Should I install ActiveX controls?

Maybe. You should be cautious about installing ActiveX controls, sometimes called add-ons, on your computer, even if they have a valid digital signature. While ActiveX controls can enhance web browsing, they might also pose a security risk, and it's best to avoid using them if the webpage will work without them. However, some websites or tasks might require them, and if the content or task is important to you, you will have to decide whether to install the ActiveX control.

Before installing an ActiveX control, consider the following:

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Were you expecting to receive this control?

Are you surprised that this website is trying to download an ActiveX control? Has this website required you to use an ActiveX control in the past? If this action is unexpected, you should be very cautious. Make sure you know what the control is for and what it will do to your computer before you save or run the file.

Do you trust the website providing the control?

Don't install an ActiveX control unless you absolutely trust the website that is providing the control and the publisher that created the control. When you install the ActiveX control, Internet Explorer displays a dialog box that identifies the publisher, and asks if you want to run the file. Click Don't run if you do not trust the publisher.

Do you know what the control is for and what it will do to your computer?

The website providing the file should tell you what this ActiveX control is for and provide any special details you need to know before you install it. If this information is not available, you should not install the control.


  • You might not be able to install ActiveX controls if the system administrator has disabled the ability to install them or if you are using a standard user account.

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