Internet Explorer 9 ActiveX Filtering: Fix Flash, Java And Other Plugins

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 16, 2011
Updated • Dec 9, 2012
Internet Explorer

I have seen several reports on the Internet that users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 have troubles playing Flash videos, Java apples, games and other contents powered by plugins such as Java or Adobe Flash. The reports have emerged after the release of the IE9 Release Candidate and it seems that they are linked to the newly introduced ActiveX Filtering option.

ActiveX Filtering is disabled by default but can be enabled by clicking on Tools > Safety > ActiveX Filtering. One of the easiest ways to find out that it is indeed the ActiveX Filtering that is repsonsible for broken contents is to enable ActiveX Filtering and visit Youtube. Youtube will notify the user that it is necessary to upgrade to Adobe Flash Player to watch the video. Users who disable ActiveX Filtering can watch the video without following that advice.

Many websites have suggested to disable ActiveX Filtering completely to be able to play games and watch videos again. That however is not the best solution available. While it is working it eliminates the added protection of the security module in Internet Explorer.

How to fix Java and Flash contents in Internet Explorer 9 with ActiveX Filtering enabled

Open Tools > Internet Options and switch to the Security tab there.

Internet Explorer supports four different zones each with their own distinctive security settings. All websites that are not locally accessible are using the security settings of the Internet zone, unless they have been added to Trusted Sites or Restricted Sites.

Trusted sites use less strict security rules by default while restricted sites highly restricted rules.

The idea now is to add the sites that you want to play Flash or Java contents on to the trusted sites. That alone however is not enough as it is necessary to make one small configuration change. Take a look how this is done for Youtube:

Select Trusted Sites from the available zones and click on the Sites button afterwards. This opens a new window with options to add or remove sites from the Trusted sites zone.

All you need to do is to enter in the "Add this website to the zone" form, uncheck "Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone" and click on the Add button.

trusted sites

You do that for all sites that you access that make use of Flash, Java or other third party technologies that are added as plugins to Internet Explorer 9.

Once you are done click the close button.

Locate the custom level button and click it.

custom security level

Scroll down until you find the entry Allow ActiveX Filtering under ActiveX controls and plug-ins. Note that it is enabled by default. All you need to do is to change the parameter to disable and click the ok button to save the new setting.

All Java, Flash and other third party plugin contents are from that moment on playing as usual on all sites that have been added to the Trusted Sites Zone.

disable activex filtering

And that's it. It may happen that you stumble upon a new site that is not working properly. Just add it to the trusted sites listing to make it work as well. But be cautious with the sites that you add there as they are having more rights than standard Internet websites that use the standard Internet zone.

One option to change that is to change the custom level of the Trusted sites zone to the default medium-high which can be done in the settings of the zone. Make sure to disable ActiveX Filtering afterwards. That way you use the same security except for the ActiveX Filtering.


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  1. Rob S said on October 6, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Thank you OH SO MUCH! Your instructions solved my problems palying games On POGO while using IE9. Thanks google for bringing me to you!!

  2. Serge said on April 16, 2013 at 6:16 am

    It’s funny :)
    But how to detect activeX filtering with JS?

  3. Angela said on September 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Is there any way to write in the code of the website a way to force the client to enable active x so that people using IE9 can see my swf file? It worked until about a week ago – when we updated java I think, but who knows… I started getting multiple reports that my little swf slideshow was not visible on IE9, but it is there for all other platforms… wacky, and irritating all at once!

  4. Melissa said on April 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    thanks a lot. It really helped.

  5. rlauder said on March 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Tried it all, but Istill get the red X. The site using jave works perfectly in Chrome, but not in Explorer 9.
    I also tried to manually add the proxy server info in LAN settings, as suggested by Sun,but that did not work either? Must have some registry error?

  6. ali110 said on February 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I want to address filter

  7. Tina said on January 23, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Thank you so much. Yahoo games kept crashing my windows explorer 9.

  8. Donna said on January 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Flashplayer was working fine on my 64 bit Windows IE9 laptop until a few days ago, when I was prompted to update to the newest version of Flashplayer 11.xx , (from 10.xx). According to the download, it went through, and when I check to see which version of Flash I have, it lists the correct version, but not a single video, from multiple different sources works. I tried all of the suggestions listed in this article, to no avail. In fact, I’m having difficulty getting a few webpages to even load up if they have a video embedded in them. BTW, I since downloaded Chrome, and videos work fine in Chrome. I can’t say for sure if this occurred before or after the MS Updates recently, since I haven’t been on the computer every day to pinpoint exactly when it started to be a problem, but it has been within the past week or less. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Jon said on December 14, 2011 at 12:56 am

    i tried it it didnt work… i wanted to play an online game… but it needs flash player… and i downloaded flash player after all this and it didnt work

  10. santiago g ronquillo said on December 11, 2011 at 2:28 am

    your article was very helpful to find the problem and fixed ie9.
    thank you

  11. Anonymous said on November 30, 2011 at 7:08 am

    any way to make it where i don’t have to type every web site in like . thats gonna get annoying to watch a video on some website i’ll only visit once

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 30, 2011 at 9:32 am

      No you have to do it manually.

