Running IE6 & IE7 on one machine, the right way

We have heard tons of feedback about the need for developers to run both IE6 and IE7 on their machine simultaneously to test Web sites.  The challenge is that when you install IE7 it replaces IE6.  To date we have not had a supported way of handling this although there have been myriad hack ways of accomplishing this task.

To resolve this Pete LePage set out on a quest to figure out an easy, free, and correct way to do this.  Check out his blog for more context, but today he released a VPC that provides everything you need to do it.  Get all the details here.

Let us know what you think!

Comments (7)

  1. Mads says:

    Right way or not, its certainly not the easiest solution.

    I’d prefer a hack any day.

    My experience is that VPC is slow, unless you have a ‘state of the art’-computer.

  2. JEROPS says:

    I don’t know about that.  I’m running VPC on a tablet pc and it works very well. In fact I have a VPC with SQL server too.  To make it run well, you need a lot of ram.  Minimum 1 gig on xp to make it run well.  Don’t expect VPC too run well on any machine with 512mb or less.

    I prefer VPC versus a hack any day.

  3. Geir says:

    I must agree. Virtual PC is useless due to crappy performance – and I do have a near top-of-the line computer.

    VMware Player shines in comparison -as everyone that has tried the free product knows, but for XP you will need an additional valid Windows XP Product key to be able to run it after the Microsoft 30 days trial. As for Vista I understand MS has become even more strict about use of Virtual machines.

  4. Brendan says:

    There MUST be a hack to allow multiple versions to co-exist. Mucking around with any VM software shouldn’t be required.

  5. bgold says:

    Brendan:  Since IE6 and IE7 can’t live SxS you don’t necessarily get 100% accurate rendering if you use the hack methods (they do exist).  For some, they are effective, but in order to gurnatee that your tests are 100% real to the expereince of users who have native installs you need to test using native install.  The VPC provides a free solution to accomplish this.  A 1GB of RAM machine should run the VPC fine (it’s very stripped down and perf optimiized).  

    I’ve seen commentary on many other solutions — cheap old box with XP on it, etc., but we wanted to provide a free way to serve this need given the constrains of not having SxS.  

    Something we are investigating is the SxS story for IE8.

    Hope this helps.


  6. The evolt solution works, but the stand-alone version of IE6 will still think it is IE7 in many cases such as with conditional style comments.

    For example, if you have the following on your page to load css specifically for IE6, it will not work with the evolt solution:

    <!–[if lt IE 7]>

    <style type="text/css" media="all">@import "fix-ie.css";</style>


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