Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Thanks to the Add-On Manager, you now can now have more visibility and control over what software makes itself part of Internet Explorer.

What is Internet Explorer's new Add-On Manager?

Browser Add-Ons are one of the many ways that viruses, spyware, and other malware can attach to your computer and cause you grief. Browser Add-Ons are also one of the many ways that legitimate publishers can add functionality to Internet Explorer or to specific web sites and pages.

With Windows XP Service Pack 2, Internet Explorer was updated to include a new Add-On Manager to allow you more visibility into and control over the software that makes itself part of Internet Explorer.

Let's have a look at what it shows.

On Internet Explorer's Tools Menu, select Manage Add-Ons....

The Add-On manager defaults to showing all the Add-On's currently loaded in internet explorer. Each includes:

  • Name - the add-on's name. Since displaying this information is relatively new, not all add-on's have meaningful names. Some, like "AcroIEHelperObjClass" will allow you to infer what they are - Adobe's Acrobat, in this case. Others may display only a GUID, or Globally Unique IDentifier as their name.

  • Publisher - if available, the publisher of the add-on. Some may include the string "(Not Verified)" which indicates that the add-on itself has not been digitally signed.

  • Status - indicating whether or not the add-on is enabled. The default display, all currently loaded add-ons, will display only enabled.

  • Type - add-ons can make use of several different interfaces into Internet Explorer including Browser Extension, Browser Helper Object and ActiveX Control.

  • Filename - it's not always available, but the filename in which the add-on resides can among other things help identify that add-on's purpose.

The purpose of many add-ons will be obvious based simply on their name, the publisher, or their file name. However if you have an add-on that you don't recognize, or that you suspect is causing you problems, you can disable the add-on by selecting it and clicking on the Disable radio button. Depending on IE's behaviour after that, you can decide if that add-on was necessary or not.

By changing the Show drop down to "Add-ons that have been used by Internet Explorer" you can see all the extensions, helper objects, and ActiveX controls that IE knows about. You can also use this as an opportunity to update ActiveX controls.

The Learn more about add-ons... link near the bottom of the Add-On Manager dialog opens up the help file which contains more helpful information about add-ons, and the add-on manager.

I've teamed up with Lockergnome to provide video tips on various topics. View Internet Explorer's Add-On Manager and watch as I walk through the various settings I've described in this article.

Article C2169 - August 27, 2004 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

45 Comments
Mark Sherwin
October 30, 2004 12:19 PM

Since installing XP SP2, I can no longer view pdf files in internet explorer. I've gone into the add on manager, and it says the acrobat control for activex is disabled. It does not allow me to enable it since "it is managed by my administrator." This is a home computer and I am only able to log on under one name. How do I fix this?

tom
November 20, 2004 6:27 PM

Recently, I disabled 6 questionable add-ons to cure an ugly popup problem. It worked. This was a hit and miss, try anything approach. Unlike TaskBar processes, I can not google the names of add-ons (or their filenames) because I get page after page of meaningless HiJack logs. Even a not symbol (-) doesn't work. Yes, I tried lavasoft, spybot, etc., but they did not resolve the issue. What I'd like to find is a list of published add-ons and their known purpose. Even if bad guys re-use a name, this is a start !! Thanks for your consideration. Great web site !!

Nicole
March 22, 2005 5:52 AM

"Since installing XP SP2, I can no longer view pdf files in internet explorer. I've gone into the add on manager, and it says the acrobat control for activex is disabled. It does not allow me to enable it since "it is managed by my administrator." This is a home computer and I am only able to log on under one name. How do I fix this?"

I have the same comment regarding Adobe Acrobat, I cannot change the disabled setting... However, in this case, I am the administrator and I don't believe there are any other user names on this computer.

Leo
March 22, 2005 10:28 AM

I'd be tempted to reinstall acrobat as a first step.

Kerry McGInn
July 6, 2005 12:32 PM

Hello,
Trying to find out how new add-ons are installed and where they need to be stored on disk? I'm trying to have explorer recognize this add-on on a friends laptop:

Name File
Web Browser Applet Control msjava.dll

I located this file under c:\windows\system32 on my machine. He saved the msjava file in the same place on his laptop and rebooted. Explorer does not see this add-on. We are both running XP SP2. How are add-ons installed, and seen by explorer? Thanks.

Leo
July 6, 2005 8:56 PM

It usually also takes additional registry entries ... just having the file isn't enough. Normally a setup program is involved.

Anton
November 15, 2005 2:05 AM

Leo, can you tell me which setup program?

Leo A. Notenboom
November 15, 2005 1:03 PM

Unfortunately, no. That depends entirely on the add-on, or the program(s) it came with.

paul
July 25, 2006 10:43 PM

mine is IE7.. i have i problem on "internet explorer is currently running with add-ons disabled" i my tools menu, i cant select the Manage Add-Ons. so what can i do to slove the problem? thanks for your help!:)

Peter
August 2, 2006 2:22 AM

I have the same problem as Paul. Suddenly I found myself in "add-ons disabled mode" and the Manage Add-Ons in the tools menu is greyed out and inactive. How can get back to normal? Is this a beta glitch and I would have to re-install ie7?

Jerry
September 4, 2006 6:22 PM

I have same problem as Peter (8/2)- IE is currently running with add-ons disabled. Manage Add-Ons is greyed out. ???

Mark Maestas
October 25, 2006 9:27 AM

Hello,
I am having the same problem as several people above. Internet Explorer 7.0 starts up with a little bar at the top that says "Internet Explorer is currently running with add-ons disabled" When I go to Tools and Options, and attempt to enable the add-ons, nothing seems to change and I still have the message. I followed all the procedures for enableing add-ons.
Thanks,
Mark

Kirby Howarth
November 1, 2006 2:20 AM

Hi
I was having the same problem with add-ons greyed out, but I found the solution now, after I did a file search for 'iexplore.exe', when I found it I opened it from the enclosing folder and it worked so I added it back to the start menu and also to the desktop.

Hope this helps

Kirby

Jacob
November 18, 2006 10:00 AM

Go to accessories - system tools - and then right click on Internet Explorer (no add ons) and select "Properties." Under the "Target" section just delete the last part of the file name that says "-extoff" and apply the settings. When you restart internet explorer you should be able to manage add ons.

Emma
December 28, 2006 6:52 PM

Thank you Jacob.
my add ons are enabled again.

Ralph Grant Jr
January 13, 2007 9:31 PM

my IE just running strange. The add on's in the tools section is grayed out and my IE just started running with add-ons disabled and I dont know why. I did just download adobe's latest flash player...how can I get the add ons to be enabled again?....I couldnt find the answer in the comments or on the page

Dean
February 8, 2007 4:36 PM

Kirby Howarth yours worked fantastic, thanks.

Ray
February 16, 2007 5:16 PM

Thanks Jacob - your solution worked like a charm!

Luis Arias
February 23, 2007 12:06 PM

Why I get a message "Internet Explorer is currently running with add-ons disabled" Should I enable them and how I do this?

Leo Notenboom
February 23, 2007 5:12 PM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

If you're running IE7, then I'm guessing: Tools->Internet
Options->Advanced Tab-> scroll down to "Enable third-party browser
extensions" and make sure that's checked.

Leo
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)

iD8DBQFF35D6CMEe9B/8oqERAiJNAJsF5hcW77L2uMBT++IrevVhmWgiYgCfQN56
Dq7fx9tsJRIOUclcGl9hQOs=
=1XHD
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Ahmad
March 25, 2007 3:01 PM

I am having the same problem with IE7 (no add-ons)
I have tried to deleate the -extoff file but there is none in the folder.
Advise me further please

Shonell
April 18, 2007 4:07 AM

Ok...listen up!(1) I did what Jacob suggested and deleted the "extoff", but I kept getting the same results. So, (2) I went back into the system tools and right clicked properties and then clicked the "general" tab. (3) I then erased "no add-ons" next to the Internet Explorer name and typed in Internet Explorer "(add ons)". (4) Then I went onto my desktop and deleted the internet IE shortcut, because that is what was giving me the same results each time. (5) I then went to the start menu and took the IE shortcut from there and dragged it to the desk top, this should refresh your results. Another thing is Fire Fox could be one of the problems while using IE. One more thing once you have done steps 1 through 5, go into tools on your main tool bar and click toolbars and select the bars you want back on your computer and whatever else you are missing. Hope this helped!

