About ActiveX Errors

Filed under: PC Errors 

ActiveX controls are commonly used by websites to offer certain functionality on their websites. As soon as a web designer wants to go beyond what is possible with plain HTML, XHTML or XML, he needs to use a programmable extension, or plug-in. There are many options for this, Java, Active Server Pages (ASP), and so on. ActiveX is one of them.

Although ActiveX can offer very nice and useful functionality to the end user, it can also be a cause for problems. To start with, there is the problem with security. Since ActiveX controls are created, or programmed by third parties (not by Microsoft), they are a security risk. Because ActiveX controls have rather a high level of access and control on the computers they are installed on, they need to be dealt with carefully.

Apart from the security issues, ActiveX controls are frequent causes of problems. ActiveX errors can be the result of bad programming, an incompatible operating environment or conflicts with other installed software. Since ActiveX controls are programmable components, different versions of an ActiveX control can have different interfaces. So an incorrect version can actually result in ActiveX errors. Different web sites or different programs can use the same ActiveX, so there is a chance that the configuration or version of the ActiveX component is changed without the other web site/program being at fault.

Even a lot of functionality that Microsoft offers standard with Windows is relying on ActiveX technology. The remote desktop functionality is one of them. Other commonly used controls are the Macromedia Flash player and Adobe Acrobat, both use an ActiveX control.

Like all other programs, ActiveX components make use of the Windows registry for settings and configuration. All ActiveX controls are registered in the Windows registry already, and in addition they can store further configuration in the registry. Maybe you have resolved an ActiveX error by using a command prompt and the regsrv32.exe command to register a missing or non-functioning ActiveX control.

ActiveX compatibility

Quite a few incompatibility problems with ActiveX controls have been reported that have to do with additional toolbars in the internet browser. Companies like Google and Yahoo offer toolbar plug-ins that make a lot of their site’s functionality easily accessible. If you are suspecting a conflict to be the cause of your ActiveX errors, you can simply disable all add-ons in Internet Explorer and then reinstall the problem control. If it works, enable the add-ons again one-by-one, so you will find out which one is causing the error or conflict.

ActiveX Access Problems

Another cause of ActiveX errors is related to system access, typically registry and folder access. Microsoft has a tool to change access rights. Most manufacturers of ActiveX components will have an article in their knowledge base that explains this kind of problem. Adobe for example has a technote under number fb1634cb that explains how to fix macromedia flash player installation errors related to access rights.

ActiveX Security

A ‘good’ ActiveX control will be a ‘signed’ control. This means the owner had the control validated and signed off, so you know it is not a security thread. If this is not the case, most browsers will warn you that the ActiveX control is not signed and cannot be trusted. Be careful with such controls and only install them if you know that the creator is a respectable company.

If you experience ActiveX error messages like: “your current security settings prohibit running ActiveX controls on this page”, you need to check for viruses. In the best case scenario it is an access problem that can be fixed by changing the trust level for the site, but in the bad case scenario you have an infected PC. This type of virus infection requires a restore of a previous restore point, or a restore from a backup. One of the causes for this problem was to download files with a .pif extension, which would lead to the virus infection.

Also be aware that some websites present ‘activex errors’ which suggest you download a ‘fix’ or file to resolve the error. There are quite a few viruses and Trojan horses that are installed in this manned. Make sure your anti virus software is updated, your firewall is on and regularly scan for malware.

Common ActiveX Errors and Solutions

ActiveX Error 0x80080296 – This is an active x error that is related to Microsoft validation process. The problem relates to an IP conflict and can be resolved by changing the DNS servers to (preferred) and (secondary).

ActiveX component can’t create object – This is an active error related to MS Access. The solution is to:

  • Make sure Data Access Object is properly registered (type regsvr32 “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\DAO\DAO350.DLL” in a command window).
  • Check for missing references in MS Access.
  • Unselect a utility reference in you MS Access database. This can be invalid.
  • The user account that you use needs to have access to the Windows System and System32 directories.
  • If all above fails, uninstall and reinstall MS Access.

Run-time error 429: ActiveX component can’t create object – This is also a Data Access Object related error. In this case the registry settings for the component are corrupted. A registry repair tool can help. Microsoft has a tool that fixes a specific scenario with Office 2000.

Run-time error 438: Object doesn’t support this property or method – This error is related to Visual Basic For application macros that try to set an ActiveX control’s properties through the ControlFormat object. The resolution is simply to not use the ControlFormat object when changing the properties of an ActiveX component, instead use the direct assignment of the ActiveX properties.

This page provides potentially unsafe information to an Active X control in Outlook help – This error indicates an incompatibility of the file called comcat.dll. The solution is to search and remove all occurrences of the comcat.dll file on your PC and then reinstall the Internet Explorer.

Error number: 0x8DDD0004 when scanning for updates – This indicates a problem with a WUWebControl Class active x object. The resolution is to access the Tools menu in the Internet Explorer, select Internet Options, select the Programs tab and then Manage Add-ons. Now select the WUWebControl Class in the list and click Enable.

Initialization error 0x800A1391 when accessing the Microsoft update website – This means the active x control can not be loaded. The solution is to ensure the active x control can be loaded by lowering the security level in your PC firewall. Define an exception for the Microsoft update website or (temporary) lower the security settings. Also make sure the update website is in your list of trusted sites (Internet Explorer).

Error 339: xxxx.OCX is not correctly registered – Most of the time this means that the Active X control is not correctly registered or that dependency files are not present. The solution is to reinstall the Active X control or to install an updated version of the Active X control.

Error 1904 module c:\windows\system32\xxxx.dll failed to register – This simply means the concerned DLL (Active X component) failed to register. The solution is to type “regsvr32 C:\Windows\System32\xxxx.dll” in the Windows Run dialog box or a Windows command prompt. If it still fails you can try to reboot Windows in Safe Mode and try it again. Replace the “xxxx” for the failing file.


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