We’ve covered this before, Microsoft still offer free Virtual PC VHD images for web developer to test their application natively in IE. And they have just updated their list of free VHD images last month. Even though there are many different technologies out there let’s you test multi browser support but none can replace natively testing, especially if your web application involves interaction between the user and the application. Screenshots and other render engine simulation won’t do the trick, you can only test it natively on an IE, and due to the nature of how IE works in a Windows environment, one machine can only have ONE version of IE.
- You MUST have a genuine Windows 7 to install virtual PC. If you do go ahead and download it from here.
- Download all of the parts (ex. Windows_7_IE8.part01.exe, Windows_7_IE8.part02.rar, Windows_7_IE8.part03.rar and Windows_7_IE8.part04.rar) Run part 1 to extract the VHD image (about 8G)
Get Started Install Windows Virtual PC
It will first appear as a Windows Update patch, you need to restart your machine after this is done.
Navigate to your own Virtual Machine directory, you will now see a special row of tasks under this directory.
Click “Create Virtual Machine”
Give it a reasonable amount of RAM
Choose “use an existing virtual hard disk” browse to the location where you were extracted the VHD image.
Click Open once you are done
It will now boot into Windows with the version of IE you have downloaded.
It WILL ask for activation, as stated by Microsoft, the free isn’t mean exactly a free version of Windows. Rather, it means ask you to keep using the trail version of the Virtual Machine until it expiries.
- The VHDs will not pass genuine validation. Immediately after you start the Windows 7 or Windows Vista images they will request to be activated. You can cancel the request and it will login to the desktop. You can activate up to two “rearms” (type slmgr –rearm at the command prompt) which will extend the trial for another 30 days each time OR simply shutdown the VPC image and discard the changes you’ve made from undo disks to reset the image back to its initial state.