If you do a Google search you will find numerous complaints of multiple instances of iexplore.exe running in Task Manager. This could problem could be malware or non-malware related. There are worms like W32/Lovgate-AD that will cause the same problem you are experiencing. In addition to other files it drops iexplore.exe in C:\Windows\system32. One of the ways that malware tries to hide is to give itself the same name as a critical system file like iexplore.exe. However, it then places itself in a different location on your computer. The legit iexplore.exe is located in the C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer folder. Also make sure of the spelling
. If it is iexplorer.exe
, then this a malware
For others the problem was related to the Yahoo toolbar and uninstalling it was the correct solution. Prior to doing this all anti-virus and anti-malware scans found nothing suspicious.
Another possible cause has been traced to instant email notification settings at various board forums. A new instance of iexplore.exe was created each time the user opened an email, clicked a link and visted a forum. They were also using Spyware Doctor and the problem only occurred if that program was actively running in the background. When Spyware Doctor was disabled, the problem did not occur.