How to Enable ActiveX Controls on Explorer

By Jennifer Claerr

Updated February 10, 2017

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There are some dangers to running ActiveX controls in Internet Explorer. For this reason, Explorer sometimes automatically blocks active content that tries to run in the browser window. This can be frustrating and annoying when you want to run content that you know is safe. Also, the ActiveX settings in Internet Explorer are cryptic and hard to find. If you've tried to solve ActiveX problems without success, there are several methods you can use to get active content working in your browser again.

Open Internet Explorer. Navigate to the "Tools" menu and select "Internet Options." Select the "Security" tab. Click the "Custom Level" button.

Scroll down to the area marked "ActiveX controls and plug-ins." Under "Allow previously unused ActiveX controls to run without prompt," click "Enable." Under "Allow Scriptlets," select "Enable." Under "Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls," click "Disable." Under "Binary and script behaviors," select "Enable." Select "Enable" under "Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins." Use the recommended or default values for medium-high security for all other settings. Click "OK" twice.

Click the Internet Explorer Information bar when it prompts you to install an ActiveX control if you trust the website that's delivering the control. Go through the necessary steps to install the control. If Internet Explorer gives an Information bar saying that active content has been blocked, click "Allow blocked content" if you feel the program is safe and would like it to run in your browser.

Test your browser to see whether ActiveX controls are enabled. For example, check the PC PitStop website, which will allow you to run an ActiveX test without registering for an account. Also place the website that is using the ActiveX control in your "Trusted Sites" list.

Reinstall, repair or upgrade Internet Explorer if you're still experiencing problems. Also try temporarily disabling anti-spyware and anti-virus software, as these can block ActiveX controls from running. If these solutions fail, you may have a corrupt or missing file. Repair your Windows installation, or restore your system to a point when you knew ActiveX was working properly.