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Computer programmers use subprograms, add-ons, and applets because the functionality written into a smaller program can be accessed from any program that utilizes the required communication protocol. This practice reduces the maintenance and enhancement efforts for common functions that are useful from many software programs. Users who wish to perform certain functions within Microsoft Internet Explorer must install ActiveX Control. The ability to use these convenient functions also opens an avenue for unwanted access to the system registry that can cause errors to develop. Once the user is aware of the potential problem, measures can be taken to protect the computer from harm.
What is an ActiveX Control?
ActiveX is the name assigned to a set of applets that Microsoft Corporation created to perform useful tasks including spell checking and PDF file access inside Internet Explorer. When the user accesses a website that initiates a FlashPlayer request, for example, the user is shown a request for permission to download the ActiveX control associated with Flash. The website visitor who grants permission to install the Flash ActiveX control will then see the Flash applet displayed when the webpage is reloaded.
How to Install ActiveX Control
If this is the first time an ActiveX Control request has been issued, the user will be shown a light yellow message bar just below the address bar in Microsoft Internet Explorer. When the user right clicks on the message, a small menu with the option to “Run ActiveX Control” is shown. Clicking on this option will automatically install ActiveX Control on the computer.
How to Customize ActiveX Control
Security concerns can be addressed by changing the options for ActiveX Controls within Internet Explorer. With the Windows Internet Explorer browser open, follow these steps to modify the options associated with Active X Controls on the computer:
Risks of Running ActiveX Controls
Many websites offer functionality that requires the user to download a specific ActiveX Control module. Care must be exercised to prevent damaging programs from entering the computer. Microsoft Corporation recommends using only their certified ActiveX Controls and denying access to all non-certified ActiveX add-ons. Certified partners are supported because of their unique functionality like Adobe’s ActiveX control that allows the user to read PDF files within the bounds of the Internet Explorer browser.
Soon after Microsoft created the first ActiveX Control, security concerns arose concerning the misuse of programs that appeared to be ActiveX Controls, but were actually malware. Registry changes that are made by the installation of ActiveX Controls can damage the computer configuration. Every computer user must be aware of the source of the ActiveX Control download and installation request. Investigation through a respected search engine can prevent unwanted registry changes from being performed.
Exercising Security Precautions over ActiveX Controls
Some of the most useful websites require the visitor to agree to download certain ActiveX Controls, but the choice still exists to leave the website or simply deny the download request. Some users have stopped using Microsoft Internet Explorer in response to unwanted registry changes. The Mozilla Firefox browser does not use ActiveX Controls and those websites will not present all of their content and functionality to the Firefox browser. Portions of the webpage will load in Firefox, but not certain features.
The prudent approach to using ActiveX Controls is to visit the Options tab within Microsoft Internet Explorer and investigate the meaning of the options under the ActiveX section. Each version of Microsoft Internet Explorer contains more advanced security to prevent unauthorized changes to the registry. Informed users are careful to download and install the most useful and respected ActiveX Controls but will refuse any obscure permission requests issued by fringe websites.
Repairing the Registry to fix ActiveX errors
Whenever a questionable ActiveX Control has entered the computer the best registry cleaner, Uniblue’s Registry Booster 2011, should be used to diagnose and repair any entries that have been corrupted. Restoring the registry’s health will keep the computer functioning at top speed without the occurrence of unwanted ActiveX errors.