How to Use ActiveX Filtering in Internet Explorer 11

Filtering limits which sites may execute ActiveX scripts on your machine

Even though Microsoft Edge is the default browser for Windows 10, Internet Explorer 11 is still available within the OS. If you're having issues with some websites that contain ActiveX, you can use IE 11 to troubleshoot ActiveX problems. Below is how to use ActiveX Filtering in Internet Explorer.

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

IE11 Safety Menu

ActiveX technology aims to simplify playback of multimedia, including animations and other file types. However, because of security concerns, ActiveX Filtering is available in Internet Explorer to prevent the installation and usage of these ActiveX apps. Use ActiveX Filtering to run on only the sites that you trust.

Woman browsing internet on laptop
RawPixel / pxhere

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. Select Security.

    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 (or if available, select Prompt if you want to be notified each time.) to choose one the following:

    • Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls.
    • Display video and animation on a web page that does not use external media player.
    • Download signed ActiveX controls.
    • Run ActiveX controls and plug-ins.
    • Script ActiveX controls marked safe for scripting.
    Custom Security settings in IE with an Enable option highlighted
  6. Select OK to apply the changes and then select OK again to close Internet Options.

    Custom Security settings in IE with the OK button highlighted