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Spybot Search and Destroy

View Installed ActiveX Controls and Browser Helper Objects

SUMMARY: Browse detailed information about ActiveX Controls and Browser Helper Objects running in Internet Explorer.

Service Pack 2 for Windows XP adds a feature to Internet Explorer 6 that lets you view detailed information about Browser Helper Objects (BHO) and ActiveX Controls installed on your system. These objects normally:

* Let you view PDFs, Flash, or other multimedia files from within Internet Explorer
* Enable web-based software updates, such as Office Update
* Enable running Java Applets

and more.

However, many Spyware and Adware programs are distributed as such tools. While Spybot Search and Destroy will automatically detect many of these programs, it is possible a BHO or ActiveX Control that it cannot yet detect may infect you. Thus, Spybot Search and Destroy contains a feature to let you view detailed information about all installed ActiveX controls and BHOs.

To enable this feature, you must be in Advanced mode. From Spybot Search and Destroy, click "Mode" and select "Advanced Mode" if it is not already selected. Then, click "Tools" and then in the right pane, click "ActiveX" or "BHOs" (you'll want to do both).

From here you can see the internal ID and name for installed BHOs or ActiveX Controls (depending on what you are browsing at a particular time). Those with green checkmarks next to them are known as legitimate according to the software, and those with red signs next to them are known to be problematic. Those without either sign are unknown, and may not necessarily by spyware or adware.

To view detailed information about a BHO or ActiveX control, just click it. If you can determine that the object should be removed, click the "Remove" button. Be careful! If you are not sure whether or not to remove an object, your best bet is to check through Google or ask a detailed question at an online help forum such as the MalekTips Forums at http://malektips.com/forums.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.