IE6 VPC Refresh Now Available

In my original blog post about releasing the IE6 Virtual PC Image, we mentioned that it would expire on April 1st, 2007 (no, it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke), and that we’d be releasing a new VPC image to replace it sometime in March. Well, I’m happy to report that I propped the new VHD up on Monday morning. You can download the image here. Take note that a free download of Virtual PC 2007 is now available, replacing VPC2004.

I didn’t make any major changes to the image other than adding the latest security updates. I also managed to reduce the download size to just under 400 megs, shaving off almost 100 megs from the previous image size. This image is time-bombed to July 23rd , but we will continue to release these images as long as they are needed. They are time-bombed because you get them for free. If you want images without time-bombs, an MSDN subscription is the way to go.

We have learned some interesting things about the distribution process in a virtual machine environment. One is that we currently don't have a way for WGA to work inside this evaluation virtual machine because the process used to create a virtual machine involves de-activation of the key used in the VM. We are thinking about ways to fix this in the future but it's not as easy to do with Windows XP as it wasn't designed to support distribution like this. If there are specific applications or things you cannot install, follow up in the comments, and we'll see how we can address that for future versions.

We did do some investigation of shipping VHD’s with IE5.5, or earlier, but decided that due to the low browser usage share (less than 1% total usage for all IE versions before 6), it wasn’t going to be beneficial for enough developers and designers.

Keep an eye open in July for the next image drop!

PEte LePage
Product Manager

Comments (55)

  1. Paul Kinlan says:

    An IE 5.5  VPC would be very beneficial to use. You would be surprised at the corporations that still use IE 5.5

    Kind Regards,

    Paul Kinlan

  2. Brian says:

    When developing…can I reference my http://localhost/myapp from the vpc??

    I couldn’t figure it out the first time and didn’t try again.

  3. pauldwaite says:

    > "due to the low browser usage share (less than 1% total usage for all IE versions before 6)"

    I’d be interested to know where those numbers come from. Obviously, it’s going to differ for every site, and I think some folks are still seeing a reasonable amount IE 5.x.

    Obviously, we’re all hoping it goes the way of Netscape 4 soon. No offence ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I still don’t really understand why they are timebombed. You say this is because we’re getting it for free – but if you’re releasing new ones all the time then what’s the point really? I suppose you’ve said you’ll do that as long as they’re necessary… but assuming that’ll be for at least another 2 years why not just timebomb it for 2 years? Is it in case people manage to turn the image into something they can install on a harddisk and run as a main OS?

    Because the way I see it, at the moment there are two options for people:

    1) Use your official virtual machine images, but have to download a very hefty new file every couple of months or so… which for people on restrictive ISPs could be a huge disadvantage

    2) Use a ‘corporate’ edition of XP, ie a pirated one, which doesn’t require activation and will work fine just for the purposes of testing IE6 and you can’t really feel morally in the wrong, afterall all you’re doing is testing IE6 which you can do for free with Microsoft’s permission using their VPC images, this way’s just easier. [I don’t condone this, I’m just suggesting that lots of people will probably do this.]

    I personally have an MSDN subscription so don’t need to use these images (in any case, after installing Vista I now have a spare XP so would just use that) but I don’t really understnad the reasons to timebomb it and would be interesed in a more in-depth explanation.

    I’m not losing any sleep over it though, so I’m not really bothered if you can’t be bothered to give one lol

  5. Because the license to use the original IE6 VirtualPC image was good until April 1, 2007, Microsoft has

  6. Sven Groot says:

    Brian: in order for the VM to communicate with the host machine, you cannot use the regular VPC NAT networking. Instead you must install the Microsoft Loopback Adapter in the host OS and connect VPC via that.

    Google (or Live Search ๐Ÿ˜› ) for "Virtual PC loopback adapter" (or something like that) and you’ll find the information you need.

  7. Thomas says:

    Brian: You can do that by adding an entry in your Host file. Link localhost to the IP of your test server’s IP.

  8. Tom N says:

    When running the new VPC Image I am getting a "You may be a victim of software piracy" message. Any suggestions as to how to get rid of this? Thanks!

  9. Fduch says:

    @Tom N

    >I am getting a "You may be a victim of software piracy" message

    Do you know why they are giving it for free? They just stole it =)

  10. toby says:

    "I also managed to reduce the download size to just under 400 megs, shaving off almost 100 megs from the previous image size."

