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A Look Back At Internet Explorer 1

by Sean P. Aune | April 26, 2010April 26, 2010 9:58 am PST

It’s hard to believe, but this Aug. will mark the 15th anniversary of Internet Explorer 1.0 being released.  Has it really been that long since IE entered our lives?

IE 1 released back on Aug. 16th, 1995, and while you would think the way Microsoft works on everything themselves now, that IE had started life in some back office in Redmond, WA.  Truth be told, Microsoft licensed the basic software from the Spyglass Mosaic, the program that is credited with really launching the World Wide Web into the mainstream.

Lets take a look at the browser in a screen shot.


Wow … talk about boring.  Microsoft’s own website says of this early version, “The first version of Internet Explorer was only slightly more than 1 megabyte in size, and didn’t really do that much. Sure, you could surf the Internet but not much else. Much that we take for granted now wasn’t supported, whether it be the ability to read newsgroups, display graphics, or access dynamic content such as video or music files.”  This early version wasn’t even able to render tables, that ability wasn’t added until IE 1.5 several months later.

Lets take a look at the tools and navigation specifically as that was about the only thing worth looking at back then.

ie1 toolbar

As you can see, we didn’t have any of the smooth looking buttons of today, and a lot of tools that are now controlled mainly by keyboard shortcuts were front and center like the clipboard.  The Windows logo out to the right was the thing that told you a page was loading, and the Windows 95 symbol would flap around like a flag in the breeze.

This also pre-dates the age of tabbed browsing.  It was one Web page at a time, and it was a pain, but as most of us were on dial-up back then, it didn’t really matter.

There isn’t much you can say about IE1 because … well … it didn’t do much.  It let you get to simple sites and that was about it.  It is amazing to think how far we have evolved in 15 years though.

What are some of your memories of the early days of browsers?  Which did you use?

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...