VirtualBox and Internet Explorer

If you’re a web designer and on a Mac like me, then you’ve probably experienced the difficulties that go along with testing sites in Internet Explorer. There are those great resources out there like BrowserStack and Adobe Browser Labs (sadly discontinued), but what if you don’t want to pay $20 bucks a month just to test sites in all browsers? That’s where VirtualBox comes in. Thanks to @epicserve‘s recommendations I was directed to a new site: modern.IE. It appears that Microsoft finally gets it, it’s a pain to build crossbrowser compatible sites especially on THEIR browser!

After browsing around for a bit I decided to try out the VirtualBox method. VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use. This basically means you can run applications, servers, or even different operating systems within it.

Modern.IE has a list of different IE versions available for download and integration with VB. Some of the versions are a little large in terms of file size so it took a little over an hour to download them all. After the download finishes, it’s basically just a matter of opening and running the installer for the chosen IE version. It’s pretty straightforward and within a few minutes you’ll have an IE/OS version in your queue.

Virtual Box

From here it’s just a matter of clicking “start”. Shortly, ahem, after waiting for Windows to boot , you are welcomed with a functioning Windows OS right inside your window.

virtualbox-ie-8

Pretty slick! I’ve only been using VB for a few days now, but I can already tell that it will become a real necessity. No more running back and forth between computers or paying those unnecessary monthly subscriptions.

Nick Winters

Nick performs web marketing and design for Wenatchee Valley College. In his spare time, he takes on freelance projects and fun creative opportunities via Pixel to Press.

1 Comment

  1. Joshua Sullivan on March 23, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    I am going to have to try that out! I would be fine if they just allowed me to install different versions on IE on the same computer… and I don’t trust the developer tool’s document mode switcher (at the least it would be a good way of testing it out). Thanks for sharing your find 🙂

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