted.


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