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Un-killable Iexplore.exe process???? Help please.


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I noticed this about a week ago, and posted a topic in the hijackthis forum which came back clean, but I am still a bit confused as to what this could be.

Somtimes I will open task manager, and see a process running called 'Iexplore.exe'. I realise this is the name of an Internet Explorer process, but for some reason, this one doesn't go away when IE is closed. If I have IE open, there will be two instances of iexplore.exe running, one which I can both end by right clicking and going 'end proccess' or simply closing IE, and the other one which just stays there.

If I try and end the other one, it says 'The operation could not be completed. Access is denied.' This happens regardless of whether I'm on an Admin account or a normal, limited account.

Also, unlike all the other processes in task manager, if I try and show this one's properties, or open it's file location, nothing happens. As such, I'm a bit suspicious as to what this file is, and what it is doing. A fully updated MBAM scan shows nothing. As I said before, the topic I had in the HiJackThis forum came back clean.

This process isn't always there. Some days I don't see it at all, whereas others it is. Logging off and then back on seems the only way to get rid of it for a while.

Any ideas as to what this is, whether it is malware or not, and how I can find out where the .exe is located????

I am attaching a screenshot of the task manager. It should be noted that Internet Explorer was NOT open when I took the pic.

Any help is much appreciated.

post-4346-1224376793_thumb.jpg

post-4346-1224376793_thumb.jpg

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  • Root Admin

If you reboot your computer and log back in and DO NOT open IE will this process still be there?

Or, as you say it's not always there.

Please reboot the next time you have it there and then right after the reboot check TaskManager and see if it's there or not and let me know.

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After posting my first message, I logged off and logged back on, (without restarting the pc) and I have not seen it again so far.

Right now, with IE open, there is a process called iexplore.exe, but I can cancel that one if I want (closing internet explorer). When the mystery, extra iexplore.exe is running, if I open internet explorer there will be two processes in task manager named iexplore.exe, with the only visible difference being the real one (that I can close, view properties of, and opens only when internet explorer is running) has 'Internet Explorer' next to it in the Description column. As you can see, the one that I can't end or find out where it is located has nothing in the description column. I have yet to figure out a way of causing this process to appear... It seems almost random in that occasionally I will see it, but most of the time it won't be there.

I think that somtimes when it is there, internet explorer loads pages slower than usual. I'm not certain about this whatsoever, (as I could have normal speed browsing after closing IE and opening it again, with the 'other' process still running), but I think that is what prompted me to check task manager in the first place.

Hopefully it is just some sort of software glitch in either task manager or IE, and not malware.

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  • Root Admin

What I'm guessing is that somehow you're running some applet or Web page that is giving IE heck trying to render it properly. Then when you go to close it there are threads of it still open but they can't find the parent process anymore so they're stuck in limbo. I certainly wouldn't expect this to happen very often though unless it is some popular page you visit that is doing it.

Using Process Monitor from Microsoft you might be able to track it down, but the advanced features are not easy for most users to use.

You might be able to try resetting IE back to defaults under the Advanced tab under IE options and see if that helps.

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If you use the windows sidebar it could be related to one of it's gadgets. I also noticed that it doesn't show the description of the process as being internet explorer, I also run Vista and mine says Internet Explorer in the description field. What comes up when you right click on it in Task Manager and click "open file location?"

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Oops, sorry about that, I saw the part about the files properties but missed where you mentioned file location. Oh well, at least it's gone now, or so it seems. Hopefully it was just some weird fluke and you won't have the issue anymore.

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