Overriding "Activating" ActiveX Controls

I'm in the midst of a DHTML test pass right now (this is a separate issue from the one I previously blogged about), and I came across a rather frustrating change.  In response to the patent lawsuit between Microsoft and Eolas, we released an update for IE that requires that ActiveX controls get "activated".  If you've seen the dreaded “Press SPACEBAR or ENTER to activate and use this control” on an ActiveX control, you know what I'm talking about.

Our test suite for the DHTML Editor is completely automated.  I kicked off 9 runs this morning (ENU, DEU, ARA, JPN across XP, and Win2K3) and when the runs finished late this afternoon, there was a 40% failure rate!  My "base" run had less than a 3% failure rate.  WTF?!?!  In any event, I found out my tests were all failing because the DHTML Editor hadn't been activated yet.

After doing a bit of searching, I found other people had come across this issue.  I did a little bit more searching, and came across this KB article (KB917425) and a patch that let me "fix" the machines, and undo the update that had been provided. 

After installing the patch, the issue has gone away and I'm back to passing tests!

Comments (5)
  1. PatriotB says:

    The 917425 patch is only “temporary” — meant for corporations to have a bit more time to fix their intranet apps.

    According to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/912812/ :

    “After it is deployed, the Compatibility Patch will temporarily return Internet Explorer to the way that it used to handle ActiveX controls. This patch will function until the June cumulative Internet Explorer update is released. Then, the changes to the way Internet Explorer handles ActiveX controls will be permanent.”

  2. Since a couple of weeks I have been wondering what this message was all about when I wanted to respond…

  3. Dug Wilson says:

    This is a better article for providing workarounds to this problem that should last after the cumulative IE update:


  4. Tim Larson says:

    You will need to add the following to any page that uses an ActiveX control.

    To fix the problem, please follow these steps:

    1) Just below the last <object> in your HTML page, insert the following Javascript:

    <script type="text/javascript" src="ieupdate.js"></script>

    2) Open a new document in Notepad or your HTML editor, and copy & paste the following content into it:

    theObjects = document.getElementsByTagName("object");

    for (var i = 0; i < theObjects.length; i++) {

    theObjects[i].outerHTML = theObjects[i].outerHTML;


    3) Save this file as ieupdate.js

    4) Upload both files to your webserver, and the problem should be solved.

  5. One of the major features that I own, or at least part own on Visual Web Developer is CSS support.&amp;nbsp;…

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