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Are multiple instances of IE causing it to slow down dramatically?

I run Windows 7 Home Premium and IE 9. Lately, when I open additional links
on my homepage, iGoogle, I’ve been having IE 9 slow down to the point that it
ignores my mouse clicks to either open up to an additional page or refuses to
close the one I’m currently on. I have to open the task manager to stop the
process and sometimes there are four or five instances of IE open and running.
It’s like they don’t close when I hit the close X for those pages, and they
just keep running in the background until they can’t find anymore process space
to run with, and I have to manually close them down because they won’t close
down on their own. I haven’t changed any settings in my internet options and I
use Microsoft Security Essentials and CCleaner religiously so I’m dumbfounded
as to what is causing such a thing and what setting may remedy this multiple
instance problem.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #76
, I look at a machine that is slowing dramatically when
running several instances of Internet Explorer.


Multiple instances of IE

Well, for one thing, I think we need to clarify that this might not be a multiple instance problem.

When Internet Explorer was either version 8 or version 9 (I’m not sure), it actually began to run multiple instances even if you’re only looking at a single page. So, the fact that there may be multiple instances of Internet Explorer in task manager doesn’t really directly implicate that it’s not closing down when you’re hitting the X; when you’re trying to close a specific page.

I’m going to assume by “page,” you actually mean tab – so that you’re opening new tabs within Internet Explorer.

Low on memory

The only thing that really comes to mind, specific to the situation, might be that it’s simply running out of memory.

The thing to look at is how much else is running on your machine at the time. How much memory is Internet Explorer using? How does that compare to the amount of RAM that’s installed on your machine and the amount of RAM that’s being used by all of the other programs running on your machine at that same time?

It is possible that this is simply caused by Internet Explorer not having enough memory to do the job that you’re asking it to do; to open up all the different tabs that you’re asking it to open up.

If that’s the case, the solution is: a) stop running as much software at the same time. Or, if your machine supports it, consider upgrading your RAM. Upgrading your RAM is almost always a good thing any way. It’s the one thing that, right now, is relatively inexpensive and almost all versions of Windows respond to it really, really well. They use additional RAM very efficiently.

If your machine is struggling because of RAM, adding additional RAM can make a dramatic impact on overall performance – not just the performance of a single program.

Disable browser add-ons

The only other thing that comes to mind (and that’s one of the more generic answers that I use for Internet Explorer problems in general) is add-ons.

The one thing that I would have you do is to disable all of the add-ons in Internet Explorer. There’s an article on how to do that. Then see if the problem recurs.

It is possible that it’s not necessarily Internet Explorer’s fault. It could be that it’s one of the add-ons that you have running in Internet Explorer. It could be a toolbar, it could be a search engine. I don’t know; there’s so many different things that can be added in the form of add-ons to Internet Explorer.

All of the problems get reported as if they’re Internet Explorer because that’s what shows up in task manager. That’s what shows up in error reports and so forth. But in fact, it’s possible that it could be due to an add-on.

So disable all the add-ons. See if that doesn’t improve the experience.

If it does, then carefully start re-enabling add-ons one at a time. Let it run for a while and see if, in fact, you can identify which specific add-on is causing the problem.

Process Explorer

If disabling the add-ons doesn’t solve the problem, then my gut tells me it’s a RAM problem. Take a look at the running processes on your system. Grab a copy of Process Explorer. I’ve got an article on that on the site as well.

Process Explorer will probably give you a bit more detailed information than Task Manager would about exactly what all the different programs are doing, how much memory they’re using, and perhaps that’s what you’re running into.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

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5 comments on “Are multiple instances of IE causing it to slow down dramatically?”

  1. whenever i click on IE in my taskbar i get a blank page and the little ring with the white dot going around it for 3 or 4 minutes. when its done i try to click on something else and its the same thing for 3 or 4 minutes. every click. what would cause that? i have an SR1250NX presario/windows 7 ultimate.

  2. I get that a lot when I leave everything running overnight. Not taking a memory hit, but ie just slows way down until I close my igoogle page. Sometimes I have to close ie and start it up again. I have all the symptoms mentioned in the original post. I can have 20 or more tabs going without a problem, but leave it going overnight, and it becomes worse than a dog. I guess I will start turning off a few of my addons and see if that fixes anything, but some of those addons are needed.

  3. I don’t know what iGoogle is, but I noticed that both the OP and Dan both mentioned the same problem with IE and both mentioned they use iGoogle.

    Could it be that iGoogle is at fault here?

  4. I get the same no response IE9. Even when I use the 64 bit version also.64 bit version does most of the internet right, but sometimes some websites don’t show up right. Also try IE9 64 bit for awhile & also see what happens. I don’t use process explorer, there’s better software that does that & oh so much more & it’s free, System Explorer v4.0.0.5025, current version as of 12.8.12. probally your best bet is to run IE9 w no add ons & re-enable 1 at a time after trying each 1 for at least 2 days. When my IE9 becomes unresponsive it seems to think 4 a long time & bam, comes right up in in another tab or sometimes in a new window after a minute, even when I try to close it , it takes a minute or so & I have it set to open a new tab always. Memory I’m guessing isn’t my problem as I have a Quad core 2.0 Ghz, w turbo up to 2.9 Ghz plus 8 gigs & if thats not enough, I don’t know what is. It’s more like the computer can’t figure out what it’s supposed to do & looks around till it finishes whatever process is slowing it to a crawl, but I dont see any process causing 99% cpu’s usage. some times I think it’s my internet lagging big time till it catches up. when that happens I just reboot or refresh the IP addy thru my AT & T router, & that seems to help. All connections Я wirelessly bound.Hope this helps someone eventually down the road as it bugs the Matrix out of me

    You might give the suggestion in this article a try: How do I get Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) to work – at all?


  5. I avoid IE9 like the plague. I use Firefox, often with over a dozen tabs open at the same time, with no ill-effects. Infrequently, FF will hang on me and I have to restart it, but it’s rare. I find that FF uses less memory resources than IE9.


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