The Windows Explorer program (EXPLORER.EXE) has so far existed in seven variations considered by Microsoft to have sufficient external impact to deserve at least a difference in the minor version number.

EXPLORER Version Distribution
Windows NT Internet Explorer
4.0 Windows 95 Windows NT 4.0  
4.71     4.0
4.72 Windows 98   4.01
5.0   Windows 2000  
5.50 Windows Me    
6.0   Windows XP
Windows Server 2003
Windows Vista
Windows Server 2008
6.1   Windows 7  


Though the next table fusses over such details as build numbers and dates, it is certainly not meant as a comprehensive list even of builds that had formal, public releases. For that, consult Microsoft, who manufacture the software and are surely best able of anyone to present a definitive record. Bear in mind, however, that if Microsoft’s published documentation could sensibly be relied on as either comprehensive or accurate, then you could not now be reading these notes.

Builds are arranged in increasing order of the file version as recorded in the executable’s resources. This version number is readily visible using Windows Explorer either in a so-called infotip for the file or by accessing the Version tab in the Properties dialog for the file. Programmers know this version number as coming from the so-called root block of the version-information resource, specifically from the dwFileVersionMS and dwFileVersionLS members of a VS_FIXEDFILEINFO structure.

The date stamp shown for each version is more obscure. File dates are easily modified after the executable is built and are anyway liable to be shown differently when read from different time zones. However, there is in each executable’s header a date stamp which is set when the executable is built and which is not commonly changed afterwards. It is readily accessible to anyone with programming knowledge and appropriate tools, e.g., Microsoft’s own DUMPBIN utility.

File Version File Header Date Stamp Size Package 2FF35DC9 (30th June 1995) 204,288 Windows 95
Windows 95 OSR2
4.0.1377.1 31F95754 (27th July 1996) 234,256 Windows NT 4.0
4.0.1381.4 3361073E (26th April 1997) 234,256 Windows NT 4.0 SP3
4.0.1381.133 3623364C (13th October 1998) 237,328 Windows NT 4.0 SP4
4.0.1381.168 37016F4D (31st March 1999) 237,328 Windows NT 4.0 SP5
4.0.1381.282 37E7F174 (22nd September 1999) 237,328 Windows NT 4.0 SP6
4.71.1712.6 34216FBC (19th September 1997) 185,104 Internet Explorer 4.0 (Windows)
34217D1D (19th September 1997) 191,248 Internet Explorer 4.0 (NT)
4.72.2106.4 3470E10A (18th November 1997) 176,400 Internet Explorer 4.01 (NT)
3470E447 (18th November 1997) 169,232 Internet Explorer 4.01 (Windows)
4.72.3110.1 351044D2 (19th March 1998) 180,224 Windows 98
Windows 98 SE
352C4169 (9th April 1998) 171,280 Internet Explorer 4.01 SP1 (Windows)
352C4A75 (9th April 1998) 177,424 Internet Explorer 4.01 SP1 (NT)
4.72.3612.1700 36BF67E7 (9th February 1999) 177,424 Internet Explorer 4.01 SP2 (NT)
36BF6D79 (9th February 1999) 171,280 Internet Explorer 4.01 SP2 (Windows)
5.0.2920.0 3814A75E (26th October 1999) 238,352 Windows 2000
5.0.3103.1000 3947DD13 (15th June 2000) 242,960 Windows 2000 SP1
5.0.3502.5321 3CDB3D58 (10th May 2002) 242,960 Windows 2000 SP3
5.0.3700.6690 3E9CD567 (16th April 2003) 243,472 Windows 2000 SP4
5.50.4134.100 39370287 (2nd June 2000) 225,280 Windows Me
6.0.2600.0 3B7DE06E (18th August 2001) 1,000,960 Windows XP
6.0.2800.1106 3D6DE1E2 (29th August 2002) 1,004,032 Windows XP SP1a
6.0.2900.2180 41107ECE (4th August 2004) 1,032,192 Windows XP SP2
6.0.2900.5512 48025C30 (14th April 2008) 1,033,728 Windows XP SP3
6.0.3790.0 3E801AD4 (25th March 2003) 1,032,704 Windows Server 2003
6.0.3790.1830 42435E26 (25th March 2005) 1,050,624 Windows Server 2003 SP1
6.0.3790.3959 45D6A1B7 (17th February 2007) 1,053,184 Windows Server 2003 SP2
6.0.6000.16386 4549B091 (2nd November 2006) 2,923,520 Windows Vista
6.0.6001.18000 47918E5D (19th January 2008) 2,927,104 Windows Vista SP1
Windows Server 2008
6.0.6002.18005 49E01DA5 (11th April 2009) 2,926,592 Windows Vista SP2
6.1.7600.16385 4A5BC60D (14th July 2009) 2,613,248 Windows 7

For the two Windows 95 versions (original and OSR2) and the two Windows 98 versions (original and SE), the only difference between the binaries in each pair is that the later is built with newer import libraries for some DLLs, so that the two have slightly different Import Address Tables and a different checksum in the executable’s header.

For Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008, the binaries are identical, byte for byte.