Shonell
April 18, 2007 4:18 AM

I reread your quest for help and decided you are looking for a file named "extoff" but the directions did not say look for a file, it simply said to erase the "extoff" letters at the end of the file name. Simply right click on the IE icon in the start menu then click properties, when that is accomplished click on the tab named "shortcut". About 2 inches down from there you should see a highlighted area which will be the "target" area. In that area will be the name of the IE file location name. At the end of the file location name is the letters "extoff" just erase those letters at the end of that file name and then follow my other instructions above 1-5. Hope this was clear enough for you.

Baz
June 3, 2007 6:28 AM

Re: Managing Add-ons in greyscale, the key is to follow previous instructions by removing "extoff" from the end of the file name in properties but then DELETING the IE shortcut from desktop and replacing it by dragging the IE icon from the start up menue, otherwise the desk top short cut will only take you back to the original format and you'll chase your tail.

tracey
June 8, 2007 10:26 PM

Ok...listen up!(1) I did what Jacob suggested and deleted the "extoff", but I kept getting the same results. So, (2) I went back into the system tools and right clicked properties and then clicked the "general" tab. (3) I then erased "no add-ons" next to the Internet Explorer name and typed in Internet Explorer "(add ons)". THANK YOU ALL FOR THE HELP I SPENT HOURS THE OTHER NIGHT TRYING TO FIGURE THIS OUT AND IT TOOK ME ABOUT 30 SECONDS ..SO THANKS FOR THESE SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS!!!

george
July 28, 2007 8:03 AM

"you can disable the add-on by selecting it and clicking on the Disable radio button."

I disabled both Adobe add-ons, but can still print pdf files.
Also tried "start, all programs, accessories, system tools, Internet Explorer (No Add-ons)" method. Can still print pdf files.
What else is needed to disable Adobe Reader?

Only method I know of - is to remove Adobe Reader from computer.
It seems that Adobe Reader changes IE (eg. IE menu items); even if add-ons are disabled, if IE finds Adobe Reader app in computer, it will utilize it.

helen
August 29, 2007 4:23 AM

i have tried to mangae add ons on my computer, there is a problem i cannot enable or disable it neither. When i click tools, it is suppose to highlighted but it is not. What is the problem?
I have also tried to downloading Adobe flash player but it won't allow me to download it. Please can you give me some advic on what to do

Clyde Pittman
September 21, 2007 6:41 PM

This is enlightening material. However, when I went to the Tools/Manage Add-Ons function on the IE bar, the Manage Add-Ons function was grayed-out. How can I restore it?

Thx,

CP

P Carmody
October 1, 2007 12:10 PM

Is there any way to determine which add-on is running within Internet Explorer. I am running IE 7.0 and it loads painfully slow on startup. If started without add-on's, IE loads quickly.

Any suggestions?

Jon Simpson
November 17, 2007 11:43 AM

It's great I can see the list, But what about the Questionable or unknown add-ons like WJBDQWRB.DLL
(I GOT RID OF THIS ONE)
where's the info or look-up that should be incorporated with the list, after all isn't that what IE is for?

Philippe
January 1, 2008 7:35 AM

deleting the short cut and dragging it back worked like a charm, thanks.
could not get that out of microsoft site.

Bryson
February 4, 2008 9:08 AM

The easiest way to get your add ons back if you are having problems is Make Internet Explorer your DEFAULT browser. POW! Everything is back to normal. Make sure you try that first before any painstaking changes. This also fixes the greyed out problem when you try to go to the enable add ons section.

