Internet Explorer 2
Initial releaseNovember 27, 1995; 28 years ago (1995-11-27)
Stable release
Windows: 2.01 / August 1996; 27 years ago (1996-08)
Mac OS: 2.1 / August 1996; 27 years ago (1996-08)
Operating system
Platformx86 (16- and 32-bit), 68k, PowerPC, MIPS, Alpha AXP
Included withWindows 95 OSR1 and Windows NT 4.0
PredecessorInternet Explorer 1.0 (1995)
Internet Explorer 1.5 (1996)
SuccessorInternet Explorer 3 (1996)
Available in24 languages[1]
TypeWeb browser
LicenseFreeware Edit this on Wikidata

Microsoft Internet Explorer 2 (IE2) is the second, and by now discontinued, version of Internet Explorer (IE), a graphical web browser by Microsoft. It was unveiled in October 1995, and was released on November 27, 1995, for Windows 95 and Windows NT, and on April 23, 1996, for Apple Macintosh[2] and Windows 3.1.[1]

Version 2 launched with 12 languages, including English, but this would expand to 24 for Windows 95, 20 for Windows 3.1, and 9 for the Macintosh by April 1996.[1] It lacked many features that became common in later IE versions, including the blue 'e' logo, integration with Windows Explorer, and bundled programs.[2] Its market share was also much lower than later versions. During its tenure, IE market share only went up to about roughly 3-9% by mid 1996, before Internet Explorer 3 was released.[3][4]

This is the last version of Internet Explorer to support Windows NT 3.1; as the following version, Internet Explorer 3, only supports Windows NT 3.5.

Internet Explorer 2 is no longer supported, and is not available for download from Microsoft.


IE replicated many of the quirks of Netscape Navigator, and allowed importing bookmarks from it.[5] In May 1996, FTP Software announced it was providing Microsoft with various technology for Internet Explorer 2.0 for Windows 3.1, including a PPP network, 16-bit email client, and other technology.[6]


Internet Explorer version 2 was released in beta in October 1995, only 2 months after version 1 came out in Microsoft Plus! for 95 that August. It was released for Windows 95 and Windows NT 3.1 in November 1995 and was bundled with NT 4.0 in July 1996. The Beta for Mac on PowerPC came out in January, and the finalized version in April for 68k and PowerPC. Version 2 was also the first release for Windows 3.1 and Macintosh System 7.0.1(PPC or 68k), although the Mac version was not released until January 1996 for PPC, and April for 68k.[2] Version 2 was included in Windows 95 OEM Service Release (OSR 1) and Microsoft's Internet Starter Kit for Windows 95 in early 1996.[1] It launched with twelve languages, including English, but this expanded to 24, 20, and 9 for Win 95, Win 3.1 and Mac respectively by April 1996.[1] The 2.0i version supported double-byte character-sets for supporting Chinese, Japanese or Korean characters in web pages.[1] Version 2.1 for the Mac came out in August 1996,[5] the same month version 2 for Windows was superseded by Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.[7] There were 16-bit and 32-bit versions depending on the OS.

Mac version

The Mac version, especially version 2.1, was praised for being economic with resources and for new features.[5] Internet Explorer supported the embedding of a number of multimedia formats into web pages, including AVI and QuickTime formatted video and AIFF, MIDI and WAV formatted audio.[5] The non-beta final version was released three months later on April 23, 1996.[citation needed] Version 2.1 fixed bugs and improving stability, but also added a few features such as support for the NPAPI (the first version of Internet Explorer on any platform to do so) and support for QuickTime VR.[5] AOL 3.0 for Macintosh used the IE 2.1 rendering engine in its built-in web browser. The various 16 and 32 bit versions largely depended on the OS although Windows NT would use the 16 bit versions for Windows 3.1.

Netscape has enjoyed a virtual monopoly of the browser market (about 90% according to some estimates), and this has allowed it to consolidate its position still further by introducing unofficial or 'extended' HTML tags. As a result, the Web is littered with pages that only work effectively if viewed in Navigator. By the time other browsers catch up, Netscape has made even more additions.

— Jack Weber, MacUser (1996)[5]


IE2 introduced new or improved features for its time period. Many soon became ubiquitous (such as cookies) while others such as the integrated email client were removed in later versions due to being out of scope and better covered by dedicated software like Outlook.[8][9] The features are:


Windows versions
Version Release date Significant changes Shipped with
2.0 Beta October 1995 Support of HTML tables and other elements
2.0 November 27, 1995 SSL, cookies, VRML, and Internet newsgroups. Windows 95 OSR1
Windows NT 4.0
Internet Starter Kit[1]
2.01 August 1996[11] Bug fix release. Last version for Windows NT 3.1.
Mac versions
Version Release date Significant changes
2.0 Beta January 23, 1996 Beta for PPC only
2.0 April 23, 1996 PPC and 68k Supported
2.1 August 1996 Bug fixes; NPAPI support[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Microsoft Internet Explorer Web Browser Available on All Major Platforms, Offers Broadest International Support" (Press release). Microsoft. 30 April 1996. Archived from the original on 15 January 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Polsson, Ken (29 January 2017). "Chronology of Personal Computers".
  3. ^ Thompson, Maryann Jones (8 October 1998). "Behind the numbers: Browser market share". CNN. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010.
  4. ^ Kubaitis, Ed. "Browser Statistics for June 1996". University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Archived from the original on May 7, 2001.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Weber, Jack (September 1996). "Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.1" (12 18). MacUser. Archived from the original on December 10, 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2011. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "FTP Software to provide key technology for Microsoft's Internet Explorer Version 2.0 for Windows 3.1". Business Wire. 1 May 1996. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Microsoft Launches Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 With Exclusive, Free Content Offers From Top Web Sites". Stories. 1996-08-13. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Windows History". Microsoft. 30 June 2003. Archived from the original on 21 February 2011.
  9. ^ a b c Hardmeier, Sandi (25 August 2005). "The History of Internet Explorer". Microsoft. Archived from the original on October 1, 2005.
  10. ^ Wilson, Brian. "Internet Explorer (Windows)". Index DOT Html/Css. Retrieved August 27, 2023.
  11. ^ "Windows 3.x Internet Setup" Archived 2015-03-18 at the Wayback Machine, "NCKCN" Archived 2012-08-17 at the Wayback Machine, 19 August 1996
Preceded byInternet Explorer 1 Internet Explorer 2 1995 Succeeded byInternet Explorer 3