Hi everyone!

Here’s an interesting bit of information for those tech geeks out there revolving around some of the changes in IE8 and loosely-coupled IE.

Due to the changes in LCIE for IE8, it can be very challenging to determine which IE tabs belong to which Iexplore.exe process.  If you are using Vista (or later), Task Manager has two column view options you can enable to help determine this:

  • Command Line which will display the folder location of the process being loaded along with any parameters
  • PID (Process Identifier) which will display the process number associated with the loaded process

With these two column view options enabled, you can see some pretty interesting stuff about IE8:

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So, I loaded IE8 with a home page.  However, from within the Task Manager UI, I can see two Iexplore.exe processes (32bit).  If you’ve read up on LCIE, then you’ve probably got a leg up on most folks on why, but let’s go over it.  The lower Iexplore.exe process is the first process (initial frame process) that gets loaded when the IE icon is clicked on the desktop.  The top Iexplore.exe process (tab process) is loaded next because this loads the web site that I have setup as my home page.  Now, I will open a second tab to see what shows up within the Task Manager UI:

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Ok, so now I have three Iexplore.exe processes open and all I did was open a new tab with no web site even loaded within that tab.  If you look at the image closely, you will see some associations – most notably the number 2688.  Actually, you see it in three different locations:

  1. The first Iexplore.exe frame process with a process ID of 2688
  2. The first tab process that loaded my home page, SCODEF:2688 CREDAT:71937
  3. The second tab process that I opened which has no web site loaded, SCODEF:2688 CREDAT:6402

So the process ID is the link that tells us which IE tabs go to which IE process.  In short, The SCODEF parameter for each tab refers to the PID of its frame process so PID 872 and 5440 are child IE tab processes of the PID 2688 IE frame process.  Pretty cool!

So let’s say you actually need to know which IE tab within the UI matches up to which process you see within Task Manager.  How would you accomplish this?  Unfortunately, it’s not as straight forward.  You’ll need to use another tool that can give you some specific information about each individual IE tab so that you can associate the IE tab process to the IE tab you are looking at within the IE User Interface of IE8.  The tool I used is called Process Explorer.  This tool has the option to click on a window and gather some useful information from it using this option:

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If you click on the option (radar icon) highlighted in red and then drag it over on the IE Tab you are interested in, then Process Explorer will associate the IE Tab you see with the IE Tab that is listed within the Process list within Process Explorer:

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Note: You will need to drag and drop the radar icon on the area of the tab highlighted in red to get the correctly associated IE tab:

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Well, that’s about it.  Hope this information was interesting and helpful for you…

Regards,

The IE Support Team