After closing IE windows iexplore.exe processes are still running non-stop in Task Manager

I have a problem with Internet Explorer and need help fixing it. I run Vista x32 machine with 2 Gb memory with all current updates. I was using IE-8 for about 3 years without any serious problems. Approximately 3-4 weeks ago my computer started freezing with CPU running close to 100%.  The only way to get it back was to disconnect power and remove the battery. I noticed that usually at that time I was using IE or closing it. So, I decided to update to IE-9, but the problem still persisted and I started investigate. When I open IE, the Task Manager shows two iexplore.exe processes running. If I open additional windows or tabs, more iexplore.exe processes will show up. All that is fine, untill I close all IE windows. The iexplore.exe processes are still running in the Task Manager. Well, some of them might close in about 15 seconds, but a few would keep running forever. I would have to end the processes in Task Manager to close it, which works sometimes. But frequently there would be one iexplore.exe process that would not close via Task Manager. It would start using CPU >50% to 90% and my computer will freeze. All these appear to be legitimate processes refering to iexplore.exe located in the C:\Program files\Internet Explorer folder.
One more additional detail. When I use Adobe Flash Active X in Internet Explorer and then close the Browser, Adobe Flash Active X process keeps running and does not close - never. Even if on some rare occasion iexplore.exe processes would close upon closing IE windows, the Flash Active X would be running in Task Manager. I have to kill this process in Task Manager every time. I have uninstalled the Flash Player (using the Adobe uninstall file), rebooted and installed Flash Player again. No difference.

What I have done:

1) Started IE without add-ons: does not help. Did a complete Reset of IE: does not help.
2) Uninstalled IE-9, still the same problem with IE-8. Uninstalled IE-8, IE-7 was actually working fine and very fast. Re-installed IE-8 (from Microsoft site): the same problem. Re-installed IE-9 (from Microsoft site): the same problem.
3) Scanned my computer with numerous AV programs: Microsoft Essentials (my default AV program), Avast, Avira, Emsisoft, Trend-Micro, Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware, Spybot, Eset. Other than a few cookies, which were removed - nothing was found.
4) I ran system file checker toolI (sfc) twice and both times the answer was " did not find any integrity violations".

Firefox browser works beautifully without any problems. All other programs that I have on my computer do not create any problems. The only problem is IE. Firefox is a nice browser, but I still would like to have IE functioning on my machine.

I looked over the forums, and it appears that a lot of people have the same problem with different versions of IE. Unfortunately none of the offered solutions (if there were some) could help me - like removing Comodo firewall, which I do not use, etc. I think it is more like an internal weakness of IE browser, which can be triggered by numerous causes. But where is the location of this weakness and can it be fixed in a more radical way?

Can you suggest any ways to fix this problem?

Thank you.

 
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Last updated July 19, 2018 Views 105,646 Applies to:

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Hi,

The symptom is definately, definately a problem with one of your IE Addons....

Try

Start>Control Panel>Internet Options, Advanced tab, uncheck "Enable third-party browser extensions". Save you changes and close any open IE Windows.

Important ..... restart your computer.

Start IE.... this time when it starts it will not load any Toolbar or Browser Helper Addons that you have installed. (If you have previously disabled all your IE Addons from the IE Addons Manager, your can go back to the Addons Manager and Enable them all again.... you will need Shockwave flash and Silverlight as some web pages may cause IE to crash if you do not have them enabled.) Other types of Addons, like ActiveX and Command Bar buttons and menu extensions are available (unless disabled in the IE Addons Manager).

Note: uncheck "Enable third-party browser extensions".  is not the same as disabling ALL of your IE Addons using the Addons Manager or running IE in noAddons mode....

If you have the Bing Toolbar installed, go Start>Control Panel>Programs and Features, locate it in the list and press the Update button... there was an update available a few months back that addressed issues with Vista and IE8 and 9.

If you want to restart your Toolbars and Browser helpers after doing the update above... just reverse the instructions given above... Note that you have close all Ie Windows and restart IE before the changes will take affect... so use the Task Manager to make sure that you do not STILL have any IE processes running (on the Processes tab)... after you have closed all open (visible) IE Windows...

If you have IE9 BETA install still, uninstall it and revert automatically back to your previous IE version...

Remember it is a BETA product.... I found the Vista version to be terrible (there appears to be a number of different versions available for each of the supported windows versions... the Vista version is very, very flakey)

On my computer the tab crash recovery in IE8 and 9 seems to have improved in the past few months... (or maybe it is because I am doing less testing of third-party IE Addons)... but do a Windows Update to ensure you have all of the latest security updates and patches from Microsoft.

Regards.

