- Worldstart's Tech Tips And Computer Help - http://www.worldstart.com -

Cleaning Out Multiple Instances of Internet Explorer

Francine from Santa Fe, New Mexico asks:

I like to get rid of as many background tasks that I am not using as much as I can, so I am always going into the Task Manager. Yesterday I opened it and there were nine instances of Internet Explorer! It took me forever to shut them all down. What’s up with this?

Hi Francine! Thanks for writing.

It’s great that you brought this up. You are about the buh-zillionth person that has had problems with this, myself included. I’d bet my only daughter that you have Internet Explorer 8 as your browser. (If you don’t, well, um, it’s okay, I am not the betting type, so you don’t need to take the kid. I digress.)

I had incredible performance problems when I used IE8, and every time I opened the Task Manager, there were tons of Internet Explorer instances in the background. Microsoft acknowledges that it’s a problem and that it has to do with the tabs. Whatever; Microsoft never ceases to amaze me. Well, at least now there’s Internet Explorer 9. It will almost definitely be an improvement over all previous versions; isn’t it always?


Francine, you said that it took you forever to shut them all down (that quick?). Well, I am going to give you a way to get rid of them all at once, and give you a desktop shortcut, so that it only takes one click to do it. How cool is that?

First, you need to get to a Command Prompt because you’re going to type in a command. (Note: Don’t confuse this with your Run line where you can also type commands.) This is what a Command Prompt looks like:


To get to a Command Prompt in WinXP, simply click on your Start button, click on All Programs, and then go to the top of your Start Menu and find Accessories. Click on that and about half way down the menu, you’ll see Command Prompt. Click on it.

To get to a Command Prompt really easily in Vista and Win7, hold down your shift key and right-click on your desktop. When your menu pops up, you will see Open Command Window Here in the list of options. Left-click on it. (Note: You can also access the Command Prompt in Vista and Win7 the same way you can in WinXP, as explained above.)


After you get to your Command Prompt option and click on it, a black box will pop up with an arrow that points to the right and a pulsing underscore. That is your Command Prompt.


Now what we are going to “kill the task” (the task being Internet Explorer) by typing this in after the Command Prompt:

taskkill /F /IM iexplore.exe /T

Hit Enter.

That’s it! Now all the Internet Explorer instances have been closed, thereby removing them from your task manager.

Now for the best part:

I personally do not want to have to call up a Command Prompt every time Internet Explorer has taken over my task manager, and you probably don’t, either. So let’s create a desktop shortcut so you can just click once and achieve the same result.

Start by right-clicking anywhere on an empty part of the desktop. Highlight New, and then click on Shortcut.


Next, in the box that pops up, type the following command (it’s the same one that you typed in at the Command Prompt).

taskkill /F /IM iexplore.exe /T


After you click on Next, you’ll be asked to name your shortcut. I named mine KILL INTERNET EXPLORER, just to be different.


If you want an icon for your shortcut (I do), then right click on the shortcut you just made (it has some generic icon), and left-click on Properties. This box will pop up; click on Change Icon.


Now scroll through the icon box (left-to-right) until you find one that you want to use.


After you click on OK, the box with Change Icon will still be up there; click on OK.

And that’s it! Now when Internet Explorer starts freezing up, or there are just too many instances of it running in the background, click on your new desktop shortcut and kill ’em all at once!

Hope this helped, Francine. And again, thanks for writing!

~ Lori Cline