Why Do I Have so Many Iexplore.exe Running?

by Thomas King

Iexplore.exe is a process belonging to Microsoft and used in the Windows operating system. While multiple instances of iexplore.exe running on your computer is quite common, it may also indicate that your computer is infected with a malicious program, such as a virus or trojan.


Iexplore.exe is a process associated with Microsoft Internet Explorer, the Web browser created by Microsoft. If you open the Windows Task Manager, by pressing "Ctrl," "Shift" and "Escape," you may notice several instances of iexplore.exe running. This is most likely because you have several Microsoft Internet Explorer windows open at the same time. Each time you open a Microsoft Internet Explorer window, a corresponding iexplore.exe process runs. When you close the window, the iexplore.exe process stops.


Some viruses install an iexplore.exe file that may appear in the Windows Task Manager as an iexplore.exe process. Viruses install files with the same name as legitimate Windows files in an effort to remain undetected. To determine whether an instance of iexplore.exe belongs to a virus, open the Windows Task Manager and click the "General" tab. Click "Show Processes From All Users" and "Image Name." A list of all running processes appears in alphabetical order under the "Image Name" heading. Right-click the first instance of "iexplore.exe" and select "Properties." Click the "General" tab. Next to "Location," it should say "C:\Windows\System32." If it does not, the instance of iexplore.exe likely belongs to a virus. Do this for all of the instances of iexplore.exe running.


If there are multiple instances of iexplore.exe running and you do not have any Internet Explorer windows open, do not assume that the iexplore.exe processes belong to a virus. Some viruses launch the legitimate iexplore.exe process in an effort to connect to the Internet. Thus, you should still check to see whether the process belongs to a virus using the aforementioned method.


To stop an instance of "iexplore.exe" that belongs to a virus, open the Windows Task Manager, right-click the "iexplore.exe" belonging to the virus and select "End Process." While this ends the process, it does not remove the virus. Thus, you should run an up to date anti-virus program. Several free anti-virus programs are available online, including Microsoft Security Essentials, Avast! Free Antivirus 6 and AVG Antivirus Free Edition.

About the Author

Thomas King is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as managing editor of the "Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law." He currently lives in Aberdeen, Washington where he writes and practices law.

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