How to Use ActiveX Filtering in Internet Explorer 11

Filtering limits which sites may execute ActiveX scripts on your machine

Microsoft Edge is the default browser for Windows 10, but if you run apps that need ActiveX, you should use Internet Explorer 11 instead. Internet Explorer 11 formerly shipped with Windows systems, but if you don't have it, you can download it from Microsoft.

These instructions apply to Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

IE11 Safety Menu

The goal of ActiveX technology is to simplify playback of rich media, including videos, animations, and other file types. You'll find ActiveX controls embedded into some of your favorite websites.

The downside of ActiveX is that it is not the safest technology around. These inherent security risks are the main reason for the IE11 ActiveX Filtering feature, which limits ActiveX controls to run on only the sites that you trust.

How to Use ActiveX Filtering

To use ActiveX Filtering, open Internet Explorer 11 and apply the following settings.

  1. Select Tools (the gear icon, located in the upper-right corner of the browser window).

    Internet Explorer with the Settings gear highlighted
  2. Select Safety in the drop-down menu.

    Internet Explorer with the Safety option highlighted
  3. When the sub-menu appears, locate the option labeled ActiveX Filtering. If there is a checkmark next to the name, then ActiveX Filtering is enabled. If not, select ActiveX Filtering to enable it.

    Internet Explorer options with the ActiveX Filtering setting highlighted

Turn off ActiveX Filtering for Individual Sites

You can enable ActiveX filtering in Internet Explorer but disable it for specific websites.

  1. Open the site.

  2. Select the Blocked button on the address bar.

    If no Blocked button appears in the address bar, no ActiveX content is available on that page.

    Internet Explorer with the Blocked icon highlighted
  3. Select Turn off ActiveX Filtering.

    Internet Explorer with the Turn Off ActiveX Filtering button highlighted

Turn off ActiveX Filtering for All Sites

You can disable ActiveX filtering in Internet Explorer at any time.

  1. Open Internet Explorer and select Tools, the gear icon located in the upper-right corner of the window.

    Internet Explorer with the Settings gear highlighted
  2. Select Safety in the drop-down menu.

    Internet Explorer with the Safety option highlighted
  3. Select ActiveX Filtering to remove the checkmark, and disable ActiveX Filtering.

    Internet Explorer options with the ActiveX Filtering setting highlighted

Adjust ActiveX Settings in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer provides advanced settings that let you customize ActiveX controls.

Changing some advanced security could make your computer vulnerable to security threats. Only change advanced ActiveX settings if you are confident about increasing these risks.

  1. Select Tools, the gear icon located in the upper-right corner of the browser window.

    Internet Explorer with the Settings gear highlighted
  2. Select Internet Options.

    Internet Explorer's settings menu with Internet Options highlighted
  3. Go to the Security tab.

    Internet Options in IE with the Security tab highlighted
  4. Select Custom Level.

    Internet Options in IE with the Custom Level button highlighted
  5. Under ActiveX controls and plug-ins, select Enable to choose one the following:

    • Allow Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls.
    • Allow Internet Explorer to Display video and animation on a web page that doesn't use an external media player.
    • Allow Internet Explorer to Download signed ActiveX controls (select Prompt if you want to be notified each time).
    • Allow Internet Explorer to Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins (select Prompt if you want to be notified each time).
    • Allow Internet Explorer to Script ActiveX controls marked safe for scripting (select Prompt if you want to be notified each time).
    Custom Security settings in IE with an Enable option highlighted
  6. Select OK to apply the changes and then select OK again to close the Internet Options dialog box.

    Custom Security settings in IE with the OK button highlighted