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Prevent a Browser Helper Object (BHO) from loading with Explorer.exe instances

Published: November 01, 2004
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Introduction

Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) are in-process Component Object Model (COM) components—that Internet Explorer will load each time it starts up. Such objects run in the same memory context as the browser and can perform any action on the available windows and modules. BHOs are triggered for each Internet Explorer and Explorer processes (iexplore.exe and explorer.exe processes). This means that BHOs are loaded each time when you open a folder window or Control Panel. Usually, there is no need to load all the BHOs for folder windows or while opening Control Panel. In such case, you can prevent a BHO from loading with Explorer.exe process.

Though I've not benchmarked the results (Resources occupied by Explorer.exe with BHO loaded, and without a BHO loaded), I believe it should improve the performance, (theoretically speaking).

Open Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Browser Helper Objects

You'll see some sub-keys in GUID format, depending upon the number of BHOs installed in your system. Say, if you want to disable EERedirect.Handler BHO (which I use only for Internet Explorer) from loading with Explorer.exe process, select the appropriate GUID. In the right-pane, add a new REG_DWORD named NoExplorer and set it's value to 1

Example: EERedirect Handler's GUID is {F02B00B3-A88C-4EF1-98FE-557F1DAF6E4D}.

Add the NoExplorer REG_DWORD in the right-pane of this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Browser Helper Objects\ {F02B00B3-A88C-4EF1-98FE-557F1DAF6E4D}

Now, EERedirect.Handler BHO will not load when you open a folder, or Control Panel window, but loads with IExplorer.exe instances.

You can easily verify the results using a Process monitoring tool such as Process Explorer (from sysinternals.com).

Related resources

Browser Helper Objects:The Browser the Way You Want It

Disable or delete a BHO using ToolbarCop

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