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ActiveX is a programming language created by Microsoft to make the web surfing experience more engaging, by allowing site visitors to listen to music, watch animation and video clips, and interact with the webpage.
ActiveX is no longer being actively developed and has largely been replaced by other programming technologies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ActiveX still being used?
ActiveX was developed way back in 1996, when the Internet was largely a collection of static pages. Most people connected to the Internet using a dial-up account, so music, videos, and interactive content was still very limited. ActiveX helped make this type of content widespread, but in doing so, it also opened computers up to a number of security risks. Newer sites have moved away from ActiveX in favor of more secure programming languages.
A further blow to ActiveX was its limited availability. It was designed to run on Microsoft products, which was fine when the majority of computers accessed the web using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. As we have moved to an increasingly mobile web experience, many users are no longer able to view ActiveX content on their devices, making the technology even less appealing to new developers.
While you may still run across ActiveX on older webpages, the chances of that are getting smaller every day. In fact, in 2015 Microsoft even removed ActiveX from its newest web browser, Microsoft Edge.
Without ActiveX, can I still view videos and interactive content?
Absolutely. ActiveX has largely been replaced by newer, more secure technologies, so chances are the multimedia content you’re trying to view doesn’t need ActiveX. If ActiveX is required, you should receive a pop-up or error message letting you know. Before you install any ActiveX components or change browsers to view the page, ask yourself whether or not you can find the same content somewhere else, where they’re not still using ActiveX.
Why won’t my computer play this ActiveX object?
Chances are your web browser does not have ActiveX installed. If you’re using a Windows PC, try viewing the page in Internet Explorer. If you are using another web browser, you may be able to install an ActiveX plugin, but this is generally not recommended for security reasons.
Should I avoid pages that use ActiveX?
Some older webpages may still contain ActiveX components. Depending on the device and web browser you’re using to view those pages, you may or may not be able to view the ActiveX content. You can still visit the website; you just won’t be able to take full advantage of its features. If you’re system does support ActiveX, it is recommended that you only allow ActiveX controls from websites you trust, and be aware that even then they may pose a security risk. Make sure you have the latest updates for your operating system and web browser, and always have antivirus protection running and up-to-date on your computer.