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Too Many Windows Open in Windows

I have a windows XP desktop system I'm using.  The system has IEexplorer and MS/Office as the primary applications.  It seems this system gets a little cranky when too many windows are open.  It refuses at a certain point to let me open additional windows.   Even pulldowns for menu selections don't respond.  

Once I close a few IE windows or applications, the system starts behaving normally.  Looking at the performance monitor (the system admin one, not the ctl-alt-delete one), I see plenty of available physical memory and I notice no memory resource that grows in sync with the introduction of this problem or shrinks when I close the apps that free up the system.

I've gotten the problem isolated to the point where I can close one window and pick up one window's worth of capability.   I suspect a critical resource constraint but don't know how to isolate it.  I'm looking for ideas.  All assistance is appreciated.
Microsoft Legacy OSWindows OSWindows XP

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8/22/2022 - Mon