Browser Helper Object

What Does Browser Helper Object Mean?

A Browser Helper Object (BHO) is a DLL module designed by Microsoft to allow developers to create plug-ins for its Internet Explorer browser. BHOs can display content that was not originally written in HTML, such as a PDF file, or it can allow developers to add toolbars to the browser. BHOs are supported in Internet Explorer version 4 and up.


Techopedia Explains Browser Helper Object

The Browser Helper Object was created by Microsoft in 1997 to make it easy for developers to create plug-ins for Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer. They are implemented as DLL modules.

BHOs first appeared in Internet Explorer 4.0 and are still supported, even though plug-ins like Flash are falling out of use and Microsoft itself has discontinued development of Internet Explorer in favor of Edge. Some major plug-ins implemented as BHOs include Adobe Reader and the Alexa toolbar.

As with any browser plug-in mechanism, there are always security risks. Some versions of malware have been implemented as BHOs. Other BHO-based plug-ins can track browsing habits and keystrokes.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…