How Do I Stop the Prompt for ActiveX Controls?

by Cam Merritt
It is dangerous out there.

It is dangerous out there.

ActiveX controls are essentially mini-programs that can be shared by different Windows applications. For example, Internet Explorer is not able to display PDFs or show Flash animation by itself, but it can do so by executing the proper ActiveX controls. Unfortunately, ActiveX controls are so easy to design and implement that they are one of the most common tools for loading viruses, spyware and other malicious software onto people's computers. Because of this, every time a website tries to install an ActiveX control, Internet Explorer asks you whether you want to allow it. These prompts can prevent harm to your computer, but they can also be annoying when you are on trusted sites. You can stop the prompt for ActiveX controls by changing your computer's security settings.

Go to the "Tools" menu in Internet Explorer and select "Internet Options" or "Options," whichever applies.

Click the "Security" tab in the dialog box that opens.

Select the icon for the "Internet" zone.

Click the "Custom Level" button. This opens a "Security Settings" window with a list of actions that could compromise your computer's security. For each one, you can tell Explorer to automatically block the action in all instances ("Disable"), allow it in all instances ("Enable"), or ask you whether to block it ("Prompt").

Scroll down to the section marked "ActiveX Controls and Plug-ins"

Select "Enable" for the following actions: "Allow previously unused ActiveX controls to run without prompt" "Download signed ActiveX controls" "Download unsigned ActiveX controls" "Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe for sripting" "Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins" "Script ActiveX controls marked safe for scripting."

Select "Disable" for the action "Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls."

Click "OK" to close the Security Settings window, then "OK" again to close the Internet Options window.

Restart your computer. The new security settings are in effect, and you should no longer see ActiveX prompts.

Tip

  • check To restore the ActiveX prompts, follow Steps 1 through 3, then click "Reset all zones to default level."

Warning

  • close Allowing ActiveX controls to download, install and run leaves your computer vulnerable. Shutting off the prompts may be fine if you only visit trusted sites, but surfing unfamiliar sites could be dangerous.

About the Author

Cam Merritt is a writer and editor specializing in business, personal finance and home design. He has contributed to USA Today, The Des Moines Register and Better Homes and Gardens"publications. Merritt has a journalism degree from Drake University and is pursuing an MBA from the University of Iowa.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera internet image by Travelfish from Fotolia.com