GWKB1044 : Previously Accessible ActiveX Controls No Longer Speak

Product: Window-Eyes
Author: Aaron Smith
Date Added: 03/07/2006
Last Modified: 12/12/2007

Symptom: Web pages containing accessible ActiveX controls (like Flash) no longer read automatically, and instead display a control called "inactive button" which, when pressed, simply turns off browse mode.

Cause: A security update from Microsoft (specifically QFE912945) changes the way Internet Explorer handles web pages that use ActiveX. This new behavior requires ActiveX controls (loaded through default methods such as APPLET, EMBED, or OBJECT) to be activated by the user before they can be used.

Solution: To enable an ActiveX control, simply tab to the button labeled, "inactive button" and press ENTER. Browse mode will turn off. Press CTRL-SHIFT-A to turn Browse mode back on. The ActiveX control will then be available to interact with.This will need to be done each time the page is accessed. In other words, the active state of an ActiveX control is never stored.

Web page authors can force ActiveX controls to be activated automatically, without user interaction, by following the steps detailed in the MSDN article Activating ActiveX Controls.

Once ActiveX controls have been authored following Microsoft's outlined steps, user interaction will not be required to activate an ActiveX control before interacting with it, and ActiveX control integration will be seamless.

Update: Microsoft has released a patch for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 that will remove this security feature. You can read more here: