If you’re searching for a fix for this, you might want to look elsewhere. I do mention things that have apparently helped others with the same issue, but in the end I had to give up! (I’m categorizing this post as a “Fix”, I don’t have a “Failures” category!)
A client’s computer, running Windows 7 (64 bit) and IE 11 (64 bit) seemed generally ok, if a bit slow (like the vast majority of older PCs), except we couldn’t get IE to open. It would try to get going, the busy cursor would appear, then nothing. Looking at processes in Task Manager, it would appear in the list then disappear from it again a few seconds later.
This is quite a common problem. Microsoft themselves offer suggestions for this scenario to be tried in sequence: restart, install the latest updates, and switch IE off and back on (in Windows features). Of course I tried these, to no avail. Another obvious option was to restore all of IE’s default settings (think I tried that first in fact—yes, I should keep better notes).
I also (of course) did a thorough anti-malware scrub, utilizing Combofix, AdwCleaner, Junkware Removal Tool and Malwarebytes Antimalware. No joy. Well, quite a bit of ad/malware found, but the original problem remained.
What else did I try? Ah yes, the system file checker (command prompt: sfc /scannow). No issues found. And I ran Ccleaner on the registry.
As a supposedly last resort, that I admit assuming would fix it if at a cost, I downgraded IE, by switching it off (as above) then uninstalling the Windows Update that it came in with and restarting (most of the previous attempts also involved at least one restart), after which IE 10 reappeared. But it behaved exactly like IE 11! (If it had worked I’d have needed to hide that update so Windows wouldn’t automatically re-upgrade IE to 11.)
At that point I gave up. By which I mean, I rang the client to ask whether he particularly needed IE for anything, or could switch to a different browser. He was OK to switch, and Chrome was already installed, so I made that the default and Bob’s your uncle. In effect. Of course, not having actually fixed the issue I couldn’t in all conscience charge the normal rate but the client is quite happy and the machine is not only off my hands but much cleaner than it started so that’s alright. Ish. Some jobs are like that.