IE Automatic Component Activation (Changes to IE ActiveX Update)

Back in April 2006, we made a change to how Internet Explorer handled embedded controls used on some webpages. Some sites required users to “click to activate” before they could interact with the control. Microsoft has now licensed the technologies from Eolas, removing  the “click to activate” requirement in Internet Explorer. Because of this, we're removing the “click to activate” behavior from Internet Explorer!

It’s important (and cool) to note that this change will require no modifications to existing webpages, and no new actions for developers creating new pages. We are simply reverting to the old behavior. Once Internet Explorer is updated, all pages that currently require “click to activate” will no longer require the control to be activated. They’ll just work.  


Before April 2006

After April 2006 IE Active X update

After April 2008 Removal

Controls Injected Via JavaScript

No “Click to Activate”

No “Click To Activate”

No “Click To Activate”

Controls loaded Direct In HTML (<object>, <embed>, <applet>)

No “Click to Activate”

“Click To Activate” Required

No “Click To Activate”

So you’re probably wondering when we are going to release this update? The first chance will be with an optional preview release, called the Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation Preview, available in December 2007 via the Microsoft Download Center. Additionally this change will be made part of the next pre-release versions of Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3. After giving people enough time to prepare for this change, we’ll roll this behavior into the IE Cumulative Update in April 2008, and all customers who install the update will get the change.

If you have a custom application using WebOC or MSHTML, there may be some changes that affect your application. For example:

  • If your application uses the DOCHOSTUI flag to opt-in to the current “Click To Activate” behavior, that behavior will continue to be respected and your application will require “Click To Activate”
  • If you application uses the registry key FEATURE_ENABLE_ACTIVEX_INACTIVATE_MODE to opt-in to the current “Click To Activate” behavior, this registry key will no long be respected. If you wish to continue to use the “Click to Activate” behavior, please use the DOCHOSTUI flag.

In the coming weeks, we'll be updating the MSDN article with descriptions of the new behavior. Keep an eye out here for when the preview goes live. 


PEte LePage
Senior Product Manager