x = Thread.new { system("c:/program files/internet explorer/iexplore.exe") }
x.alive # Works

why doesnt x.kill actually "kill" internet explorer? When I think of
kill, I think of "gone" as in *nix gone.

Yet in Windows, I get:
irb(main):004:0> x.kill
=> #<Thread:0x2cfd680 dead>
irb(main):005:0>

---and IE remains.

x = IO.popen("c:/program files/internet explorer/iexplore.exe")
x.close

--Just hangs until IE is manually closed.

From a to z, how can this be done?

If another module is needed, can it be installed via gems? Thanks guys.