How to Download and Install an ActiveX Control

Updated April 17, 2017

The Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser feature can be expanded through the installation of "plug-in" programs called "ActiveX controls." ActiveX controls are usually configured to automatically download and install to computers when computers connect to a website, which is a convenience and also a security concern. Configure Internet Explorer with settings that enable downloading and running ActiveX controls before ActiveX control installation.

Log in to the computer using the credentials of an account that has Administrator permissions on the computer. Click the "Start" button on the Windows 7 Taskbar and click "Programs" and then right-click the "Internet Explorer" icon. Click "Run as Administrator" in the menu that appears.

Click the "Tools" menu item at the top of the "Internet Explorer" Web browser window and click "Internet Options" in the menu that appears. Click the "Security" tab and then click "Custom Level." Move down the list displayed to the "ActiveX Controls and Plug-ins" section. Click "Prompt" under the "Download Signed ActiveX Controls" header. Click "Prompt" under the "Run ActiveX Controls and Plug-ins" header. Click the "Advanced" Click "OK" and then click "OK" in the "Internet Options" window. Click the red "X" in the upper right corner of the "Internet Explorer" window to close Internet Explorer.

Click the "Start" button on the Taskbar and click "Programs," and right-click the "Internet Explorer" icon and then click "Run as Administrator."

Type the URL Web address of an Internet site where you wish to download and install an ActiveX control. Click on the "Information Bar" that appears just below the toolbars and click "Install ActiveX Control" in the menu that appears.

Type the Administrator password for the computer if prompted and click "OK." Click the "Install' button in the "Internet Explorer -- Security Warning" box that appears to complete the ActiveX control installation.

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About the Author

Dave Wilson has been writing technical articles since 1993, including manuals, instructional "how-to" tips and online publications with various websites. Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and has Microsoft, Cisco, and ISC2 (CISSP) technical certifications. He also has experience with a broad range of computer platforms, embedded systems, network appliances and Linux.