  12. Anonymous said on November 30, 2011 at 6:40 am

    aww only youtube is working and no other sites videos.

  13. Marcus said on November 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Thanx – you were so helpful!

  14. Gebocide said on October 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    how to make p2p channel work in IE9

    Here is the channel link

  15. Amattei said on October 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Thanks for the good advise it solved my problem.

  16. Naz said on October 10, 2011 at 5:42 am


    Does anyone know how to change the Active X parameter using script e.g .bat, .vbs

  17. Anonymous said on September 28, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    didnt work at all for me, youtube still will not work at all

  18. Binh said on September 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Thank you Martin. Works very well for me.

  19. Kin said on July 20, 2011 at 8:27 am


    This website helped me.

    Thank you sooooooooooooooooooo much for clear instructions provided here.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 20, 2011 at 8:43 am

      Kin I’m happy that we were able to help you.

  20. Vladek said on June 10, 2011 at 1:33 am

    One of my HP switches (local IP) give me this: “This product requires the Java language, which is either disabled or not available on this browser.
    To use this product you must either upgrade your browser to one that is Java compliant, or enable the Java language on your current browser.” in IE9, W7Pro, OK in Mainfield, none of suggested solution works

  21. Tyrone said on June 7, 2011 at 10:51 am


    Did any one solve the red x in place of a java applet issue that i encounter when running java applets in IE9.Any suggestion welcome.Have tried unchecking activex filtering and Compatibility View settings no luck please help.


  22. Mitchell said on June 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I’m still having problems with various Web sites. I should probably do a better job of documenting what they are and how I try to solve them since my memory is not very good.

    Interestingly used to lock up my browser for a LONG time, now it just locks it for a short time and I can move to another Tab while I’m waiting. What is new in IE9 that changed that? HTML5?

    I still have trouble with logging in to sites. and are two of them. I can log into them in Firefox but not IE9. OK, that isn’t as true anymore. I can usually log in to them now. I added them to my Trusted sites and turned off Tracking Protection. Now I can usually log in and stay logged in though occasionally when I use a feature on a site (the Newegg Wish List for example) it logs me out.

    Then there is I can’t use most of its features. Don’t know if they are Java or Flash based. So I just go over to Firefox.

    Then there was the “Stupid Move of the Day.” I’m generally happy with IE9 so I decided to upgrade one of my other systems to use it. Of course I forgot that that was the easiest system for me to use to troubleshoot problems with IE9 since it still had IE8. And I wanted to show someone something and needed IE8 to do it. Of course I can uninstall IE9, but you got to keep moving forward. I’ll just remember not to upgrade the rest of my network.

    Finally, I did solve the Flash button issue. I right clicked on the button and found out that they were preprogrammed by some company. I went to their Web site and read that they had an update that would correct the problem. Then I contacted the Webmaster for Greenville schools and he updated some of the pages. Most of the ones I’ve visited have been updated but I just spotted some yesterday that hadn’t. I can empathize Sisyphean task of updating all the thousands of pages that use that code.

  23. Zuloc said on June 6, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Use IE9 32bit and not the IE9 64bit, worked fine for me after I switched, both should be installed on your system when you installed IE9.

  24. Mitchell said on April 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    This didn’t work for the following web site:

    The buttons on the page show up as BUTTON1, etc. They display correctly on another computer using IE8 and on this one in FireFox 4.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    PS – I’ve been using the button to allow Active X on Web sites I visit often. That seems to work just fine. Is there a security risk with that? Did that option appear in the final release?

    PPS – You may want to read through the post. You say Active X Filtering is disabled by default but it can be disabled…. Did you mean enabled?

    1. Zuloc said on June 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      Person with the BUTTON1 problem try clearing your Java Cache
      Go to Control Panel > Java
      On the General tab in the “Temporary Internet Files” Section
      Go to “Settings”
      Click on “Delete Files…”
      Click on “OK”

      Or update to the new Java

      1. Mitchell said on June 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

        Neither of those would work in this situation because the problem was with the Web site not my browser.

        I’ve been having other problems with a variety of Web sites. My guess is that the Web site programming is not compatible with IE9. I’ve used compatibility mode to fix some of those problems and just use Firefox or a system with IE8 to get around others. Annoying but hey, that’s progress.

        Now I get to have fun with IPv6 issues.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on April 11, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      Thanks for finding the error. ActiveX Filtering is disabled by default, but it can be activated, that’s the right meaning.

  25. NM Hemming said on March 1, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Thank you for your help! I read dozens of websites that seemed to know how to fix the problem, but none worked. Problem is fixed and my IE9 is good to go…

    Thanks again

    1. Martin said on March 1, 2011 at 10:38 am

      You are welcome ;)

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