 


Rob^_^
Rob^_^

4 people were helped by this reply

·

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Well, IE Add-ons were the primary suspect from the very beginning. That is why I tried to start IE without Add-ons from the System Tools menu several times. As I mentioned before, it didn't help. I don't understand how unchecking the "Enable third-party browser extensions" option would be better, but I went with it anyway. I tried a couple of times to disable third-party extensions in Internet Options and then enable them again, with restarting my computer in between. It didn't help either.

I don't have any Toolbars installed on my IE, so there is no need to update anything. My Windows Update, however, runs every day, and everything is up to the latest patch. Regarding IE-9 beta: I started having this problem with IE-8. That is why I decided to try to update it to IE-9. Then I uninstalled version 9 to IE-8, and then to IE-7. And then installed again IE-8, which didn't solve the problem, and then again went to version 9. Still the same problem.

I will continue to play with different Add-ons trying to remove some, but don't know how successful I would be.

The fact the Adobe Flash/Active X process does not close after I finish with IE also bothers me. I even removed it and reinstalled again, but without any improvements.

Thank you for trying to help.

If you will have any other suggestions, please let me know.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

IE-7 was actually working fine and very fast. 

That suggests then that LCIE could be a cause of your problem symptom.  You could test that idea by setting  TabProcGrowth=0  (to simulate IE7 on XP, which also apparently disables Protected Mode) or TabProcGrowth=1 (which would keep Protected Mode: On but might not be as conclusive a test).  ; )

BTW the fact that No Add-ons mode doesn't eliminate the symptom does not mean that add-ons have been removed from consideration, just that that simple test was ineffective in finding a cause.  E.g. now you will have to resort to clean-boot troubleshooting techniques to try and find a cause.  In that case if you normally rely on third-party security products make sure that you have at least the Windows firewall enabled before trying to connect to the Internet.

Also, having to disconnect the power and remove the battery to shut down does not sound like something that IE could be held responsible for, so all the more reason to have to resort to clean-boot troubleshooting techniques.   BTW I wonder if you made the same mistake with Power settings on your laptop that I made with my W7 Tablet?  I must have noticed that the battery only settings had Hibernate for all the power off conditions and stupidly made the non-battery settings the same--only later realizing that this meant I now had no way to shut down my Tablet when I didn't have a functioning UI.  Oops.  ; )

 

HTH

Robert Aldwinckle
---

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

You are absolutely correct about the fact that because "No Add-ons mode doesn't eliminate the symptom does not mean that add-ons have been removed from consideration". I should add - as well as disabling third party extensions or disabling some add-ons directly in the Add-on Manager. I have completely removed from my computer the latest beta version of DivX WebPlayer, and now I can watch CNN videos and open without any problems my Google account with background image. I couldn't do that before, and simply disabling DivX add-on didn't work. That is the good part. The bad part is that I still have that major problem with iexplore.exe staying open sometimes after closing the IE window and sometimes overwhelming my CPU and causing computer to freeze.

By the way, could you please explain to me how the battery settings would prevent my computer from completely freezing leaving me with the only option of cutting all power to it (and removing the battery for that purpose). In my Advanced battery settings I do have Critical Battery Action set for Hibernation both on Battery and Plugged in. It was a default setting and I never changed it. My understanding was that runaway iexplore.exe process was simply overwhelming my CPU and preventing it from responding to any key strokes or mouse clicks. I need to mention that iexplore.exe process does not always go to 100% CPU usage. Very often it stays just above 50%. If I can not close it with the Task Manager (it simply would not respond to "end the process" command) and it stays open for several minutes, then my computer freezes. If you would suggest me a way to prevent such freezing, it would be great.

In the meantime, I will continue searching for the way to deal with my IE problem. And I do believe that it is specifically related to iexplore.exe process, since it is the only one that causes my computer to freeze.

Thanks.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

I still have that major problem with iexplore.exe staying open sometimes after closing the IE window and sometimes overwhelming my CPU and causing computer to freeze.

So, you just have to find something else that is being loaded and apparently causing that interference.  I would try using  ProcExp  (from TechNet)  to help with that.

I do have Critical Battery Action set for Hibernation both on Battery and Plugged in.

My point is that if you don't have a way of causing a Shut down it is difficult to cause a Shut down.  ; )

 

Good luck

Robert
---

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Robert,

I wanted to ask you something. When I open the Task Manager and right-click on running processes there, I see among other options such item as Virtualization. I noticed that most processes do not have the check-mark next to it, but iexplore.exe processes do have it checked. Can it be the source of the problem, and what does it mean in the first place? I am familiar with the very general concept of virtualization, but don't know much about details and how it works and where it is regulated in Vista. The reason I am asking is: first, Firfox does not have virtualization checked and it works fine. Second, and mostly important, I had some time ago a problem with Adobe PDF maker and Adobe PDF Printer. They would freeze and wouldn't finish printing to PDF. After extensive troubleshooting I tracked it to the Acrotray.exe process, which is needed for PDF printing. It turned out that this process also has Virtualization checked. If I uncheck this Virtualization, everything works normally, without any problems. When I restart the computer, Virtualization is back in Acrotray. To make it work, I need to uncheck it again. I have no idea why it happens and why both acrotray.exe and iexplore.exe are virtualized and how it effects their performance. Do you have any information on this subject?

Thank you.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

I am familiar with the very general concept of virtualization, but don't know much about details and how it works and where it is regulated in Vista.


Then you may know more than I about that.   My guess is that it has something to do with compatibility mode, e.g. how the IE7 rendering engine could be implemented in IE8...

Oh.  Try a search?...

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb530198.aspx

(Microsoft search for
virtualization registry compatibility
)

<quote>

Only for keys that are administrator writeable

</quote>

The article also hints that you could use registry auditing to "monitor the status of virtualization" on your system.   ; )

I suspect it would be simpler to use ProcMon to trace Vista's use of it.


Good luck

Robert
---

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

The problem is still not resolved. I started using mostly Firefox for Internet browsing, going to Internet Explorer only on some occasions, when specific Web sites prefer IE browser. There are, however, some new observations which I wanted to list here.

First, I have found a couple of Web sites, which will always cause the iexplore.exe to hang - 100% of all cases. One of them is: http://www.computertipsfree.com/how-to-change-font-size-in-internet-explorer/. As soon as I go there, the IE becomes unresponsive. I still can go back to a previous page and open another tab or window. I can also close all IE windows, but if I look in Task Manager, there will be one iexplore.exe process running and using about 50% CPU. This process is impossible to kill. I used pskill.exe and taskkill.exe (both - process name and PID, including /F and /T), PowerShell commands, Registry etc. Nothing works. I looked in several forums on the Web and it appears that this impossibility to kill a hung process is a major problem in Vista and Windows 7. When iexplore.exe processes are running sometimes after I close the IE windows and they use close to 0% CPU, I can easily kill these processes via Task Manager. However, when iexplore.exe is running and using 50% CPU (as in the case of visiting the above mentioned web site), it is hung and impossible to kill. Obviously something in the System is grabbing to it and would not let it go. I usually see 1 thread and about a hundred different handles associated with this process in Task Manager. There is no way, however, to understand what exactly is holding this process. Are there any ways to find this out?

 I have a very nice little program called Unlocker, which I installed on my computer after I constantly had some problems in my Vista deleting or modifying some files/ folders or removing flash drive from USB port. All programs that I used to work with those files or flash drives would be closed, but explorer was grabbing to these files or flash drives and wouldn't let me do anything with them until I reboot my computer. So, Unlocker ( which is less than 0.5 Mb in size) was a life saver. It was showing all handles and was capable of removing them (something that should be done in Vista internally, by the way). However, in my current situation I couldn't use it. And here is why. When my untouchable iexplore.exe was running at 50% CPU, I still could use my computer and run other programs. I couldn't reboot or close the computer - when I was doing it, computer would start closing and then hopelessly freeze in the middle. If I do not turn computer off, it would still be running, but with less CPU power. However, when I start using any program with elevated administrative privileges (which is required for Unlocker) and consent.exe process becomes open in Task Manager, immediately my computer would totally freeze - no mouse clicks, no keyboard strokes. The only way to get out of this is hard reboot by holding the power button.

It is interesting that in the Safe mode with Networking, I could open that Web site without any problems. I couldn't figure out though what was creating a problem. The only major installation that I had on my computer in the middle of last December (when this problem actually started) was a multiple Windows update via automatic Update Manager.

One more detail. When I use Firefox and go to the same web site - no problems. However, when I use ArmoSurf browser, it would also hang at the same web site.

If somebody has any suggestions on the subject, I would greatly appreciate it (short of re-installing the entire OS, though). It would be also good to know how I can find what is actually holding iexplore.exe and causes the freezing of the computer and what is it at that website that is so offensive to my IE.


Thank you.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

First, I have found a couple of Web sites, which will always cause the iexplore.exe to hang - 100% of all cases. One of them is:

http://www.computertipsfree.com/how-to-change-font-size-in-internet-explorer/

As soon as I go there, the IE becomes unresponsive.


That site uses Flash in its ads.   Are you trying to block its ads?   Tried avoid using Flash?

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

These days almost every Web site uses Flash. I go to many sites that use Flash without any problems - like watching videos on CNN or BBC, etc. (including Flash adds). It is impossible to avoid using Flash. I don't understand how it might be so specific to this Web site. But, yes, my add blocker is turned on. It is interesting that I can go to this Web site in Safe mode and it does not create a problem, and I can also play Flash in the Safe mode.

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