take a read, this WILL help you, almost guaranteed & help you understand how that process works as well:
I bet I know ONE set of things that makes it "balloon up" in memory... & that's using SHELL EXTENSIONS (otherwise known as "Explorer-Addons" on many a download site).
Many (most) are done as DLL's called by GUID thru the registry & give you added rightclick abilities (like how WinZip integrates for example).
Those DLL's are loaded as "IN PROCESS" dll's meaning they run in the same memory space as Explorer.exe does... so when you have more of those (and I have a TON here)?
You balloon explorer's memory use... I'd bank on that! So...How can I make such a statement?
24mb in RAM here on the Explorer.exe process...
See, I have EASILY 50 or more of them integrated here in the way of Explorer addons, & I know pretty much how those are loaded as in-process DLL addons as well from a programmer's perspective. Explorer calls on those & loads them like you'd put on a jacket to deal with cold weather more or less, added function extending your regular set of clothes.
(Less of them you use, the lower your memory footprint for Explorer will be... but, is it worth losing the extra abilities & power you get from them? NOT for me it's not...I like having them around!)
Something that MIGHT help those that wish to keep them online, but lessen their use of RAM at ALL times & being loaded from bootup to shutdown continuously consuming RAM?
The "Always Unload DLL" registry tweak...
Set it to true/1 & I'd wager as you use said DLL addons, & unload them, the footprint will vary upon their use growing while being used, lessening upon unload. This slows them down some, having to load them each time they are used & unloading them vs. always having them loaded!
* HOW TO DO IT STEP-BY-STEP:
Open Regedit then go to:
Right-click in the right-hand window and create a new "value DWORD" with the
name of: AlwaysUnloadDll , and give it the value of: 1.
This change does not apply to older 16 bit DLLs. Some programs may give an
invalid page fault message, or crash the system.
To turn it off: delete the AlwaysUnloadDll entry.
Hope this will help you.