How To Enable and Reactivate ActiveX Plugin Support in Google Chrome

Google Chrome has disabled support for NPAPI plugins like ActiveX for security and stability reasons. However, there are still some use cases where you may need to re-enable ActiveX plugin support.

Understanding ActiveX and Why Chrome Disabled It

ActiveX is a framework for writing reusable software components that work across programming languages and operating systems. Some websites and web apps rely on ActiveX controls to function properly.

However, ActiveX has some security risks:

  • ActiveX controls have full access to your computer and can be used for malicious purposes.
  • Outdated and vulnerable versions of ActiveX controls can expose your system to attacks.
  • ActiveX cannot be updated automatically and relies on users to manually update controls.

Due to these risks, Google Chrome completely disabled support for all NPAPI plugins including ActiveX in September 2015.

How to Re-Enable ActiveX Plugin Support

Re-enabling ActiveX plugin support allows websites using ActiveX controls to function again at the cost of increased security risks. Use with caution.

Here are the steps to re-activate ActiveX in Chrome:

  1. Enable NPAPI Plugin Support
    • Open Chrome and type chrome://flags/#enable-npapi in the address bar.
    • Change the dropdown for “Enable NPAPI” to “Enabled.”
    • Restart Chrome. NPAPI plugins will now be allowed to load, but may still be blocked.
  2. Allow ActiveX Plugin to Load
    • Go to a page with an ActiveX control.
    • Click the puzzle icon > Allow this site to run plugins.
    • Check “Always allow plug-ins on [website].”
    • Refresh the page. The ActiveX control should now be running.
  3. Allow ActiveX Control to Run Unsafe Operations
    • Click the shield icon > Load unsafe script.
    • Check “Always allow [website] to run scripts (unsafe).”

The ActiveX plugin and controls should now be enabled and functional again on that website. You may need to repeat steps 2-3 for other sites using ActiveX.

Tips for Using ActiveX Safely

If you need ActiveX plugin support, consider these tips:

  • Only enable ActiveX on trusted sites you use regularly.
  • Make sure any ActiveX controls are up-to-date.
  • Use a separate browser profile for sites requiring ActiveX.
  • Run antivirus scans regularly to detect malware.
  • Consider virtualization software if the website requires outdated ActiveX versions.