Test Your Site in IE6 The Right Way–With a Free VPC Image from Microsoft

As I have noted many times, the standalone Internet Explorer implementations are hacks that are best avoided. Alex Russell, leader of the Dojo project, explains the reasons quite eloquently. The recommended practice is to use Microsoft Virtual PC to run IE6 in a virtual environment. Which, for some, was a bit of an issue as it required another license for Windows–not everyone is blessed with an MSDN subscription.

Microsoft has recognized the issue and has released a free Virtual PC image for IE6 compatibility testing. Go here for the announcement or just get the image here. Enjoy!

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  • Yogler

    This is fabulous news!

    Thanks for the heads-up!

  • ProfessorDino

    Nice headline.

  • Anonymous

    too little, way too late :(

    dr livingston

  • Noin

    Just tried it out this morning, runs really great, seems even a lot faster than a regular XP SP2 somehow, and that’s on my ages old rig, so it’s really easy to test things with this.

  • Eric

    It would seem that they overlooked something. You have to have windows genuine advantage or be able to validate a copy of windows using genuine advantage. Kind of makes it hard to get the image for testing on VPC 7 for mac.

  • wwb_99

    @dr livingston: Why is it too little, way too late?

    @Eric–don’t you have a legitimate, licensed copy of windows for use on VPC7? Can’t you just download using that?

  • http://www.assemblysys.com mniessen

    Great! I’m downloading it right now and will finally get rid of IE6 standalone.

  • Deaf

    Well if you read the fine print… it is due to expire on 4-07. Which is not a bad thing however it would be better if it was at least a year since I’m sure it is going to be a while before IE6 is a minority.

  • wwb_99

    @Deaf: Read the line in the announcement after the time-bombing announcement, “We hope to continue to provide these images in the future as a service to web developers.” I suspect that translates to “we will release another six-month timebombed version at an appropriate time.” Remember, the IE team does need to get this through corporate, who does not want to hand out free, permenant copies of XP.

  • www.webhosting.uk.com

    This is awesome.
    I will download this shortly…

  • Tim

    I finally pulled this “solution” down. The VM Windows cannot be authenticated (“lost or stolen”), so you can’t upgrade the VM IE6 to an IE7. No matter what a lot of bloggers say, most corporate environments using existing corporate tools do NOT allow even webdevs to upgrade their machine to IE7…so the only solution is to run IE7 in a VM or find another machine, both of which will require an OS license. Solution = no solution. Cool idea, badly done.

  • markbrown4

    500MB.. I’ll do without.

    The stand-alone packages work great. Why do you call them ‘hacks’ that should be avoided without stating why?

  • wwb_99

    They are hacks–see the article I linked to in the first sentence of this blog post.

    To summarize, they are hacks because IE rests on alot of OS components, and you really should be testing against the full stack rather than just some bits of the rendering engine which is what the standalones are.