America Online (AOL) has released a preview version of a new Windows-only Netscape Web browser based on Firefox that also supports Internet Explorer's browser engine.

This is an attempt to recreate some kind of Web site compatibility, as Microsoft's extended standards often mean some sites will not function correctly in non-Microsoft browsers.

While current Firefox users may switch to IE when they have a problem with a Web site, AOL's Netscape unit found a different solution. If a Web site does not display well in the standard Firefox-based configuration in Netscape, it takes two clicks to display the page using the IE engine. The browser stores engine preferences per Web site.

The Netscape browser does not actually include the IE engine, but uses the engine that is part of Windows. As such, the browser only works on Windows.

The Netscape preview is only available to a select group of testers. A public beta and final release of the new browser is planned for next year, a person familiar with AOL's plans said. The browser and a new email client will eventually replace the current Netscape offering, an AOL spokesman said earlier this month.