How to Delete Internet Explorer ActiveX Controls

Tutorial on removing ActiveX controls in IE

Internet Explorer supports extended functionality by the use of ActiveX Controls. These small programs, many developed by companies other than Microsoft, help IE do things it can't alone.

Sometimes these ActiveX Controls cause problems that generate error messages or stop IE from working at all.

Determining which ActiveX Control is causing a problem can be almost impossible, so since they're safe to delete (you'll be prompted to install them again if needed in the future), removing them one by one to determine the cause of the problem is a valuable troubleshooting step.

How to Uninstall IE ActiveX Controls

ActiveX Controls can be removed from Internet Explorer via the Manage Add-ons window in Internet Explorer.

  1. Open Internet Explorer.

  2. Choose Tools from the menu. If you don't see the menu, press the Alt key.

  3. Choose Manage add-ons.

    Manage add-ons Tools menu item in IE

    If there's another set of menus that show up there, select Enable or Disable Add-ons.

    Internet Explorer Manage Add-ons menu
  4. Choose Downloaded controls or, depending on your version of IE, Downloaded ActiveX Controls, from the Show drop-down box.

    Here's what this screen looks like in Internet Explorer 11:

    Manage Add-ons screen in Internet Explorer 11

    Older versions, like Internet Explorer 7, look like this:

    Downloaded activex controls menu item in Internet Explorer

    The resulting list will show every ActiveX Control that Internet Explorer has installed. If an ActiveX Control is causing the problem you're troubleshooting, it will be one listed here.

  5. Select the first ActiveX Control listed, then choose Delete at the bottom of the window, followed by OK.

  6. Close and then reopen Internet Explorer.

Test whatever activities in Internet Explorer were causing the problem you're troubleshooting here. If the problem isn't resolved, repeat the above steps, deleting one more ActiveX Control at a time until your problem is resolved.

If you've removed all Internet Explorer ActiveX Controls and your problem continues, you may need to Selectively Disable Internet Explorer Add-ons, unless you've done so already.