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Information for Developers about Internet Explorer

Updated April 8, 2008

In April 2006, Microsoft changed the way Internet Explorer activates ActiveX controls loaded from web pages. Users were required to manually activate controls, by clicking the control or confirming a "click to activate" message, before interacting with controls loaded by websites. As a result of recent technology licenses acquired by Microsoft, these restrictions are no longer mandatory. As of April 2008, Microsoft has now removed the activation behavior from Internet Explorer.

What does this mean? The removal of this behavior from Internet Explorer will require no changes to existing web pages; it will not require any new actions for developers creating new pages. Web pages that previously required activation will no longer require controls to be activated. Controls will function as they did before the activation change was made in April 2006. The update that removes this behavior is called the Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation (IE ACA) update.

How will this be rolled out to customers? As of April 2008, the activation behavior is permanently removed for all customers as part of the April 2008 Internet Explorer Cumulative Update (947864). This IE cumulative update replaces the IE ACA previews released in December 2007 and February 2008.

Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation is now available. The release of the IE ACA is included in the April 2008 Internet Explorer Cumulative Update (947864).  When deployed, the IE ACA replaces the preview package, if present, and removes the control activation from Internet Explorer.  In turn, this enables Internet Explorer to load web pages containing ActiveX controls without manual activation.  After applying the IE ACA as part of the April 2008 Internet Explorer Cumulative Update (947864), the activation behavior will be permanently removed for all customers.

The previous IE ACA Preview releases are available.  For the December 2007 Preview, see: KB 945007 to work with MS07-069.  For the February 2008 Preview, see KB 947518 to work with MS08-010.  To ensure security, these previews should only be applied after installing the associated Internet Explorer Security updates. 

For an introduction to the previous activation user experience, please see Internet Explorer 6: ActiveX Update.

For technical information about activation, please see Activating ActiveX Controls.

Note: The above MSDN articles will be updated to reflect the new behavior.

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