Scott Hanselman recently blogged about how Internet Explorer was spontaneously disappearing on him. Coincidentally in the past week or so, I recently had the same problem start to happen. Windows Explorer just started to disappear for 5-10 seconds and then reappear. This would happen a few times per day. I was guessing that it wasn’t spyware or malware because I’m careful about what I install on my box and I also run as a non-admin. So the chances of infection are slim.

So I fired up Autoruns and took a look. Given Scott’s suspicions above about something inproc with IE, I decided to start there. Rather than adopting a scorched earth policy, I decided to start disabling the browser helper objects. COmeaHelper Object for Omea Reader (by JetBrains) – guessing those guys know what they’re doing. Leave it alone. IeCaptureBho for Google Desktop Search – guessing those guys know what they’re doing too. TamperIE by Bayden Systems – cool program, but probably less well-tested than the other two. Let’s try disabling that one. Guess what? Explorer hasn’t disappeared on me for days.

Thanks, Scott, for pointing me in the right direction. I would also concur with Scott that [Windows|Internet] Explorer both run more stably when you’re not running other crap in their memory space. The same is true for Windows. From what I’ve read, most blue screens are not caused by crappy Microsoft software, but by misbehaved drivers trashing the kernel memory space. Windows made a huge leap forward in stability when they required drivers to be verified and signed. (By “required” I mean that the user doesn’t get an annoying pop-up box noting that the driver hasn’t been verified.)