ActiveX Update Problems

Recently Microsoft has released a new ActiveX update to change the way Internet Explorer handles ActiveX controls loaded by the APPLET, EMBED, or OBJECT elements. The main reason behind this update is to settle a patent dispute with Eola about the technology used to handle these controls. After the update, users can interact with these controls only after they activate the user interface of these controls. These controls are also known as interactive controls.

To activate an interactive ActiveX control, you either need to click the control or press the Tab key to set the focus and then press Space bar or Enter. In certain cases, a message box, Click to run ActiveX control on this webpage maybe displayed. You will have to click the control every time you reload or open the webpage containing the control.

If you do not activate the ActiveX control then the user interaction-related DHTML events, such as onblur and onclick, are blocked. Additionally, the inactive control does not respond to messages, such as WM_CLICK and WM_KEYPRESS, relayed to it by mouse and keyboard.

Problems with the ActiveX Update

Due to the update, users may face problems while working with a number of existing interactive ActiveX controls. Microsoft has released many security updates to fix these problems. Many developers have also introduced update patches and new software versions to counter the issues. Some of these problems and methods to deal with them are discussed below:

  • If you use Google toolbar with your Internet Explorer, you may experience access violation errors, every time you close a window with an interactive ActiveX control. This problem can be fixed by installing a Google toolbar update that installs automatic servicing mechanism on your PC.
  • You may encounter problems with interactive controls if you load them using Java Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) 1.3 or 1.4 on your system. In this case, when you click the ActiveX control that runs an applet control using Java runtime environment, the focus may not go to the applet control, and you will need to click the control a second time to set the focus. You can fix this problem by downloading and installing J2SE 1.5 or above on your PC. You can download the latest version of J2SE from the Sun Java website.
  • If you disable the script debugging option of your Internet Explorer, then you may have problems running external scripts. At times, the controls that are written using Visual Basic (VB) and use the display and visibility feature of CSS for display, may not appear on the webpage. On certain Web pages with interactive ActiveX controls, the page might not display properly if you try to scroll down using the mouse wheel. Additionally, you may encounter access violation issues on Web pages that use Java Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT) classes in the user interface. You can repair all of the above errors by installing the security update 912812 for Internet Explorer.
  • When you try to open a PDF document from a secure (https) webpage, you may encounter a security warning message that the site contains mixed content. You can fix this issue by installing security update 916281 for Internet Explorer.

A recent ActiveX update by Microsoft to handle patent dispute with Eola gave rise to a number of problems related to already existing Interactive ActiveX controls. Various security updates and updated software versions have been released to deal with these problems. As a vigilant user, you can keep your Windows PC free of problems by keeping it updated with latest hotfixes, security patches, and service packs released by Microsoft. Additionally, you must also run regular antivirus scans on your system to ensure that your PC is free of malicious software. It is always a good idea to use an efficient registry cleaner software to maintain your system registry and ensure an optimal working condition for your PC.