How to Run IE6, IE7 and IE8 on Windows 7 HOME

Contributing Editor

IE6, IE7 and IE8 on Windows 7My recent article, Run IE6, IE7, and IE8 on the Same Machine Using Windows 7 XP Mode, provided instructions for installing Virtual PC and XP Mode on a Windows 7 PC. Unfortunately, it only worked on the Professional, Ultimate or Enterprise versions of Windows 7.

Windows 7 Home Basic and Premium users are unable to use XP Mode. This is unfortunate since the vast majority of new PCs have those editions installed. However, there is a workaround that allows Windows 7 Home developers to use XP Mode integration.

1. Check your PC’s compatibility

XP Mode requires hardware-assisted virtualization (HAV). This is supported by most modern processors, but it may need to be enabled in your BIOS. The BIOS menu is normally accessed by pressing DEL, F2, or ESC immediately after switching on your PC. Microsoft provide a useful HAV detection tool which can help you with BIOS configuration.

2. Download Virtual PC

You must download Virtual PC for Windows 7 from the following location rather than the Microsoft Virtual PC website:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2b6d5c18-1441-47ea-8309-2545b08e11dd

You might be prompted to install Genuine Windows Validation Component in your browser if you’ve not installed it before.

3. Create a new Virtual Machine

Start Virtual PC from Start > Programs > Windows Virtual PC > Virtual Machines then click Create virtual machine on the toolbar.

You will be prompted to enter the name, location, RAM (256MB is enough) and create a new virtual hard disk.

4. Install Windows XP in the VM

You will now need to start your VM and install Windows XP using an original CD or disk image. You will also require an XP licence — you may have one if you’ve scrapped or upgraded a PC.

Alternatively, you’ll need to buy a copy of Windows XP. The OEM versions generally cost less and you might be able to grab a copy on eBay — but ensure it’s legitimate.

You will also need to install the latest updates including SP3. However, do not install IE7 or IE8 just yet!

5. Enable integration

From the VM Tools menu, choose to install the Integration Components. Once installed, click Tools > Enable Integration.

6. Install the Windows XP SP3 RemoteApp upgrade

Within your XP VM guest (NOT the Windows 7 host), you should download and install the RemoteApp upgrade from:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2f376f53-83cf-4e5b-9515-2cb70662a81b

7. Configure the VM resolution and color depth (optional)

By default, IE6 and IE7 will run in 16-bit color mode and your subtly-shaded web application can look a little strange. To fix it, refer to step 3 of Running XP Mode for the First Time at the bottom of the original XP Mode article.

8. Create IE6 and IE7 VMs and desktop shortcuts

You can now follow the instructions on page 2 of the original XP Mode article to create two cloned VMs and Windows 7 desktop shortcuts for IE6 and IE7.

IE6, IE7 and IE8 on the same Windows 7 desktopclick to enlarge

Many thanks to logic_earth on the SitePoint forums for providing a great solution for Windows 7 Home users.

Are You Considering a Windows 7 Upgrade?

The solution above is ideal if you’re already using Windows 7 Home and have a spare XP licence. However, if you’re considering a Windows 7 upgrade, purchasing the Professional edition may save you time and money.

Prices appear to have reduced a little in the US:

UK prices have not altered significantly, but the full version price is confusingly similar to the upgrade and less expensive than the US:

Has Windows 7 XP Mode reduced your IE testing time?

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  • fireboydesign

    …or you could just download IE Tester? much simpler than this very longwinded approach.

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    IETester is fine for quick and dirty testing, but it doesn’t offer real versions of the browsers. There are several discussions about it in the SitePoint forum.

  • Wardrop

    I find just running Windows XP Pro in a VirtualBox to be as good, if not better than this. Firstly, VirtualBox is a much better product than anything from Microsoft, and really, the result is the same. Both still require IE6 to run in a virtual machine, so the difference is merely in how that is accessed. That’s my opinion anyway.

  • SoCrazyItMightWork

    Does this work if you’re running Windows in a VM on a Mac?

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    Does this work if you’re running Windows in a VM on a Mac?

    So on your Mac host, you’d run a Windows 7 VM with XP VMs inside that? I’d be amazed if it worked, especially since the Win7 VM won’t offer hardware-assisted virtualization!

    But seriously, why bother? If you’re running VMs, you don’t need Windows 7 – just create multiple XP guests with different versions of IE.

  • SoCrazyItMightWork

    Is there enough RAM in the Universe to run 4 copies of XP at the same time on one machine? (there isn’t enough in my MBP, that’s for sure–I regret getting the early model that has a 2GB limit, what was I thinking?)

    I’ll stick with IETester for now. It works well enough for most situations… even though it does crash a lot, that seems like a better tradeoff than taking on the maintenance of 4 VMs instead of one. I know it doesn’t work for Flash, but I don’t do Flash as a matter of principle anyway.

  • doesn’t work.

    ATTENTION MAC USERS – The suggested solution is to run Windows 7 for ie8, then use a built-in VPC for ie7 and ie6. This does not work with VirtualBox/Win7x64.

    Apparently VirtualBox does not support “Hardware Assisted Virtualization” a requirement for running the Windows 7 virtualization software.