Story of a Pitched Battle With a Massive IE/Flash Memory Leak

This is a short(ish) story of an epic battle between a team of web application developers and IE 7. We were developing a pretty large IE-only application that used a few Flex-based components to provide data visualization capabilities. We were making good progress until well into the testing cycle, when one of the testers came back with a report of IE crashing on a regular basis while using the Flex components. Uh-oh.

I took a closer look at the issue and initially was not able to replicate the issue. The tester sent me some screenshots showing more details of the crash, including a screenshot showing memory usage. System memory was high, but not outrageous. Still, I suspected a memory leak.