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Multiple versions of IE for web testing

Anyone else done this?

     
4:06 am on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone know of a way to run more than one version of IE on windows at the same time? I found a way but it is sorta messy and I was wondering if there might be an easier way. Previously I had just run Windows 95 in Virtual PC.

I got a new idea from this page: http://msdn.microsoft.com/ieupdate/

There they have a self-contained version of IE 6 without the Eolas patent stuff. I looked at it and noted the files in it.

browseui.dll
dispex.dll
iexplore.exe
IEXPLORE.EXE.local
inetcpl.cpl
jscript.dll
mshtml.dll
mshtml.tlb
shdocvw.dll
urlmon.dll
vbscript.dll
version.txt
xpsp2res.dll

I looked for all these same files on Win95 and put the ones that were there into a folder together on XP and ran iexplore.exe. It used the old iexplore.exe wrapper, but still the IE 6 renderer. I copied over the IEXPLORE.EXE.local file...and it used the old renderer.

It seems that when an empty file named IEXPLORE.EXE.local is present in the folder with IE files, it causes it to use the files in the folder instead of the ones in your windows install.

The old IE 4 and 5 wrappers are sorta buggy on XP (IE 5 crashes if you click the favorites menu and IE 4 won't let you enter a URL into the address box directly) BUT...I copied the IE 6 wrapper over and voilą -- looks like IE6 on the outside but renders like IE 4 or IE 5. They even send the correct user agent strings and all.

If anyone wants these, I can zip them up and put them online somewhere. I'm hoping there is a cleaner way, but this sure as hell beats running Virtual PC just for testing!

3:10 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hey, that sounds really neat!
I wouldn't mind trying that out :)

Were you able to run IE6 and IE5 simultaneously?

Yes, please zip them up. Maybe we can convince Brett to let you post the URL on the board ;) That way anyone will be able to download the files.

Till then, please sticky me the URLs :)

When you do sticky someone the URLs (or post the URLs on the board) please make sure to specify the IE version (as specific as possible) and the OS the original install was on

5:47 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I have both IE 6.0 and IE 3.0 installed on my Windows XP computer. The IE 3.0 is the 16-bit version.
6:07 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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...which works since IE3 wasn't so integrated into Windows

But then again, IE3 is no longer interesting to most developers (hardly even IE4)...
And it would be really neat to have both IE5, IE5.5 and IE6 installed

6:17 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Here's a run down of running multiple versions of a web browser here:
http*//www.thesitewizard.com/webdesign/multiplebrowsers.shtml

It mentions how CSS is rendered differently on IE 5.5 vs IE 6.0. Says you can either set up multiple partitions with their own OS space for the browsers. Or use a PC emulator (bochs) for web page testing.

6:20 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Says you can either set up multiple partitions with their own OS space for the browsers. Or use a PC emulator (bochs) for web page testing.

...which seems a bit cumbersome, don't you think? You would have to boot to a different partition each time you want to test something different? The PC emulators usually aren't that great...

If Jobarr's suggestion works, then it is truly a break-through for everyone who wants to test a page on different versions of IE and be able to compare them side by side!

8:18 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It seems that if you have the actual install files for any version of IE (not the all-in-one setup program), you can actually extract these files yourself from the files called IEW2K_*.cab or IENT_*.cab (IE4NT_*.cab for IE 4 I think). Just combine all the files I listed above from them into a folder and ignore the ones you don't find. Then create an empty text file called IEXPLORE.EXE.local in the folder and it should work. At least this way would avoid any licence crap that MS might have that would bring their wrath upon anyone who distributes these files in other ways.

I found the method of extracting the files from the cab files on google...first or second result for "IEXPLORE.EXE.local". I searched to see if anyone had come up with this before. The page is in Japanese but Babelfish helped me through it.

If you wanna run them inside the IE6 wrapper, you gotta copy over browseui.dll, IEXPLORE.EXE, and SHDOCVW.DLL from your own windows install into the folders with them (replace any files there). Then the favorites menu and the address box work for both.

It's messy but seems to work!

8:39 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Jobar, I followed your suggestion. I have Visual Studio 6.0 SP5 which had an IE5.5 folder. I copied the content of that into my c:\ie55. Since I'm running Windows 2000, I excluded the IEMIL_[1-3].CAB and IENT_S[1-5].CAB files.

expand c:\ie55\*.cab C:\test\ie55 /f:browseui.dll
expand c:\ie55\*.cab C:\test\ie55 /f:dispex.dll
expand c:\ie55\*.cab C:\test\ie55 /f:inetcpl.cpl
expand c:\ie55\*.cab C:\test\ie55 /f:jscript.dll
expand c:\ie55\*.cab C:\test\ie55 /f:mshtml.dll
expand c:\ie55\*.cab C:\test\ie55 /f:mshtml.tlb
expand c:\ie55\*.cab C:\test\ie55 /f:shdocvw.dll
expand c:\ie55\*.cab C:\test\ie55 /f:urlmon.dll
expand c:\ie55\*.cab C:\test\ie55 /f:vbscript.dll

  • Running the above commands extracted the files I needed from the IE5.5 CABS.
  • IEXPLORE.EXE.local was copied from the IE6 folder
  • Iexplore.exe was extracted from IE_S1.CAB which was copied into c:\test\ie55 (expand c:\ie55\ie_s1.cab c:\test\ie55 /f:iexplore.exe)

    I got IE5.5 to run, but I can't type anything into any of the web forms. Are you experiencing the same? I'm hoping to find a more recent service pack with mshtml.dll will help. The IE5.5 SP2 for ME doesn't have the mshtml.dll

  • 8:46 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    I can enter into forms with no problems.

    My user agent:
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
    IEXPLORE.EXE file version:
    5.51.4807.2300
    MSHTML.DLL Version:
    5.50.4522.1800

    9:14 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    For install files, browsers.evolt.org is a good source ;)
    9:18 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    I wonder if it because I'm using Windows 2000 and not XP. Have you had any success with IE4.x or IE5.x?
    9:18 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    Also, a google search for "IENT_S1.CAB" helps. :)
    9:24 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    Ah....anything with the mouse (selecting text, clicking forms) aside from clickling links seems to be borked in IE5. Weird.
    I even tried using the IE5 wrapper with it and it didn't work. Too bad. :(

    IE 5.5 works though for me.

    9:49 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    I have full IE 5.0 and IE 5.5 files from Microsoft CDs. NO LOVE! :( Okay, I'm done playing. Running multiple versions may be useful for someone using 5.x right now and they can use the 'development' version of 6.x. But trying to run older versions doesn't seem to be consistent across the OS. Good luck!

    [edited by: sun818 at 10:11 pm (utc) on Oct. 8, 2003]

    9:55 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    A way round it, which i have been playing with recently is too have seperate HDD, with their own OS, though dead, in a cable select sort of way with various installations of IE on each.

    I have been running IE5 and O6 on one disk (OS is dead) programs work. And on the system OS, IE6, and O7 which has shown some stark contrast between the way they parse web doc's.

    10:32 pm on Oct 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    sun818, try this:

    1) Copy all the cabs that are in the ient_s*.cab (ient_s1.cab, ient_s2.cab,...) files into one folder.
    2) Run "expand *.cab ./" in that folder
    3) Delete shlwapi.dl or comctl32.dll if they are there
    4) Make a file called IEXPLORE.EXE.local

    I did that and got a complete working version of IE 5.01. Now I can select text and everything. Only the favorites menu still doesn't work. It seems there were a few more files it needed and that fixed it so text selection and form entry works.

    3:41 pm on Oct 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    ...which works since IE3 wasn't so integrated into Windows

    No, it works because it's the 16-bit version. It's not possible to install two 32-bit versions of IE on the same computer/partition (except for perhaps 2.0 and a later version).
    7:17 pm on Oct 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    oops...double post!

    [edited by: Jobarr at 7:18 pm (utc) on Oct. 9, 2003]

    7:17 pm on Oct 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    "It's not possible to install two 32-bit versions of IE on the same computer/partition"

    No?
    http://www.oz.net/~williams/oldIE_big.gif

    ;)

    5:15 am on Nov 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    I am getting a slightly different render, but the user agent shows 6.0 and the help->about is showing 6.0

    Maybe I've gotten something wrong but I don't trust this configuration to be accurate. Doing more testing to see if it can be useful somehow...

    5:57 am on Nov 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    Use something like Brett's Browser Header Check [searchengineworld.com] over on SEW to see the version. The About menus on IE are screwy with this...

    DrDoc has sorted this thread out into a clear step-by-step tutorial over here:
    How to: Install multiple versions of IE on your PC [webmasterworld.com]

    7:05 am on Nov 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    just found DrDoc's step by step and thanked him, but thanks to Jobarr for this original thread (which I missed). Have wanted to do this since win98 and always "heard" it was impossible.

    Thank you Jobarr!

    7:21 am on Nov 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    slightly different render, but the user agent shows 6.0 and the help->about is showing 6.0

    You must make sure to have the iexplore.exe.local file in the folder to make IE use all the local files. Otherwise it won't work properly.

    Help > About is always going to show 6.0, since that info is grabbed from the Windows registry. However, you still see that info displayed on the browser's about page :)

    8:53 am on Nov 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    For some reason though my user agent still says 6.0 though all the demos of this I find show the old user agents. Leads me to believe its not working. The local file (zero length) is there. Still fiddling. Not sure if I like the compromises in the way this will work but I can understand how it would be faster than firing up a vmware window.
    2:28 pm on Nov 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    Hmm, and you followed the step-by-step instructions? And you got the right files? Which OS are you running? And the "local" file has the right name?

    :(

    3:50 pm on Nov 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    try this...

    [skyzyx.com ]

    found it today and it works on XP anyway - very simple zip file to install

    jim

    4:46 pm on Nov 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    As always - Webmaster World was first ;)
    6:26 pm on Nov 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    Also:
    [insert-title.com...]
    with references to stand-alone installers
    7:24 am on Nov 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    I'm glad people are finally realizing that this actually does work. People thought I was making it up at first I think. ;)
    3:48 pm on Nov 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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    Well, to me it was just confusing at first. Had to read the post a couple times ;)