Multiple "iexplorer.exe" in taskmanager?

sgtoverlord
sgtoverlord used Ask the Experts™
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When I open Internet Explorer I have noticed that there are at least 2 processes in taskmanager called "iexplorer.exe"

Is this normal?  Or should I be worried about something malicious on my system?

Here is some background info and some specs about my system.   I built this system about a month ago.  It is a fresh install and all the patches for Windows have been installed.

IE:  Internet Explorer8
OS:  Windows XP Pro
CPU:  AMD Phenom II X4 940
RAM:  4GB of DDR2
MB:  ASUS M4N82 Deluxe
Firewall:  ZoneAlarm Pro 8.0.059.000
AV:   AVG Free version 8.5
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Commented:
That's the process for Internet Explorer...it sounds like normal operations to me.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
It is normal to have at least 2. If everything else is running well, then you should be OK. Make sure, of course, that you run the computer behind a firewall and that it has a decent AntiVirus suite installed. An unsecured computer hooked up to the Internet can be compromised within minutes. ... Thinkpads_User

Author

Commented:
Shniz:  I realize it is the process for IE, my question was centered around the fact that there were multiple processes in taskmanager called "iexplorer.exe"


thinkpads:  As I stated, I use a firewall and an anti-virus.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
I see at least 2 instances of iexplorer, and then one more for each Window or Tab. So for example, I have 4 such processes running. I think that is all you are seeing. .. Thinkpad_User

Author

Commented:
That is what I thought myself, but I still get at least two "iexplorer.exe" processes running when I only have one tab open.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
So do I. I don't give it a second thought because (a) it is not wrong and (b) it is not causing any problem. It is just the design and implementation of Internet Explorer. ... Thinkpads_User

Commented:
Do you have any toolbars installed? It's not uncommon to see multiple instances of IE in my experience.
Top Expert 2007

Commented:
With IE7 and later you will get one instance of iexplorer.exe for the window manager and another instance for each tab you have open including the first.

In theory if one tab has a problem the rest should be able to continue unaffected. In practice this sometimes actually works.

Dave Dietz
Top Expert 2013

Commented:
sgtoverlord
FWIW--I never looked in Task Manager for how many listings I had for iexplore.exe until you mentioned the matter.  So now I did.  With two tabs open, I have one listing.  Adding two open windows (for a total of three "instances" of IE) I still only have one listing. I confirmed this by running tasklist /svc from a command prompt.   I use IE7.
I assume you mean iexplore.exe rather than iexploreR.exe.  The latter would be a sign of malware.
Top Expert 2007

Commented:
iexplorer.exe <-- is not legit... is that a typo?

iexplore.exe <-- is the Internet Explorer
explorer.exe <-- is the Windows explorer


If you really have a process called -->iexplorer.exe  then that's some nasty masquerading and you should stop it.
And scan with MalwareBytes or Combofix or othe scaners.

Show us a Hijackthis log first it should show up there.
http://www.trendsecure.com/portal/en-US/tools/security_tools/hijackthis/download



JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
In my case, in my post, it is merely a typo. The processes I have running are iexplore.exe (multiple). I have no viruses. ... Thinkpads_User

Author

Commented:
rpggamergirl:  wow, your question sent ice through my veins.  I double checked, and I do have the correct program running "iexplore.exe"
Top Expert 2007
Commented:
Well, if it's the legit Internet explorer that's running then that's okay but then there's the question of why you have multiple iexplore.exe running when you only have one IE window opened?
So let's investigate to make sure that all those iexplore.exe processes are all legit.


If you have Process Explorer, that iexplore.exe should have Internet Explorer as the "Description" and company name "Microsoft"
and if you doubleclick on the process the path should point to --> C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe

Process Explorer:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx

If that iexplore.exe has the wrong description, the wrong company name and the wrong path then it's some virus masquerading.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Actually, there was no indication in the original post that there was a virus.

Merely a question "Is it normal to have multiple processes for IE?" to which the answer then and now continues to be Yes. Even with one window open there are two processes and it grows from there depending on the number of open windows and tabs. But a minimum of two (one window open) is entirely normal.

The second question "Should I be concerned?" to which the answer then and now remains No.

... Thinkpads_User
This is perfectly normal, if you're using IE8. See:

Multiple instances of iexplore.exe run when using Internet Explorer 8 - The Winhelponline Blog:
http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/multiple-instances-of-iexploreexe-run-when-using-internet-explorer-8/

Author

Commented:
sramesh2K:  I appreciate your post and the link.  However, it does not address the issue of multiple iexplore.exe processes showing in task manager, when I only have ONE tab open.   This is the core of my question.  I apologize if I have not made that clear in my initial posting.

============================================================

Just so I am clear:  
--I only have one (1) window of IE8 open
--I only have one (1) page/tab open (my home page)
--IE8 is only showing my homepage
--There are NO other tabs open

I have more than one process called "iexplore.exe" running in taskmanager.  They even have different amounts states for "mem usage".

--This occurs every time I run IE8

============================================================

rpggamergirl:  thank you for your reply.  I have checked, per your suggestion, and I have both processes showing correct paths and company of Microsoft.


thinkpad:  I respectfully disagree with your assertion in your above post.  It is NOT agreed that it is normal for multiple processes of iexplore.exe to be in taskmanager when only 1 tab is open.  I believe I was not clear when I initially posted my question, that I do not have multiple tabs open.  My apologies.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
sgtoverlord - You may think about this issue in your own way, of course.

But I found this link

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090213052317AAGDfbZ

from which I extracted the following:
-------------------------------
If you have upgraded Internet Explorer to version 8 (Any Beta or RC), then you should be aware that the new browser uses a seperate process of "iexplore.exe" for each tab currently open. If you start your browser, you will automatically have two processes, one for the main browser window and another for the first tab.

Microsoft has implemented this technique into Internet Explorer 8 to accomodate a more effective process priority to each tab. An example would be if you were listening to streaming radio in one tab and surfing in another. The tab which has your focus can and will take priority over the background tab and cause the radio to cutout or even stop. In the new Internet Explorer, each tab has its own process which allows equal priority over CPU time and will not let another tab steal the processing time from any other background tab.
--------------------------

Now this is basically the same answer as was pointed to by sramesh2K but said in a slightly different way.

So it is now really clear that when you open Internet Explorer 8, you will see 2 iexplore.exe processes: 1 for Windows and 1 for Tabs. If you close Explorer 8, the processes go away (on my machines).

I will stand by my earlier posts (which came from observation on both XP and Vista machines) now corroborated with the post here as to why.

... Thinkpads_User

Author

Commented:
thinkpad:  Thank your for that link.  That is what I needed to see to clear up this issue.   My apologies if I came across as argumentative.

My confusion seemed to be centered around me misreading or misinterpreting what the previous explanations were stating.  To me, there seemed to be a recurring theme of the previous explanations, that it was normal for IE8 to have multiple processes for multiple tabs (assuming the user actually had tabs opened).  I erroneously concluded that these explanations did not address the situation of a user that did not have any tabs open.

Thank you for your help, everyone.

sramesh2K:  I will credit you as well for assisting in the solution.
Top Expert 2007

Commented:
sgtoverlord,

Glad to know that your question has been answered and that everything's okay, I'm always suspicious of viruses, :)
A good info for me since I'm still using Internet Explorer 6.

Thanks!

Commented:
Thats normal, unless you are also getting popups when browsing internet on sites which usually wouldn't have popups.

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