How To Use ActiveX Filtering in Internet Explorer 11

ActiveX is a software framework that can be re-used by many application programs within a computer or among various computers in a network. Once installed ActiveX has access to your entire computer.

Often referred to as an add-on, ActiveX is a small set of programs for Internet Explorer, which enable playback of rich multimedia such as videos, animations and various other types of files. It will also assist you to access other content like toolbars and stock tickers while browsing the web.

Though very useful, such applications often pose a risk to those browsing online, especially when they malfunction. In such cases various websites might push unwanted content into your system, collect information from your system (including any of your personal information), damage your system internally or even install unwanted software programs in your system. It is commonly used by hackers to gain access to your systems.

Despite its usefulness, the biggest downside of ActiveX is that it is not one of the safest technologies around. Because of this inherent security risk, Internet Explorer 11 comes with the ActiveX Filtering feature, with which you allow ActiveX controls to run only on those websites that you trust. ActiveX Filtering will prevent vulnerable ActiveX controls from running on your system.

Here is how you can use ActiveX filtering in internet explorer 11

  • Launch your internet explorer 11 browser

  • Click on the Gear icon. You can locate it on the upper right corner of your browser window

  • From the drop-down menu, click on the Safety option

  • In its sub-menu locate the option labeled ActiveX Filtering

  • If there is a checkmark next to this option, then ActiveX filtering is already enabled

  • If not, then click on the option ActiveX Filtering and enable it

ActiveX controls are essential for playing certain games and videos and when you enable ActiveX controls, it won’t be possible for you to play some other content. In such cases, the website will always prompt to deactivate ActiveX filtering, and again deactivating it is entirely your choice.

How to Turn off ActiveX Filtering for Individual Websites

  • Open the website for which you wish to turn Off ActiveX Filtering

  • If ActiveX Filtering was enabled for all websites, it would show a blue circular icon (similar to a stop symbol) in the address bar

  • This blue circular icon is the Filter Button

  • Click on this Filter button and then select Turn Off ActiveX Filtering

Using this blue filter button, you can easily access ActiveX filtering on all websites that you trust.


Managing all your ActiveX Controls

You can check all the ActiveX controls that you have installed in your computer, by clicking the gear menu on the internet explorer window and selecting manage add-ons. Click the box, located right below Show and select All add-ons.

You can easily disable the variety of ActiveX controls present in your systems such as Adobe’s Shockwave Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and Windows Media Player. But if you wish to remove them entirely from your system, you can do the same from Control Panel only.

You can also modify ActiveX Settings as per your requirements. Follow these steps to do the same:

  • Click on the Tools button - a gear-like icon at the top right corner of the internet explorer window

  • Go to Internet Options

  • Click on the Security tab

  • Choose Custom level

  • Locate ActiveX controls and plug-ins

All ActiveX settings are a subset of this option. You can modify any of them as per your requirements. Remember that ActiveX controls only function in the internet explorer browser window. Any website that requires an ActiveX control is an internet explorer only website. However, they also work in other Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Office. That is the only exception where ActiveX is applied to software programs that are not Internet-Explorer only,

ActiveX controls can be quite dangerous, and you should only install them if you trust the source and if you need them. While browsing you might find various websites that encourage you to install ActiveX Controls but you should decline such offers if unnecessary. It is recommended to remove an ActiveX control when it’s no longer necessary or is not in use. It will not only reduce attacks but also secure your computer and your data.  

Michael G

Michael is a self-taught writer, editor, and software developer who has a passion for content that is carefully tailored to add value to the lives of any who interact with it through any medium. He is a Nigerian from the oil-rich Delta State.

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