    Wow, you say that as though expecting people to download a 400 MB file just to test their web pages in the previous version of your browser is somehow something to be proud of! Compare that to the 5MB download required to test the previous version of Firefox, which of course never expires.

    Not only that, you’re gonna require us to re-download the full multi-hundred-megabyte file every few months? I remember a time not too long ago when Microsoft was considered a very developer-friendly company.

    I realize you’ve entrenched IE so deep into Windows that a standalone version is now impossible, but at least come up with a 3-month activation key, or cripple the VPC image in some other way to make it unusable for any other purpose…

  11. PatriotB says:

    "I remember a time not too long ago when Microsoft was considered a very developer-friendly company."

    I remember a time not too long ago when Microsoft provided NO means by which to test your web site on a previous version (on the same computer).

  12. toby says:

    "I remember a time not too long ago when Microsoft provided NO means by which to test your web site on a previous version (on the same computer)."

    Well that’s an interesting attitude… if you set the bar low enough, pretty much anything looks like progress. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m sorry, but more of the world still uses IE6 than IE7, and these hoops we have to jump through just to test our web pages in both is ridiculous.

  13. I still don’t understand why are you so angry? Horde of developers complained that Microsoft had no means to test older IE versions. Now as Microsoft released it, you complain that erm… Microsoft released it. Do you think they will rip out IE6 just easily and will make it 5mb download? It is too expensive, too time consuming, too etc. And you can’t compare it to Firefox because it is 2 completely different things. IE is a _PLATFORM_, Firefox is a _BROWSER_.

    Personally I think that VPC image to solve this problem is very great idea. You can test various browsers from the virtual machine and keep you primary machine clean.

  14. If you want to test your website in all versions of Internet Explorer starting from 3.0, you shouold check out this nice project:

    It is a small program which installs all previous versions of IE next to IE7. It’s very helpfull for our webdevelopers.

  15. Thanks guys, I was getting worried there for a moment ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Paolo says:

    Please provide a VHD with IE7…

    – to test website with IE7 on win2k machine

    – to become familiar and confident with IE7 on XP before upgrading from IE6

  17. Brian LePore says:

    Any chance that if you can’t get around the WGA issue the next time you create a new VM you can somehow add the Script Debugger with it? I’d love to be able to debug my scripts on running on IE6, especially because installing the debugger on Vista resulted in IE7 failing to load any web pages once I had unchecked the two "disable script debugging" options. Having it for one version of IE would be better than nothing.

  18. Milo says:

    RE: IE 5.5 (and even 5.01)

    You may see a low usage of these older browsers, but on corporate intranets these browsers see a much wider use than you may think.

    I agree with Paolo that an IE7 image would also be extremely helpful.

  19. Edwin Martin says:

    Paolo wrote: "Please provide a VHD with IE7".

    You can download the IE6-version and upgrade the browser. I did that (although WGA gave me some problems, but I managed to work around it).

  20. Aedrin says:

    "An IE 5.5  VPC would be very beneficial to use. You would be surprised at the corporations that still use IE 5.5"

    Please come out of the Stone Age. A company has no reason to use IE 5.5. If they do, I suggest you find a better job.

    This ridiculous jumping hoops act that some people go through in order to support every browser imaginable, is just a huge waste of money.

    Anything 1% or lower doesn’t really require that much attention.

    1. MSIE 6.x   32411464 (58%)

    2. MSIE 7.x   13873812 (25%)

    3. FireFox   6558616 (12%)

    4. Safari   1613757 (3%)

    Easy enough.

    "I’d be interested to know where those numbers come from."

    MSIE 5.x   635849 (1%)

    The low stats for IE7 probably has something to do with the fact that there are quite a few employers using Win 2k, which does not have IE7 available.

  21. Aedrin says:

    "You can download the IE6-version and upgrade the browser."

    Please read:

    "- to test website with IE7 on win2k machine"

    Windows 2000 does not support IE7.

  22. John Smiley says:

    I am getting the same errors.

    You may be a victim of software piracy

    What should I do to fix this?

  23. Martin S says:

    To anyone who’s "needs" an IE 5.5 VPC:

    Switch your website in Quirks Mode and you’ll get a complete IE 5.5 in your current installation ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Besides, I dont’t think work for IE 5.x has any worth at this time.

