What Is Iexplore.exe?

By Paul Higgins

Find out whether iexplore.exe is safe and learn how to reduce this program's impact on your computer's resources.

Iexplore.exe is Internet Explorer's main executable file and, as such, is perfectly safe. However, if you noticed that iexplore.exe is using up a lot of your computer's resources, you can reduce Internet Explorer's memory usage by following a few recommendations.

The Iexplore.exe Executable

Iexplore.exe is the executable file that handles Microsoft Internet Explorer's core functions and is located in either of the following directories:

  • 64-bit version of Windows 7 or 8: C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe
  • 32-bit version of Windows 7 or 8  C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe


If you find a file named iexplore.exe in a different directory than the default Internet Explorer one, it may be a malicious file masquerading as a legitimate executable. Scan the file immediately using a reputable anti-virus program.

Reduce Internet Explorer's Memory and CPU Usage

Close Unneeded Tabs

Each tab you open in Internet Explorer creates a new iexplore.exe process which requires memory to manage. Reduce the load on your RAM by closing unneeded background tabs.

Windows Task Manager lists the number of currently running iexplore.exe processes.

Disable Add-ons

Poorly-coded or complex add-ons can bring your system to a crawl every time you launch Internet Explorer. Check whether add-ons are responsible for slowing down your computer by launching Internet Explorer without add-ons. To do so, open your Start Screen or Start Menu and type Internet Explorer in the search box. Select Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) from the results list.

If your computer is running smoothly using Internet Explorer add-on free, close the Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) window and launch a normal instance of the browser with all add-ons enabled. Disable add-ons one by one from the Manage Add-ons window until you find the one responsible for slowing down your system.

Step 1

Click the cog icon and select Manage Add-ons.

Internet Explorer cog menu.

Step 2

Click Toolbars and Extensions in the sidebar, select the add-on you want to disable and click the Disable button.

Manage Add-ons window.

Switch to an Alternate Browser

In a Softonic benchmark from 2014 that pitted the Microsoft browser against three other popular browsers, Internet Explorer finished last in terms of boot time, RAM usage and page load time. If despite disabling add-ons and keeping the number of opened tabs in check, you still experience performance issues while using Internet Explorer, consider switching to Chrome, Firefox or Opera.


Switching to a different browser does not mean that you have to rebuild your bookmarks list from scratch. Most browsers include an import tool that lets you transfer your Internet Explorer bookmarks to your new browser.

If your computer is slow due to Internet Explorer using too much of its RAM, reduce the browser's drain on your resources by closing unneeded tabs, disabling add-ons or switching to an alternate browser.