I believe I may have solved my problem. Not only was IE7 crashing all time, but anytime I opened — and then closed any folder in windows, explorer.exe also crashed. After much googling around I came across this thread and this one. First I tried EasyCleaner, which didn’t do it, but I think it did speed up my computer a bit. Then I tried ShellExView which magically solved all my problems.
Y’know what the problem was? Some IE7 addon I installed for mouse gestures. I can’t seem to find the addon anymore on the ie7 addon site, so maybe it got taken down. Here’s how I tracked down the problem:
1. In ShellExView, I sorted the extensions by company name and disabled all NON-microsoft ones, figuring it was a third party one that was causing the problem. This was in fact the case, because when I then tried to open and close “my computer” it did not crash (it had been crashing EVERY single time I did that before.)
2. I then enabled blocks of about 10 or 20 extensions at a time and tried to open and close “my computer.” When explorer crashed (and then restarted itself) I knew the problem was caused by one of the extensions in that block.
3. I then narrowed it down to only one possible extension and disabled that.
Everything is now both hunky and dory!
BTW: I also installed BigFix which kinda just sits in my tray and is supposed to check for problems BEFORE they turn into problems.