What Is “ActiveX” And What Does It Do?
ActiveX is the name given to a set of technologies developed by Microsoft for use in their Windows operating system, which enable interactive content to be used on the internet, and then accessed by you in your browser window.
ActiveX are, in fact, somewhat similar to Java applets (which do a similar job) except that ActiveX only function in Windows, and have full access to the registry program, (thus making them considerably more dangerous than Applets, too)
Before the advent of ActiveX a few years ago, the content of pages published on the net was essentially static, showing only 2-dimensional graphics and text.
However, the arrival of ActiveX then enabled web sites to come alive for the very first time!
No longer 2-dimensional, ActiveX allowed this new breed of site to use multimedia effects, interactive objects, and other sophisticated applications to create a user experience that was supposedly directly comparable to that enjoyed with high-quality movie type content on CD-ROM’s, for example.
ActiveX is the ‘glue’ that binds together a wide and varied assortment of technology ‘building blocks’ to enable these active web pages to function correctly.
Why Does ActiveX Go Wrong?
There are as many reasons that ActiveX can go wrong as there are programs that use it!
Because so many web developers have already created a multitude of different ActiveX variants, it is relatively fast and easy for developers and Web producers to create unique, interactive websites that make the internet fundamentally more useful and productive.
Web producers don’t have to start from scratch and build all the parts of their interactive website by hand, because there are already more than 1,000 reusable controls available in the market.
However, it is this sheer number that means that almost every program that appears in your internet browser will be using an ActiveX control that has been adapted or modified to fit the program that it is ‘driving’.
Sometimes, the ActiveX element of one such program will conflict with a control from another different program, hence, one or both of thee programs in question will, in all probability, malfunction.
Often the ActiveX will be downloaded onto your PC to enable the program that it associated with to run and function correctly.
It is entirely possible and feasible that such downloads will not always complete successfully, and the ActiveX may thus become damaged or corrupted.
Furthermore, in theory, an ActiveX that is associated with any particular program should only need to be downloaded once, but sometimes an updated ActiveX may become available.
Thus, your PC will try to overwrite the older ActiveX with the new one, with the potential once again to damage or reduce the functionality of the ActiveX itself.
Because the whole purpose of ActiveX is to combine the most creative and innovative software development efforts in one website, there tends to be many, many areas of potential difficulties.
How To Repair ActiveX Errors
When the ActiveX element of any particular program malfunctions, the first step that should be taken to remedy the situation is to re-install the program to which that ActiveX is attached.
This will often be effective, for example, with programs that have been downloaded from the internet, because the problems in this scenario are often caused by a download that is not fully completed.
But, be careful that all tools on your PC like pop-up blockers, spyware filters and so on are turned off before attempting a new download. These protective programs will often see ActiveX as spyware or as pop-up advertising and block them from being correctly downloaded.
ActiveX is a third generation technology, and therefore, whilst some programs will utilize Active X elements that are relatively straightforward, others are far more complex.
Check whether the program that you are trying to run is designed to work with the internet browser that you are using, and that your Windows operating system is compatible with it.
Do you actually need the program that uses the troublesome ActiveX elements? If not, then either uninstall the program or do not install it in the first place!
Ultimately, as previously highlighted, the list of potential Active X problems and errors that may occur is almost endless, and thus, if you really need a program to run that is suffering ActiveX problems, the chances of you actually finding the problems manually are almost zero!
The sensible method of trying to repair ActiveX is to, firstly, run a free registry scan using a program such as SpeedyPC. This will highlight whether you actually do have an ActiveX problem, and you can then use the program to fix it.
Far better to use the correct remedial software to do the job both quickly and thoroughly than waste hours of your time, only to find that you cannot repair the defect anyway!