One of our legacy application is tied to IE. We created a desktop shortcut for it on user's workstation. Now when this shortcut launches the app, we see 3 windows processes launched instead of 2!!! Normally when you open the browser there are 2 processes, one for browser management and one for tab. But here, we see 3 processes, but there is only one tab. Which means that 1 IE process is not visible. this messes up the app, as it ends up opening subsequent tab in the invisible tab.

The app works normally if the user keys in the url in IE address bar. I also checked the perfmon to verify the activity and figured that when the subsequent tabs are launched, the invisible IE process is doing heavy processing

Does anyone know why IE launches a 3rd process when its launched from a desktop shortcut? Also is there a way to ensure that it launches normally with 2 proceses

I have tested this on:

>     Windows 2008 R2 - IE8
>     Windows 7 - IE8
>     Windows 7 - IE9

With further tests, I learnt that this does not happen on all the box, but happens on many boxes. Again, if it happened on a box, it continues to happen.

Out of curiosity I tried creating a web shortcut for chrome. Chrome does not invoke any additional processes like IE. it does have 3 processes open, but that's a normal chrome thing. Hence this issue of ghost process is specific to Internet Explorer

  • What's the operating system? Which IE version are you using?
    – and31415
    Apr 8, 2014 at 11:03
  • Actually, Chrome does invoke more than one process. Typically, this occurs for each tab that is opened. I'd also check the add-ons that are installed.
    – rrirower
    Apr 8, 2014 at 12:32
  • Chrome opens 5 processes to start with and then then stays to number of tabs +2 processes
    – Dhawalk
    Apr 8, 2014 at 12:42
  • an addin is my guess. try disabling them all, check the count, then re-enable one by one.
    – cjb110
    Apr 8, 2014 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


This behavior happens with all browsers. The additional processes are typically created by each browser tab and by each browser plugin.

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