Internet Explorer 8 on XP SP3 starts without browser window. Task manager doesn't show application, but iexplore.exe is listed twice in process window. Process Explorer reports "no visible windows found for this process" when I try to "bring to front" in the iexplore.exe properties dialog. Have reinstalled (twice), full scanned with MBAM/MSSE/SpyBot etc, re-registered ieproxy.dll (another Google-inspired tip!), run without addons (-extoff switch), and still same problem. Recently uninstalled VMWare Player and wondered whether problem related to VM network adapter somehow, but Firefox still works perfectly.
This is one of my home machines, not critical, and it is backed up, so I will restore if I have to. But any and all suggestions will be gratefully received. It would be nice to understand what might have happened, and perhaps others may benefit from any knowledge that comes to light.