This took too long to Google the answer. Most information is out-of-date with IE8/IE9 solutions. It is basically a duplicate of this post from Andres Cheah.
Our users are easily confused.
Using Group Policy Editor
- Use gpedit.msc or launch the Group Policy Editor.
Note: In an Active Directory environment, open gpmc.msc and either edit an existing GPO, or create a new one and link it to the domain level, or to an OU of your choice.
Refer to “Group Policy for Beginners” from Microsoft for the basics.
- In the left pane, expand User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer.
- On the right pane, double-click on “Prevent running First Run wizard”. A new settings window will open up.
- Set the value to “Enable”.
- In the options section you must choose one of the two options from the drop-down menu:
- Go directly to “Welcome To IE” page. This configures IE to skip the Welcome screen and and go to the “Welcome to Internet Explorer” page directly.
- Go directly to home page. This configures IE to skip the Welcome screen and go directly to your home page. This is the option we chose. You can combo this up with this post from ServerFault to also push a desired homepage to users.
You need to choose one of the two, otherwise the configuration will not work.
For those who really want to dig into how IE11 is handling the policy, I later came across this post from chentiangemalc where it details how the policy is applied and the associated ADMX. It also explains why much of the internet is outdated in the older “Prevent performance of First Run Customize Settings” that were used in IE8 and IE9 (e.g. here, here and here).