Thanks for the reply and suggestion. Yes, it was from a recent Microsoft update, and uninstalling it solved the problem. CCleaner cleans IE History quickly without Windows Search installed. The "hang" reoccurs after reinstalling Windows Search.
I hate to give it up because it is so quick, thorough, and a huge improvement over the standard search engine in XP. I wonder if it is just something peculiar with my machine since I cannot find any other references to the issue in the forum. I normally use Firefox, so I may just uncheck the IE History box in CCleaner so I can keep Windows Search installed.