Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

I don't have a specific solution for this memory problem, but I will describe a couple of different things that may be contributing.

One of the programs on my PC says, once in awhile, that IE8 is using way too much memory even when I just open it up - really. I thought that I may be running a duplicate IE8 at the same time and more often, it says that it has lost a connection with the site and will try to recover the tab. It sort of flickers and doesn't really get it back. In both cases, I can only close the IE8 with Task Manager and start over. When I shut my PC down and all my programs are already closed, the PC has a Task Manager windows pop up two times like there is still something running. Thus, my idea of duplicate IE8s running.

In this excerpt from Answercast #59, I look at problems with Internet Explorer and some possible alternatives.

Memory overload

So I don't have a specific solution for this problem, but I will want to describe a couple of different things that may at least be contributing.

One is that when you look in Task Manager, it is now not uncommon to see many copies of IE 8 running. That's normal. That's OK.

Internet Explorer tabs

What they've done with IE 8 (I think they started this with IE 8, and I know that it's true for IE 8 and IE 9; I don't know about 7) is that when you open a new tab, it actually shows up as a new process. In other words, if you have two tabs open, there will be at least two instances of Internet Explorer in the Task Manager.

There may be more. They actually do spawn off different things to run kind of, sort of in the background.

So, what I'm trying to get at here of course is that even though you may see only one Internet Explorer version 8 on your computer, it may in fact be multiple processes running to create that one visible program. So don't let multiple processes concern you necessarily. Those are normal.

Disable add-ons

Now, one of the first things I always recommend when you're running into problems with Internet Explorer and having what sounds like fairly flaky behavior on its part is to disable all the add-ins in IE 8.

Add-ins are one of the ways that other software (software other than from Microsoft) can get added to Internet Explorer. They provide toolbars; they provide various types of functionality that you may (or in many cases, may not) even need.

One of the very first things I suggest then is to just go ahead and disable all of the add-ins in Internet Explorer. I've got an article on that that will step you through doing exactly that.

Once you've disabled them and things suddenly get more stable, then you'll know it's one of those add-ins that's causing the problem. You can then re-enable them one at a time to see which one causes the problem to reappear.

Keep IE up-to-date

Along those same lines... I don't know what operating system you're working; if you're working Windows 7, I'd strongly suggest you upgrade to Internet Explorer 9. It does include various stability fixes and so forth that are worth getting.

If you're running Windows XP,... well, you're kinda stuck with IE 8. Make sure that it's up to date.

Virus and malware check

Make sure that your system is free of malware.

Malware definitely likes to attach itself to Internet Explorer, to your web browser, in order to interfere with your browsing experience.

Browser variety

Another option that I always throw out is you don't have to use Internet Explorer.

Go out and try a browser like Firefox or Chrome. They're both good, solid browsers that will get you 99.99% of the same sites that Internet Explorer would. They are typically good alternatives to have on hand when Internet Explorer isn't working for you for some reason.

So hopefully, some of those ideas are helpful and will get you working.

Article C5891 - October 6, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
Steven
October 10, 2012 1:15 AM

Don't forget that IE8 has an automatic crash recovery routine that can be disabled in Internet Options (it's turned on by default).

If your browsing is abnormally or suddenly terminated IE will come back with the programs which where running at the time it quit, sometimes asking you if you'd like to continue your previously running session.

If one or more of those programs or processes were messing up things and you don't know who or which or even why, it would probably be best NOT to resume. If you open the SECOND Favorites (with the star that also allows a Favorite Sites option) then you can choose to open the sites or local things in My Computer individually and perhaps find the one that through you for a loop.

Don't be afraid to use HOME if you cannot break out easily. One you have a blank page (one reason I don't recommend using a URL instead of about:blank) you can gain control of the window and close it.

As for memory? I suspect you are referring perhaps to AVG antivirus products that tell you that you are using too much memory in some program. If you have say, 1 gigabyte of RAM and it tells you that you have had a peak of 100-250 megabytes of RAM or whatever in use and says you ought to close the browser and reopen...

In my opinion, that's HORSEHOCKEY. You can turn those notifications off in your program's menu.

Simply ignore them unless the spikes are causing mayhem and then you can call up the system monitor to shut them down, most of the time.

Note that closing one bad IE window often closes down ALL IE windows. That act alone can cause the recovery routine to open. Best that you uncheck that option and go back manually, in my opinion. Opening all those windows automatically will tend to bring back the problem instantly without a chance to solve the problem.

In the end, a well-meaning idea with unforeseen impracticality, so avoid it.

Note that you will have to close all IE windows and restart IE for this and other setting to take effect.

Also try to limit the number of open windows running at the same time. You can set your computer to run inactive windows in the background if you wish and this might leave more free memory available by having fewer processes calling on the processor and RAM.

daniel
October 10, 2012 12:15 PM

The best solution is get rid of the various tripe AVG installs. I do a lot of volunteer support at one of the Firefox sites and this happens all the time. AVG will issue that warning well before there is any memory issue at all.

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