Multiple IE Versions – IE 1 to 5

Do you need to install multiple versions of IE (Internet Explorer) on one PC for testing your web sites? This guide written by Pedt (who, at the time of writing this, had 51 browsers installed on his machine) in the freeserve.webspace.authoring newsgroup tells you how.

(Older versions of IE (and many other browsers) can be downloaded from

There is a way round it but not one I’d recommend for the busy and/or faint-hearted.

Assuming we start with IE3 (lets face it 1+2 were as much use as a fart in a spacesuit), then the recipe (which comes with all disclaimers – it is how I got IE1+ working here but comes with *no* guarantee it’ll work on your particular setup) is [assuming you are starting from a Win9x scenario – adjust as required if upgrading from Win 3.xx or DOS 5+]:

“Assorted IE in sixteen and thirty two bit flavours with a Win9x base”


  • IE1.x 16 bit (optional)
  • IE2.x 16 bit (optional)
  • IE3.x 16 bit [note: was on CSi V3 CD’s]
  • IE4.x 32 bit
  • IE5.x 32 bit
  • Win 3.x
  • Win 95/98 upgrade from Win 3.x [Note: must have IE3 or 4 *NOT* 5]
  • DOS 5+
  • Disk Partitioning Software (optional)


(Note all instructions marked (optional) are only needed if installing IE1 or IE2.)

  1. Back up all your data and (perhaps) program installers plus, if you have multiple partitions on a drive then *all the data above the primary bootable partition where Win 9x+ lives. Preferably twice or more onto different media and compare the data to help ensure you *can* get it back.
  2. Print out autoexec.* and config.* files for reference.
  3. Create a boot disk or three on floppy with drivers (eg CD-ROM) as needed.
  4. (optional) If you want to install IE1 and IE2 then use your disk partitioning software. Create separate drives for as many of the IE optional variations. YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO THIS IF YOU ARE INSTALLING ONLY IE3+). Format logical drives. You may be able to do this before deleting Win 9x if you have such as Partition Magic or you may have to do this as step 5a.
  5. Format bootable primary partition that Win9x resides on.
  6. (optional) See 4.
  7. Install DOS 5+
  8. Install Win 3.x
  9. (optional) If installing IE1 and IE2 then for each do the following (and start from ending partition if installing both) [a] install to its own partition, [b] backup that partition, [c] delete partition. DO NOT RESTORE PARTITIONS AFTER INSTALLING.
  10. Install IE3. You MUST NOT install into default directory if standalone IE3 installation – try something like C:\cserve\ie3 Now mark those directories and files as ReadOnly and Hidden. Run IE3 and set home page to a local one.
  11. (optional) Restore partitions containing IE1 and/or 2. Run IE1 and/or 2 and set home page to a local one.
  12. Install Win3.x to Win9x upgrade. If offered option to install IE3 32bit on Win95 original then it is OK to take it *IF* you use the default installation directory.
  13. If Win3.x to Win9x upgrade did not install IE4 then install IE4.
  15. Re-install all your Win9x programs [if programs are on other partitions then some will work if you recreate shortcuts, most require to be reinstalled, *ALL* will need reinstalling if you deleted the lot.
  16. Return all directories and files in IE3 16bit directory to Archive only.

Success. You now have (IE1) (IE2) IE3 IE4 and IE5 available. Note that IE1-3 will not be able to connect to the Internet as some essential .ini files have been modified but they can be used offline – ignore any of the warning messages thrown up by IE1-3 on startup. Also note that IE1-3 do not understand long file names so all files and directories for offline use must be in 8.3 notation (this latter incidentally also applies to any 16bit versions of NN or other browser installed).

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