Activating Microsoft Active X Controls

Microsoft Active X controls are used by developers to create components that can be called on in different applications to perform specific functions. ActiveX components are based on Microsoft’s Component Object Model (COM) architecture. Developers use the Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) technology to embed ActiveX objects into applications.

In Internet Explorer, ActiveX controls are loaded using Embed, Applet, or Object elements. For instance, ActiveX controls help you load Flash applets to run Flash files or embed a PDF reader to open PDF files.

You cannot interact with an ActiveX control directly. To interact with these controls you will first have to activate the user interface for a control. In this article, we will discuss how ActiveX controls are handled by Internet Explorer and how you can activate the user interface of an ActiveX control.

Interactive Microsoft Active X Controls

The Active X controls that come with user interfaces are known as interactive controls. If you open a Web page that uses an object, or embeds an applet element to load a control, the user interface of the control will remain blocked until you activate it. If multiple controls are used on the same page, then you will have to activate each control individually.

What Happens When a Control is Inactive?

One of the following will happen when an ActiveX control is inactive:

  • Internet Explorer uses different techniques to prevent any messages from keyboard and mouse from reaching the ActiveX control.
  • If a window-based control, such as HTML Help control, is inactive then the Internet Explorer uses the EnableWindow function to disable the control window.
  • If a windowless control is inactive, then the filtering of keyboard and mouse messages is done by the control’s container.
  • Even if the control is inactive, certain actions can occur that do not require user interaction. For instance, if you are trying to play a media file from Internet Explorer, then you may be able to play the music, but you will not be able to control Pause, Stop, Play, or Replay until the control is activated.

How to Activate Microsoft Active X Controls

To activate an ActiveX control on a Web page, you need to click the control when it is displayed. If you want to activate the control using the keyboard, first set the focus by pressing the Tab key, and then press the Space bar or the Enter key to activate the control. The control responds to the user interaction and loads.

To settle a recent patent dispute with Eola on how Interactive ActiveX components are loaded, Microsoft, in its latest update, has introduced an additional message box that appears after the user interaction. For instance, if you try to activate Shockwave player or QuickTime controls, the Click to run ActiveX control on this webpage is displayed. When this message appears, you just need to click again to upload the Active X control. This additional message box is not there for any security purpose, and you can automate the control to respond immediately to user interaction with the help of external scripts. You can get help regarding these external scripts on the Microsoft MSDN website.

ActiveX controls are a free and easy technology that help you develop components to include additional features in various applications, especially Internet Explorer. Interactive controls are used with ActiveX controls to allow user interaction in activating an ActiveX control on a particular webpage or window. If you do not activate a control, Internet Explorer prevents you from interacting with the control by stopping messages from the keyboard and mouse from reaching it.