  24. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    >Windows 2000 does not support IE7.

    Correct, but the suggestion here is that you install IE7 on the Virtual Machine that you downloaded.  I don’t know whether or not the WGA activation feature permits that, but if it does, it ought to work correctly.

  25. <a href="">Internet Explorer 7 Standalone Installation Instructions by Tredosoft</a>

    <a href="">Internet Explorers 3 thru 6 Standalone Installer by Tredosoft</a>

  26. The WPF Book You Can’t Live Without – WPF Unleashed [Via: ] Don’t just CodeBetter,…

  27. Radek Matฤ›j says:


    can somebody explain me, why is genuine validation process failing and I’m getting "You may be a victim of software piracy" message? In previous post was mentioned, that there are pre-activated Windows XP, so why the message? Is it safe to use this image in our company?

  28. Phil Pursglove says:

    I also get the WGA notification. I wonder if it is because the new VHD is being detected as a change in hardware?


  29. It’s for Windows XP Home users too?

  30. Matt King says:

    It would be nice to have both Flash and Quicktime plugins installed in the image, since it won’t allow you to install them yourself.

  31. Paul Freeman-Powell says:

    another reason to make your own image with a "spare" copy of XP you might have lying around ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. this is exactly what i was looking for, works with windows xp proffesional

  33. Aw, man. You mean we’re expected to support it past April 1? ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. David Roux says:

    Thank you for making this available.  As developers in a larger company, I realise you can’t change IE overnight.  I also realise that IE != Firefox, so thank you for providing us with this service.

    Now, I realise that IE 5.5 doesn’t represent a huge portion of the browser market (and for that I’m grateful), but an image for this version would still be useful to more than one of us.

    By now we all know that browser stats vary by market, application, etc.  Our logs indicate that we have about 2-3% user base that uses IE 5.5.  I would love for them to upgrade, but if the effort required by us to supported them is minimal, I don’t see why we shouldn’t make it.  (Now I’m editorialising, but seriously, when did products and services become focused more about those who provide them than the client who would use them?)

    Many of our applications don’t need major modifications to support IE 5.5, and testing the browser alongside others as the sites are developed is not a major headache.


  35. I also get a "You may be a victim of software piracy" message, like many others. Do I have to expect a SWAT team arriving at my place or should I just ignore that? Would be great if some of you Microsoft guys could tell us, if this message should bother us or not… thanks.

  36. abelafonte says:

    I know this is probably a crazy combination.  But the VPC application won’t run under parallels because it checks for certain hardware.  Is there a work-around for this.

  37. CoqBlog says:

    Cette image VPC destinée à effectuer des tests sous IE6 dont je vous avais parler ici a été mise à jour

  38. Several points.

    First, I also get the damn WGA error message telling me that what MS has made available was stolen.  This prevents me from installing any Windows updates, e.g. to install Windows security updates, so this problem is really nasty.  We need an effective fix soon, before the next Windows security update appears.

    Second, re the % of users of IE 5.  I have monitored browser stats for years, and report the stats in a newsletter (  Browser usage depends on the type of site:  the  latest IE 5 stats I have range from 0.65% on one site, to 6% on my site, to nearly 20% on the US government’s USGS site; the last has a huge number of IE 5.01 visitors.

    Third, re the importance of the % of users of IE 5:  as a designer of websites, I typically design sites to work with browsers with as little as 0.05% or .10% of market penetration, and I am in no position to dictate to my clients which browsers their visitors may use.  Even 1% of users is a lot of people to exclude from sites, and they are important to me and my clients.  So I test with IE 5.01 and IE 5.5.  This argument is even stronger for sites like the USGS site which, for whatever reason, attract a lot of users of legacy IE browsers.  So I think that something like Virtual PC Image for IE5.01 and IE5.5 would still be very useful.  (Though perhaps less useful if they also fail WGA activation!)

  39. Aaron says:

    I made a mistake and run WGA. Now, it keeps coming up the notice that "You may be a victim of software counterfeiting."

    This keeps happening, eventhough I delete the vhd file and extracted a clean one again from IE6AC_VPC.EXE. I also tried deleting the virtual machine and recreating it.

  40. Tom Robinson says:

    I would like to add that an IE5.5 version would be very useful. Yes, it has a very small market share overall, but if a client uses IE5.5 as its approved corporate browser then you have no choice but to support it.

