Applet Deployment Guide for Microsoft Internet Explorer


A recent update to Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 included a change that alters the way users interact with applets in the browser. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 running on the following platforms are affected by this change:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Supported versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003

With this change, users can no longer directly interact with applets by default. Users are first required to manually activate the applet's user interface, before interacting with the applets. If the page has multiple applets, users have to activate each applet's user interface individually.

Impact on Applets

Interactive applets loaded directly from the web page in Internet Explorer are affected. However, if the applets are loaded from external script files, they can respond to user interaction immediately and are not affected by this change.

Activating the Applet for Interaction
Activating the Applet for Interaction

When the applet is inactive, it does not respond to users input. However, it performs operations that do not involve interaction. For example, when users open a web page which contains an applet, the applet loads and runs as usual. To activate the applet for interaction, users need to manually click on the applet, or use the Tab key to set focus on the applet and then press the Spacebar or the Enter key.


To create web pages that load interactive applets that respond immediately to user input, developers can use JavaScript programming language to load the applets from external script files. Developers should not write script elements inline (for example, using the writeln function) with the main HTML page to load a control externally, because the loaded applet will behave as if it was loaded by the HTML document itself and will require activation. To ensure an applet is interactive when it is loaded, use one of the following techniques.

The following example uses document.write to load an applet dynamically.

// HTML File
    <script src="embedApplet.js"></script>
// embedApplet.js
document.write('<applet code=XYZApp.class width=300 height=300>');
document.write('<param name=model value=models/>');

Developers can also specify applets in the web page using EMBED or OBJECT tags.

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