Windows Browser Compatibility Matrix


Intended Audience

This post will be relevant to you if you’re looking for a browser for a legacy Windows operating system (OS). While there are many browsers, only the popular browsers, arguably the juggernauts in their time, are covered in this post.

Background

On reflection, after having built a whole bunch of legacy Windows systems in VMs, I wish I’d had access to a table of compatible, well-known browsers like the one below. It would have made my life a lot easier. The information is out there if you’re prepared to look for it. It just hasn’t been consolidated to make it easy for those of us who, for whatever reason, want to resurrect or use legacy Windows. Hope you find this table useful.

Apologies in advance for the table wrap. I couldn’t think of any other way to build a table in the WordPress environment I’m in. Maybe a lack of knowledge on my part, but it could also a limitation of the environment. As it turned out, I had to build the table structure using HTML code. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

How to Use the Table

First, find the column for the legacy Windows OS you’re working with. Next, find the row for the browser you’re interested in. Now find the cell within the table where the row and column intersect.

If there is a dash in the cell, the browser wasn’t around for that OS. If there is an unbracketed entry in the cell, you’re in luck. You now know the highest version of the browser built for that OS. It’s up to you to search online for a reliable download source for that version of the browser. If there is a bracketed entry in the cell, the browser may still be in active development for the OS you’re working with. If it is, there may be a more recent version of the browser than the one recorded at the time this post was prepared. Hyperlinks in the table reference the source of information on which a cell entry was founded.

Browser WfW 3.11
(1993-2001)
Microsoft IE [1] 5.01
Microsoft Edge
Google Chrome
Mozilla FireFox
Opera 3.62
Safari [2]
Netscape [3] 4.08
Browser Win 95
(1995-2001)
Win 98
(1998-2006)
Win 2000
(2000-2010)
Microsoft IE [1] 5.5 SP2 6.0 SP1 6.0 SP1
Microsoft Edge
Google Chrome
Mozilla FireFox 1.5.0.12 2.0.0.20 12.0
Opera 10.63 10.63 12.02
Safari [2] 3.0.3
Netscape [3] 7.2 9.0.0.6 9.0.0.6
Browser Win XP
(2001-2014)
Win Vista
(2007-2017)
Microsoft IE [1] 8.0.6001.18702 9.0.8112.16421
Microsoft Edge
Google Chrome 49.0.2623 49.0.2623
Mozilla FireFox 52.8.0esr 52.8.0esr
Opera 36 36
Safari [2] 5.17 5.17
Netscape [3] 9.0.0.6 9.0.0.6
Browser Win 7
(2009-2020)
Win 8.1
(2012-2023)
Win 10
(2015- )
Microsoft IE [1] 11.0.56 11.0.56 11.0.56
Microsoft Edge [42.17134]
Google Chrome [66.0.3359] [66.0.3359] [66.0.3359]
Mozilla FireFox [60.0] [60.0] [60.0]
Opera [53] [53] [53]
Safari [2]
Netscape [3]

Notes

  1. Microsoft is no longer actively developing Internet Explorer (IE). IE 11 is going to be the last major version. It has been replaced with the new Edge Browser. It appears Edge is Microsoft’s attempt to go head to head with Google’s Chrome browser, which has held the largest browser market share for many years and is still the market leader.
  2.  The Safari web browser for Windows deserves a special mention as it was Apple’s all too brief foray into the Windows world.
  3. Netscape was the first company to capitalise on the World Wide Web. Once the dominant browser (it wasn’t free in its heyday), Netscape Navigator succumbed in the browser wars to Microsoft IE.

References

  1. Wikipedia: List of web browsers
  2. Wikipedia: Windows 95
  3. Wikipedia: Windows 98
  4. Wikipedia: Windows 2000
  5. Wikipedia: Windows XP
  6. Wikipedia: Windows Vista
  7. Wikipedia: Windows 7
  8. Wikipedia: Windows 8.1
  9. Wikipedia: Windows 10
  10. Wikipedia: Internet Explorer
  11. Wikipedia: Microsoft Edge
  12. Wikipedia: Google Chrome
  13. Wikipedia: Firefox
  14. Wikipedia: Opera
  15. Wikipedia: Safari
  16. Wikipedia: Netscape (web browser)
  17. Wikipedia: Internet Explorer version history
  18. Wikipedia: Internet Explorer 11
  19. Wikipedia: Google Chrome version history
  20. Wikipedia: Firefox version history
  21. Wikipedia: History of the Opera web browser
  22. Wikipedia: Safari version history
  23. Wikipedia: Browser wars
  24. Wikipedia: Netscape
  25. W3Counter: Browser & Platform Market Share
  26. Wikipedia: Windows 3.1x
  27. Wikipedia: Microsoft Windows version history

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