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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]
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.
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?
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.
The timebombed images
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.
Maybe that could be an option for you?
joined:Jan 27, 2003
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.