    I’d also like to say thanks for providing the Virtual Machine image, it’s a great idea and I’d love to see more (especially for beta software, like you’ve done for Orcas).

  41. EH says:


    i second the wish for a VHD with IE7.

    Would be very helpful…



  42. Anees says:

    is it possible to actually go ahead and use the VHD by activating it with a actual VLK ? it would save the trouble of doing cutom modifications to the image again and again .

  43. Pauline says:

    Hi probably wrong question for here but don’t know where else to ask it!! Can I still use IE6 with vista? I hate IE7 it takes up too much room on my screen and is not customisable enough for me. If not, then can I use Firefox with Vista please? Many thanks

  44. David says:

    I too would like to see a VHD with IE 7.

    Since IE 7 affects system components, it can cause compatibility problems with more than just websites.  So you wouldn’t want to use it as your primary browser.

    Besides, the VHD might make a nice trial version that might drive adoption rates higher.

  45. regimages says:

    Thanks for your messages,But

    I am got same errors "You may be a victim of software piracy" how to fix?

  46. Kevin S. says:

    I’ve been using the IE6 VPC Refresh for a week now but today I keep getting a message on startup that says:

    "You may be the victim of software counterfeiting. Click Resolve Now to get help with this problem."

    Plus there’s the Windows Genuine Advantage message box on the desktop.

    Is there some wrong with this image. It worked fine last week? I don’t want to have to go to a client’s office and have those messages popping up while we’re testing.

  47. Kevin S. says:

    Further to my comment about the IE6 VPC Refresh not validating, I ran the MGADiag.exe on both my host and IE6 VPC. My host was genuine of course, but my IE6 VPC was:

    Validation Status: Blocked PID

    etailed Status: N/A

    Windows Product Key: *****-*****-9QPMB-M3M6D-MPBGB

    Windows Product Key Hash: Te4H+G75uuiovK4YKMfUC/gOWjo=

    Windows Product ID: 55274-016-1677284-22457

    Windows Product ID Type: 5

    Windows License Type: Retail

    Windows OS version:

    ID: febd36a9-d697-4cce-b37f-641d1884a28a

    Is Admin: Yes


    Registry: 0x0

    WGA Version: Registered,

    Signed By: Microsoft

    Product Name: N/A

    Architecture: N/A

    Build lab: N/A

    TTS Error: N/A

    Validation Diagnostic:

    Resolution Status: N/A

    Notifications Data–>

    Cached Result: 11

    File Exists: Yes


    WgaTray.exe Signed By: Microsoft

    WgaLogon.dll Signed By: Microsoft


    I have other VPCs that all validate, it’s only the IE6 VPC that is not validating. Judging from the comments it seems other people are having validation issues as well.

  48. PeteLe says:

    We’re seeing this validation error and I’m trying to figure it out now.  Not sure what the root cause it yet, but I hope to have an update or new image in the next few days.


  49. Marioooooo says:

    For all you microsoft haters, why don’t you go learn how to develop for another platform, or make up your own platform so you can stop complaining about microsoft. Oh wait a second, you’ll complain about that somehow too. I gues you can’t please everyone. MSFT was nice enough to provide a VHD to test your apps. That’s more than most companies will do.

    Anyhow…..Can you post details on how you were able to get the VHD to less than 500 MB?

  50. Nelle says:

    This copy of Windows did not pass genuine validation. The product key found on this computer was reported as stolen or lost.

    The product key is a unique identifier assigned by Microsoft only to genuine Windows software.


    But I like the fact that the new image is about half the size (was 2,6 GB and the new one is approx < 1,4 GB) …

    Maybe if you turn off the WGA, it would be even smaller ๐Ÿ™‚

    Take your time, we developers know what it is like to be under deadline pressure …

  51. Michael says:

    Yes, I am a victim, but not of software counterfeiting.

    I am a victim of a cruel April Fool’s joke perpetrated by Microsoft’s annoying Genuine "Advantage" checker.

  52. IEBlog says:

    Hello! Just wanted to give you a quick update that weโ€™ve dropped two new VPC images that you can use

  53. PeteL's Blog says:

    Cross posted from the IE Blog Hello! Just wanted to give you a quick update that weโ€™ve dropped two new

Skip to main content