Derick
February 18, 2008 6:21 PM

If an Add-on is not digitally signed, how can you tell if it is safe? In particular:
- Free Threaded XML DOM Document 4.0-(Not Verified: Microsoft Corp.)
- XML DOM Document 4.0-(Not Verified: Microsoft Corp.)
- XML HTTP 4.0-(Not Verified: Microsoft Corp.)
- XML Data Source Object 4.0-(Not Verified: Microsoft Corp.)
-XML Schema Cache 4.0-(Not Verified: Microsoft Corp.)
-XSL Template 4.0-(Not Verified: Microsoft Corp.)
- isInstalled Class 4.0(Not Verified: Sun Microsystems Inc.)

Dave
March 16, 2008 6:35 PM

Harking back to the question by Derick (18.02.08), I have found that I have the following in the 'Add on that run without requiring permission'
Free Threaded XML DOM Document Ver. 3, 4, & 6 and one with no version.
XML Data Source Object Ver. 3, 4
XML DOM Document Ver. 3, 4, & 6 and one with no version.
XML HTTP Ver. 3,4, & 6
XML Schema Cache Ver. 3, 4, & 6 and one with no version.
XSL Template Ver. 3, 4, & 6 and one with no version.
Are all these versions necessary or can I disable or even delete all except the latest version??

Ann
March 17, 2008 5:38 PM

What is the add-on TODO that keeps popping up when I go to my yahoo mail I am not sure what to do with it please help.

annie muncy
July 23, 2008 10:54 AM

since my add ons are gone the computer is slower and I can;t always get in to places I ONCE DID,..HELP PLEASE MY COPY AND PASTE OPTIONS ARE ALSO GRAYED OUT? WHAT;S UP?

isobel
August 18, 2008 10:22 AM

Trying to obtain licence key for SSMA but get error that MsXml3.dll is running and causing a problem. It is not verified. I have disabled the add-on, closed my browser and re-tried but get the same error. How can I can past this?

Thanks,

Isobel

Edward
August 19, 2008 7:07 AM

my computer always comes with yahoo update manager

Tillett
January 2, 2009 11:08 PM

My internet explorer comes on with add on disabled
and when i go to tools.... add-on manager... is not highlighted and therefore I am not able to re enable it. What can I do.

Bruce
February 8, 2009 9:53 AM

Simply answer: ARE ADD-ONS NECESSARY?

There's no simple answer, it depends on what you're attempting to do.
- Leo
09-Feb-2009

Abby
May 19, 2009 2:13 PM

My internet explorer comes on with add on disabled
and when i go to tools, add-on types is not highlighted and therefore I am not able to re enable it. What can I do!??! I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO DO SEVERAL THINGS ON MY LAPTOP AND I NEED SERIOUS HELP!!!! PLEASE EMAIL ME WITH THE ANSWER!!!!!!! thanks!!

yolanda
September 28, 2009 7:59 PM

i keep getting s pop up sying my add-ons are disabled but all of mine are enabled what should i do?

Carol
August 30, 2010 10:02 AM

My internet explorer has opened the past couple of weeks with add on disabled. When I open Tools, all of the add-ons show they are enabled and I am not able to re enable it. When I click on an add-on, I get a notation that I have approved this add-on for the following sites - inside the white box there is only an asterick and I am not able to click on "Allow on all sites" (button is faded). What else can I do?

uninstall IE 9 beta on this computor, and restore previous version of IE 9
September 28, 2010 7:24 PM

I want IE 9 beta uninstalled on my computor, it does not work.I want IE 9 restored on my computor.

There's an article specificaly for that already on the site: How do I uninstall Internet Explorer 9?
Leo
29-Sep-2010

Judy Telemchuk
October 9, 2012 4:58 PM

I don't what to do. This add-on would cover this the upper area and even covers the file stuff.

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.