Description of the Internet Explorer Information Bar in Windows XP SP2

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INTRODUCTION

The Internet Explorer Information Bar is a new User Interface (UI) that is included in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). The Information Bar is displayed when potentially dangerous actions on a Web page have been blocked. The Information Bar appears between the toolbar and the content window in Internet Explorer, and it is similar to the notification area in Outlook 2003. The notification area in Outlook 2003 informs you of blocked content. The Internet Explorer Information Bar in Windows XP SP2 replaces many of the common dialog boxes that prompt you for information, and it also provides a prominent area for displaying information that you may want to view or act upon. Examples of dialog boxes that have been replaced by Information Bar notifications include blocked ActiveX installations, pop-ups windows, download processes and active content.

Important You can turn off the Information Bar in Internet Explorer by lowering the default security settings. However, we strongly recommend that you leave these security settings at their default level or higher. The default security settings in Internet Explorer are designed to help protect your computer from viruses and from attacks over the Internet.

MORE INFORMATION

The Information Bar looks and functions like the Outlook 2003 blocked content notification area. The Information Bar appears between the toolbar and the content window in Internet Explorer when a notification is present, and then it disappears when you visit another location. The text in the Information Bar varies depending on the notification that is provided. The text wraps to two lines if it exceeds the bounds of the notification area. For example, a common notification message that appears is the following:
Your current security settings prohibit running ActiveX controls on this page. As a result, the page may not display correctly.
To shift focus to the Information Bar from the other objects in the browser, press the TAB key.

When you click or right-click the Information Bar, a menu that relates to the current notification is displayed. This menu always contains the Information Bar Help command that provides more detailed information about the notification. The Information Bar commands that the Administrator has made unavailable appear dimmed.

You can configure the Information Bar to play a sound when the Information Bar appears. By default, this sound setting is enabled. When the Information Bar appears, the Windows trust icon is displayed on the status bar instead of the Error on page notification.

In certain cases, more than one action can be blocked. For example, a pop-up window may be blocked at the same time that an add-in installation is blocked. In such cases, the text in the Information Bar becomes more generic and the menus merge to show each action that is blocked. Each action blocked has a submenu.

You can customize the security zone settings of the Information Bar. You can choose to be notified with the Information Bar or with a less prominent notification for file and code download operations. This feature was also included in Windows XP SP1.

Information Bar features in Windows XP SP2

Add-in installation prompts

In Windows XP SP1, when a Web page refers to an ActiveX control that is not currently present on your computer, you are prompted whether you want ActiveX controls to be downloaded. In Windows XP SP2, this query is displayed in the Information Bar. The following table lists the text that will appear in the Information Bar and the actions that you can select from the menu:
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Information Bar ElementDisplay
Information Bar Text To help protect your security, Internet Explorer stopped this site from installing software on your computer. Click here for more options...
Short Text Software Install Blocked
Menu Options Install Software...

What’s the risk?

Pop-up blocked notification

Windows XP SP2 displays a notification in the Information Bar when a pop-up window is blocked. The Information Bar lets you use the Pop-up Blocker functionality, such as replaying the pop-up window, adding the Web site to an “Allowed sites” list for pop-up windows, or going to the Pop-up Blocker settings. You can also turn off the Information Bar for pop-up windows if you decide that the notification is too big for the pop-up event. The following table lists the text that will appear in the Information Bar and the actions that you can select from the menu:
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Information Bar ElementDisplay
Information Bar Text Pop-up blocked. To see this pop-up or additional options, click here...
Short Text Pop-up Blocked
Menu Options Show Last Pop-up

Allow Pop-ups for this Site

Allow Pop-ups

Show Information Bar for Blocked Pop-ups (Checked)

Pop-up Window Options...

Automatic download prompts

In Windows XP SP2, file download prompts that are launched automatically appear in the Information Bar.

The Information Bar includes descriptive text that explains why the action was taken, and it also provides a context-sensitive menu that you can use to respond to the notification. The following table lists the text that will appear in the Information Bar and the actions that you can select from the menu:
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Information Bar ElementDisplay
Information Bar Text To help protect your security, Internet Explorer blocked this site from downloading files to your computer. Click here for more options...
Friendly Notification TextFile Download Blocked
Menu OptionsDownload Software

What's the risk?

Active content blocked

In Windows XP SP2, when the active content is blocked from running in the Local Computer zone, the Information Bar will appear.

The Information Bar includes descriptive text that explains why the action was taken and provides a context-sensitive menu that you can use to respond to the notification. The following table lists the text that will appear in the Information Bar and the actions that you can select from the menu:
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Information Bar ElementDisplay
Information Bar Text To help protect your security, Internet Explorer has restricted this file from showing active content that could access your computer. Click here for options...
Short Text Active Content Blocked
Menu OptionsAllow Blocked Content

What's the risk?

ActiveX blocked due to security settings

Windows XP SP2 no longer shows the prompt ActiveX blocked due to security settings. Internet Explorer shows this notification in the Information Bar.

The Information Bar includes descriptive text that explains why the action was taken and provides a context-sensitive menu that you can use to respond to the notification. The following table lists the text that will appear in the Information Bar and the actions that you can select from the menu:
Collapse this tableExpand this table
Information Bar ElementDisplay
Information Bar Text Your security settings do not allow ActiveX controls to run on this page. This page may not display correctly. Click here for more options...
Short Text Software Blocked
Menu OptionsAllow this site to run ActiveX controls

What’s the risk?

Properties

Article ID: 843017 - Last Review: August 29, 2005 - Revision: 2.6
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 (SP2)
Keywords: 
kbpubtypekc kbnetwork kbconnectivity kbbrowsing kbmaintenance kbperformance kbconfig kbsecurity kbhowto kbinfo KB843017

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