Closing an IE 8 TAB does not immediately close the spawned iexplore.exe process

Hi everyone!

Just a quick blog about another feature of Loosely Coupled IE (LCIE)…

When using IE8, you may notice that a tab process does not exit right away when you close the Tab window or when IE navigates away from it (due to changing Mandatory Integrity Control (MIC) levels, for example). For performance reasons, an unused tab will live for 60 seconds before shutting down.  There is, however, a registry key available to control how the unused tab process will wait before it is destroyed.

Registry key details: 

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main - TabShutdownDelay

Setting this DWORD value key to 0 will force the tab process to be destroyed as soon as IE navigates away from it. The value is in milliseconds.  Keep in mind that if you want 60 seconds, you need to put in 60000 as a decimal value, not a hex unless you do the math first.

Note: If all of IE windows are closed then all the iexplore.exe processes will exit immediately.




The IE Support Team

Comments (12)

  1. SamYeager says:

    "Note: If all of IE windows are closed then all the iexplore.exe processes will exit immediately."

    This does NOT happen with IE8 RC on Win XP SP3! The processes hang around gradually reducing their memory usage until finally exiting about a minute or so later.

  2. Geoge Brown says:

    Could you explain briefly what the performance reasons are behind this behaviour?

  3. Fine, but please put detail steps to change this value.

  4. paul says:

    i have looked for this value in the registry and it does not exist please advise how to create this key my self

  5. Ray says:

    I didn’t have this variable in my registry either.  I went ahead and added it with a value of zero.  This solved my problem.  HTH

  6. officerjohns says:

    My Windows Vista IE8 no longer closes on its own. I have to use CTL ALT DEL just to get out of a window. Wats up wid dat?

  7. Dudeman says:

    Why don’t you just use firefox?

  8. Bsharpe says:

    OK, I had those process hanging around forever. It would not end even after 60 seconds unless I used CTRL+ALT+DEL > End Process. Was affecting both Windows XP and 7 Ult. I Created a new profile on Windows XP machine and issue no longer happens. Sadly the Windows 7 Ult machine is not on the same network and doesn't use profiles. Would suggest creating a new profile on your machine and transferring everything over to the new one. Else use Firefox. Full system Scan, No Viruses/bugs of any sort. SFC /Scannow did not resolve issue. Reinstall of IE8 did not resolve issue.

  9. Doug Lake says:

    There was a uncategorized program installed in the add ons that I elimanated that took care of that problem.  It was a progam called

    Name          D

    Publisher     (Not verified) Microsoft Corporation

    Status        Disabled

    File date     Saturday, March 06, 2010, 6:58 PM


    Load time     (0.15 s)

    I Disabled it and still can't figure out how to remove it from my system. But, It did eliminate the multiple processess.

  10. Big RD says:

    This works in XP SP 2 and SP 3, it is surprising this real fix is so hard to find. It would be nice if they descirbed what they mean by DWORD, becouse once you create the registry you can create a DWORD value, but that value has a 'name' and value setting, so what should they be?

  11. dhruv says:

    someone in my pc destoying the iexplore.exe

    so all time i had to install it

    if anyone has solution to this problem..?

  12. AxelRMSFT says:


    Consider updating to the latest IE version.

    You can scanned your machine for virus:…/default.aspx

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