Installing an ActiveX on a Windows XP PC.

Ironic, when I think about it.  That I’m still supporting an operating system I first supported in 2001.

Today’s support query,

I have an ActiveX which prompts the user to install it.
Is there any way to make the ActiveX install silent, and not visible to the user?

This site might require the following ActiveX control

Short answer, you need to have Administrative or Power User rights; AND the site needs to be in the Trusted Zone.

Slightly longer answer: if you pre-install the ActiveX to the PC, even a normal user can use it.

Long answer, consider this table.

User account type Is the site in the “Trusted” IE Zone? Does the user get prompted with “This site might require …” Will the ActiveX install?
Administrator No Yes Yes
Administrator Yes No Yes
Power User No Yes Yes
Power User Yes No Yes
User Yes No No
User No No No
Pre-installed ActiveX No No Yes
Pre-installed ActiveX Yes No Yes

In conclusion, a user with “User” Privileges cannot install an ActiveX.  The solution for this user is to pre-install the ActiveX to the PC*.

Vista, and later Microsoft Operating Systems, have an ActiveX Installer Service, which gets around this problem.

* How to register an ActiveX control (.ocx) manually

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