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In December 13, 2001 when Microsoft released a critical security upgrade for Internet Explorer, only versions 5.5 and higher were supported (a patch was finally issued for IE 5.01 nearly 2 months later on February 11, 2002, but as of this writing all early versions of IE appear to have been abandoned as they still have no patches).
There are also plenty of other operating systems that work equally well on machines that Microsoft has abandoned support for.
Don't let your old equipment gather dust - older machines make great IP Masquerading routers (which allow you to connect multiple computers to the internet at once using only one phone line or cable modem) or great machines for checking email and chatting online.
If you can't use your older equipment yourself, rest assured that somebody out there (such as your local school) could put it to very good use.
References: [Screenshot of breaking IE 4 with HTTP/1.1 support on November 11, 2002] Microsoft also left these same people that helped Internet Explorer gain the majority market share in the lurch by providing delinquent support for Internet Explorer 5.0 shortly after its release.
Internet Explorer 5.01 SP2 was released in June 19, 2001.