This information applies to Windows Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Internet Explorer 8.

Internet Explorer blocks a website from using an ActiveX control on your computer if the website tries to use the ActiveX control in a way that might not be safe.

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What is an ActiveX control?

ActiveX controls and web browser add-ons are small programs that are used extensively on the Internet. They can make browsing more enjoyable by providing toolbars, stock tickers, video, animated content, and more. These programs can malfunction, however, or give you content you don't want. In some cases, these programs can be used to collect information from your computer in ways you might not approve of, possibly damage information on your computer, install software on your computer without your consent, or allow someone else to control your computer remotely. Given these risks, you should only install ActiveX controls or add-ons if you completely trust the publisher and the website offering it.

What should I do when Internet Explorer blocks the installation or use of an ActiveX control?

You should always be cautious about allowing websites to install or use ActiveX controls on your computer. If an ActiveX control is not essential to your computer activity, try to avoid installing it.

If you are trying to decide whether to install a particular add-on or ActiveX control, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you trust the website providing the control?

    Don't install an ActiveX control unless you trust the website that is providing it. For information about how to decide if you can trust a website, see When to trust a website.

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

    The website should tell you what this add-on or 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.

If you still want to install or run the ActiveX control, click the Information bar, and then follow the prompts.