Free Virtual PCs for Testing Websites in Different Versions of IE

In the past, I’ve used products that emulate having multiple versions of Internet Explorer installed to test websites in previous versions on Internet Explorer.  Those products worked okay, but they were always a little flaky.  Sometimes Javascript or cookies wouldn’t work right, Windows updates would break versions, and some would not work under Vista.  They also did not allow you to install any web developer tools to help troubleshooting any problems you found.   I found a better solution when I ran across the Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images that Microsoft provides for free.  Microsoft offers the following five Virtual PC hard disk images as free downloads: [more]

  • Windows XP SP3 with IE6. Expires January 1, 2010
  • Windows XP SP3 with IE7. Expires January 1, 2010
  • Windows XP SP3 with IE8. Expires January 1, 2010
  • Vista Image with IE7. Expires 120 days after first run.
  • Vista Image with IE8. Expires 120 days after first run.

These images work well and since they are full blown XP and Vista images you can also install different versions of other browsers on them to test with too.  You could also use the images for testing desktop applications in Windows XP or Vista.  In addition to downloading the disk images you’ll also need Virtual PC 2007 (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/support/virtual-pc-2007.aspx).

Networking Virtual PC. testing