Internet Explorer: “Click to Activate and use this Control” results in blank browser window

Certain computers were getting the “Click to Activate and use this Control” prompt when attempting to view reports generated by an .asp script on one of our software provider’s web server. Even after clicking the new window, the window was blank, as in a totally white browser window. Hitting the space bar or enter key didn’t make a difference.

Both Internet Explorer 6 and 7 users had this issue, but we also had users of both versions of the IE browser that did not get this error. All workstations were XPSP2, so I figured that wasn’t an issue.

I verified all browser security settings allowed for ActiveX controls to be run, and ran Microsoft Update to ensure all the IE browser updates were installed. Next I installed the latest versions of Java, Flash, Shockwave, and Adobe Acrobat Reader to make sure those weren’t an issue, but the problem persisted.

I decided to generate this report, and rather than trying to view it in a browser window, I saved it to my hard drive. It saved as a .htm file, and I opened it with notepad. In the file I saw the following line:

crystal files\,2,0,442

I wondered if IE was using the Crystal Reports Viewer, so I went into IE and viewed the installed add-ons, and saw an entry for Crystal Report Viewer Control 9. If I disabled this control and ran the report, I was told the necessary control was not available… so I had figured out which control was causing the issue. I decided the best thing to do would be to uninstall the control and redownload it.

KB 154850 shows how to remove an ActiveX control, but I couldn’t find the control listed in any of the locations they specified. I resorted to googling for the answer to how to remove the Crystal Reports Viewer Control, and came across this page, which pointed me in the correct direction.

Note that these steps were written for Crystal Reports Viewer 8:

To remove a corrupted, unrecognizable, or older version of the ActiveX Viewer:

1. Right-click the Internet Explorer icon, and click ‘Properties’.

2. Click the ‘Settings’ button.

3. Click the ‘View Objects’ button, right-click ‘Crystal Report Viewer Control’, and then click ‘Remove’.

4. Click ‘Yes’ when prompted to remove the control.

5. Close the ‘Downloaded Program Files’ dialog box, click ‘OK’ on the ‘Settings’ dialog box, and then click ‘OK’ on the ‘Internet Options’ dialog box.

6. Search the computer for the following files and manually deregister them:



Use the following steps to deregister these files:

1. Search for the DLL file.

2. On the ‘Start’ menu, click ‘Run’.

3. Type “regsvr32 \u” in the ‘Run’ box and then drag the DLL file to the ‘Run’ box. The contents of the ‘Run’ box look similar to the following:

regsvr32 \u c:\myfiles\myDLL.dll

Unfortunately for me, none of the .dll files listed above were present on my machine. Plus, the \u is incorrect – it should be /u to unregister a .dll file.

On a hunch I searched my computer for crview*.*, and found a crviewer9.dll located in c:\program files\common files\crystal decisions\2.0\bin directory. I decided to try to unregister that .dll just to see what happened. To do so, I ran the following from a command prompt:

regsvr32 /u c:\program files\common files\crystal decisions\2.0\bin\crviewer9.dll

I restarted Internet Explorer, verified that Crystal Report Viewer no longer appeared in the list of installed add-ons, and once the control re-downloaded, was able to generate the report as expected!

I guess the moral of my story is that if you receive the “Click to Activate and use this Control” prompt, and all the obvious causes have been eliminated, you need to determine which ActiveX control is causing the issue, then reinstall the faulty control.

[updated 12-21-2007]

KB 945007 describes an IE6 and IE7 update that disables the “click to activate” behavior totally.

4 Responses to “Internet Explorer: “Click to Activate and use this Control” results in blank browser window”

  1. Matt Says:

    Julie, great information. I have had issues with that darn Crystal Reports Viewer in the past as well. Thanks for the instructions, I am sure they will come in handy in the future.

  2. jimstoic Says:

    I think I’m missing something: where do I find the Internet Explorer icon that I click? I’ve tried using iexplore.exe, but there’s no Settings button in the Properties screen there.

  3. Julie Says:

    Jim –

    Are you right clicking on the Internet Explorer icon on your desktop that does not have the shortcut arrow on the icon? If your IE icon has the shortcut, that option isn’t available, and you’ll have to access it through IE by selecting Tools – Internet Options – General tab – Browsing History – Settings – View Objects.

    You can also access this through Control Panel – Internet Options – General tab – Browsing History – Settings – View Objects.
    – Julie

  4. Erick Says:

    I know it’s been a long time since you posted this, but I just wanted to say Thank You! for your instructions above. I found this post through a Google search, followed the instructions, and they worked perfectly.

    I only did the deregister part, though. Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: