1437Days

1437 days since this post was last revised. Specific details are likely out of date.

At modern.ie, the Microsoft Internet Explorer team have made some free virtual machines available for testing IE10, 9, 8 and 7 (even Redmond couldn’t care less about IE6 – my sympathies if you have to). Chris Wharton effectively already covered all the below so this is more a note for self having had plenty of adventures with VirtualBox in the past.

Paul Irish pointed out on Twitter there is now an even easier way to get these VMs installed into VirtualBox – right from the command line. The info below still holds true but for the fastest install just open Terminal and paste in this command: curl -s https://raw.github.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | bash. If you want to know the crazy that this is getting up to, go take a look at the project on GitHub: https://github.com/xdissent/ievms

If you’ve never used Virtual Machines before, and especially the fantastic (and free) VirtualBox, here’s a guide to getting this working. Once done you’ll be able to weep openly as the web work you have lovingly crafted is destroyed before your very eyes at the hands of Microsoft’s evil step-child. Enough talk. Let’s do this:

  1. Download VirtualBox here. Note, visit https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads for the latest version.
  2. Once downloaded, install VirtualBox (just clicky-clicky through the install). Do this BEFORE proceeding.
  3. Download IE virtual machines (be warned these are large files so if you’re still rocking a 14.4 modem best give it a miss):
  4. Once the IE Virtual machines have downloaded, double click the zip file to extract them. If you don’t have something to extract them, grab Unarchiver from the App Store. Move the enclosed *.ova file somewhere sensible (I added folders for ‘IE9’, ‘IE10’ etc in ~/Documents and stuck each file in there but wherever works for you).
  5. Now all you need to do is double-click each of the *.ova files and it will fire up VirtualBox. A window will appear where you can change the name and memory settings. I’d opt for 2048MB or more (assuming you have 4GB+) so it doesn’t run like an oil tanker in an ice-floe (this is Windows remember). Click OK and it will do its thing. Now to run the VM, just highlight it in the left panel and click start (big green arrow at the top of the VirtualBox interface).
  6. Repeat the process for each version of IE you are making a Virtual Machine for.
  7. Should you need to access the DVD drive, ‘proper’ hardware drivers, shared folders and the like you’ll need to install the VirtualBox ‘Guest Additions’. To do this, from the Virtual Box VM menu bar, choose Devices > Install Guest Additions. Now just clicky-click through the install. You’ll need to reboot and then you’re good to go.

Another handy thing worth knowing is that if you test anything using a localhost address, you can get to that on the virtual machine’s browser by substituting ‘localhost’ for ‘10.0.2.2’.

It’s worth heading over to the modern.ie site to find out more about resetting the machines etc when the time arises.

Ben Frain Developer, Author: 'Enduring CSS', 'Responsive Web Design with HTML5 & CSS3'.