What is the ActiveX installer?
Windows users with administrative rights can install ActiveX controls on their Web browsers as needed. However, not all Windows users have accounts with administrative rights. A Windows user with a standard user account cannot install an ActiveX control without asking an administrator to do it.
While this is a security measure that is designed to protect the system from malicious ActiveX controls, there are some cases where you might want to grant users permission to install ActiveX controls. Windows has a built-in feature called the Windows ActiveX Installer Service that is turned off by default. By turning it on, you can set the service to run and then adjust the Group Policy setting to approve specific URLs for ActiveX control downloads.
The ActiveX Installer Service
To turn on the ActiveX Installer Service in Windows Vista, go to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows Features On and Off. Place a checkmark in the box for ActiveX Installer Service and then follow the prompts. You must reboot the computer before moving to the next step.
Once rebooted, click the Start button, right-click on Computer, and then choose Manage from the list. Now, expand the section labeled “Services and Applications” and then click on Services. Look for AxInstSV or ActiveX Installer and right-click it. Click Properties > Startup Type > Automatic > Start > OK.
From there, you will need to go into the Group Policy editor and add trusted URLs to the ActiveX Installer Service. Open the Group Policy Object Editor and navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Windows Components > ActiveX Installer Service > Approved Installation Sites for Active X Controls. Now, add each Web site that you want to allow the user to download ActiveX controls from. You will need to specify certain values related to: TPSSignedControl, SignedControl, UnsignedControl, and ServerCertificatePolicy. You will use values of 0, 1, or 2 to specify these policies.
Installing ActiveX Controls
Whether you’re a Windows user with administrative rights or one with standard rights using the Windows ActiveX Installer Service, you’ll need to know how to install ActiveX controls when appropriate. Because Internet Explorer is typically set with security features that prompt users before installing an ActiveX control, you will first be prompted when a Web site wants to install an ActiveX control. A yellow information bar appears on your browser window just below the toolbar and menu bar area. If you do not see a yellow information bar, you may need to turn off your pop-up blocker temporarily. The information bar will contain information describing the ActiveX control needed and giving you the option to authorize its installation. If you trust the Web site and are comfortable with the installation, go ahead and confirm your choice. If not, click the Don’t Run option. Once you’ve confirmed that you do want to download and install the ActiveX control, you will be prompted with a typical installation prompt. Follow the prompts to continue.
Installing ActiveX controls isn’t difficult as long as you have the necessary permissions to do so. Use caution when installing ActiveX controls and only download them from trusted sites.