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Developer(s)Stilesoft inc.
Stable release
7.5.4 / February 18, 2005; 17 years ago (2005-02-18)
Operating systemWindows
TypeWeb browser
WebsiteArchived 2010-04-03 at the Wayback Machine

NetCaptor was an Internet Explorer shell that was in development from 1997 to 2005. It used the Trident layout engine of Internet Explorer in conjunction with additional programmed features to create an alternate browsing experience with a tab-based interface and an expanded feature set. It was an adware/shareware program, but its developer released a registration key for free public use once development ceased.


The main features are, as of the last released version, 7.5.4:

After development stopped, one of NetCaptor's most valued features—a side bar and panel that listed search results—also ceased to function. Most other features continue to work. Its later releases were not Trident-based Internet Explorer shells but resembled Internet Explorer 6 in many ways, except for the tabbed browsing feature. Many people[who?] ceased to use "bare" Internet Explorer in favor of NetCaptor because Internet Explorer 6 lacked tabbed browsing natively,[citation needed] which led to Microsoft implementing this feature in the next release, Internet Explorer 7.

History and development

NetCaptor's development began under the name SimulBrowse in 1997. SimulBrowse was renamed Netcaptor because the developer didn't like the name.[1] Some of the browser's features were original, while others were inspired by similar products. According to a statement from developer Adam Stiles, NetCaptor was one of the first browsers to feature a tabbed browsing interface; while similarities were found in other browsers of the era (such as Booklink's Internetworks or Opera), NetCaptor's tabs were closest in form and function to the tabs found in modern browsers.

NetCaptor was a closed-source program started and maintained by Adam Stiles.

The last released version, 7.5.4, was made available on February 18, 2005. On a post dated January 8, 2008, Stiles officially declared that "NetCaptor is Dead" after 10 years, and "What a ride it's been".[2] Stiles recommended that users switch to the Mozilla Firefox or Safari web browsers. He simultaneously released a free registration key for anyone still wishing to use NetCaptor, but due to the browser's tendency to phone home to check registration key validity and the dissolution of the website, the key no longer functions:


There is no legally provided workaround or modification available.

See also


  1. ^ "What happened to SimulBrowse?". NetCaptor. Archived from the original on 1999-10-13. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  2. ^ NetCaptor is Dead - Long Live Tabbed Browsing! Archived 2010-04-03 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading