I'm using IE8 on WinXP-SP3, and when I run IE, there are quite a few iexplore.exe entries in the TaskMgr Process List, even when I am not using multiple tabs.

I am running this page in one tab right now and there are 3 iexplore processes running!

I was wondering if anybody knows why this is (AFAIK multi-threaded processes are grouped with the same process listing so it's probably not due to multi-threading), and if it is multi-threading, how to turn it off if possible? (currently running an AMD Athlon XP single-core)

1 Answer 1


It uses a separate thread for each plugin and addon. One of those will be the main browser, and one is the main tab (there will always be at least one open, otherwise the whole browser is closed), and the last one is probably Flash or Java.

  • ok this explains why sometimes it will close immediately when I terminate one process and other times I have to close all of them manually (when it is not responding) Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 20:24
  • If you can figure out which is the main process (it should have the lowest PID, but no guarantees; it is easier to find out for sure with something like Process Explorer), then you can kill its "tree", then you do not have to kill each one individually.
    – Bobson
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 20:27
  • This is more or less the same as Chrome and is done primarily for security. Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 20:30
  • Yes, exactly. Chrome created a per-process browser so that each tab, plugin, and extension is in its own space, and thus can be better controlled and "sandboxed". Firefox and IE soon followed suit.
    – Bobson
    Commented Sep 20, 2011 at 20:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .