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Testing multiple versions of IE

     
7:28 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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On the same machine... can it be done? I want to test our website on IE 6, 7 & 8.
10:56 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think Microsoft recommend you use Virtual PC, however if you search for install multiple versions of ie you may find a solution more appropriate for your needs.

Kaled.

4:00 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There are multiple browser versions hosted at spoon.net in the Demo section 'Browser Sandbox'

IE6, IE7, IE8. Opera 9, Opera 10. Google Chrome. Firefox 2, Firefox 3, Firefox 3.5. Safari 3, Safari 4.

Use requires a Firefox plugin installation.

4:50 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I run multiple (licensed) copies of XP in a virtual machine on my mac to get to IE6, IE7 and IE8. Actually these windows instances only ever get used to check my own work.

From experience I've seen some slight and subtle differences in the reaults yielded by the hacks to get an old version run alongside a newer version on the same windows OS. And if you cannot trust it will act perfectly the same as what your visitors will have, then what's the point of the test to start with ?

[edited by: swa66 at 4:53 am (utc) on Nov. 11, 2009]

4:51 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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kaled is right. You are working with a kludge if you try to get multiple version of IE to work together on one Windows install.

Micrrosoft provides a free Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image [microsoft.com]. These are pre-configured VirtualPC images that contain different versions of IE for web developers to test in.

Overview
This download page contains different VPC images, depending on what you want to test.

  • IE6-XPSP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE6 VHD file. Expires January 1, 2010
  • IE7-XPSP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE7 VHD file. Expires January 1, 2010
  • IE8-XPSP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE8 VHD file. Expires January 1, 2010
  • IE7-VIS1.exe+IE7-VIS2.rar+IE7-VIS3.rar contain a Vista Image with IE7 VHD file. Expires 120 days after first run.
  • IE8-VIS1.exe+IE8-VIS2.rar+IE8-VIS3.rar+IE8-VIS4.rar contain a Vista Image with IE8 VHD file. Expires 120 days after first run.

They update this package regularly and extend the expiration. Why not do your IE testing properly when MS provides the tools for free?

4:58 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Virtual PC for windows is nowadays free as well.
Virtual PC for mac doesn't exist anymore - the last version only worked on the PowerPC architecture.

The timebombed images: not a fan myself, I had an XP licensed for virtual machines lying about unused and used that one. Although it's probably not fully kosher with the fine print, you could just buy an OEM license of XP and use that without having to download the images every so often.

5:34 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yes these are VirtualPC images. You'll have to download and install the free VirtualPC to run them.

The timebombed images

MS is handing out functional copies of XP and Vista here. It makes perfect sense for them to time them out. If you have extra full licenses for XP, Vista, or 7 you can certainly setup your own testbed that won't time out.

A TechNet or MSDN subscription, while not cheap, would allow you to install multiple copies of Windows on any number of machines (virtual or real).

Then you wouldn't need VirtualPC. You could just as easily use VMware or VirtualBox.

Although it's probably not fully kosher with the fine print, you could just buy an OEM license of XP and use that without having to download the images every so often.

That would not be legal, and I would not suggest anyone do that.
8:48 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft has an application that allows you to view sites in different versions of different browsers, it's called Expression Web Superpreview.

[expression.microsoft.com...]

Maybe that could be an option for you?

9:08 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think the multiple IEs on the same PC software is OK for basic testing.

To be honest, I find software testing to be OK for basic HTML/CSS types of test, but the variance between different installs/versions means I have a fondness for using someone's actual PC for tests or getting them to screenshot it. There's a combined usability element too.

11:37 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have a fondness for using someone's actual PC for tests or getting them to screenshot it

try browsershots.org - it's a free open-source service

3:02 am on Nov 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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You can also use browserlab.adobe.com if you sign up for a (free) Adobe account.
 

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