IE Testing VPC Images Updated


Just wanted to get a post out to let people know that we’ve updated the IE VPC Test images. These images are meant to make it easier for you to ensure your website works properly across different browser versions and different operating systems without having to have a separate box dedicated to that particular OS. You can download them via the IE Developer Center or more directly through the Microsoft Download Center. As a reminder, you need to have Virtual PC installed on your computer which is also available on the Download Center.

Available for download are the following VPC’s:

  • Windows XP with SP3, Internet Explorer 6, expiring August 31, 2009
  • Windows XP with SP3, Internet Explorer 7, expiring August 31, 2009
  • Windows XP with SP3, Internet Explorer 8, expiring August 31, 2009
  • Windows Vista Business, Internet Explorer 7, expires 120 days after first run
  • Windows Vista Business, Internet Explorer 8, expires 120 days after first run

If you’re curious about why you shouldn’t use tools like IETester or other tools that allow you to run multiple versions of IE on the same box (Frankenbuilds), check out this blog post on my blog.

Thanks!
PEte LePage

Comments (33)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Signs your software is poorly engineered #2532: The only way you can run multiple versions is by emulating an entire computer and its operating system.

    Here’s a crazy thought, maybe if you hadn’t mashed your product with the underlying OS as part of your anti-competition strategy, you wouldn’t have saddled web developers with this crap. Maybe instead of pursuing this ridiculous practice of forcing people to download gigs of timebombed VPC images every three months, you could fetch some old milestones from the SCM, rip out the OS dependencies, and release them as standalone versions? But, will you do it? Of course not!

    Why do you hate web developers so much Microsoft!? Why do you hate us!? Why why why!?

  2. Pink Duck says:

    I love the way you told us what has been updated in these images to make it worth spending time downloading them. Is it just the expiry date?

  3. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @PinkDuck: Yes, the intent of the updated image is to update the expiration date; the old VPC images recently expired.

  4. Matt says:

    Uh, why shouldn’t I be using IETester? It doesn’t touch any system-level DLLs. All the various IE versions’ DLLs it uses are contained within its Program Files folder, and it’s a damn sight easier  than installing a whole sodding virtual machine for every version of IE I have to test against.

  5. Dave says:

    Why do you do this? Every time my testing images expire I have to set up each Virtual machine AGAIN and AGAIN with all the plugins I need to do CSS debugging.

    Just give us some [—-]ing images that don’t expire!

  6. Sean Hogan says:

    Thanks for updating the images.

    Can I second the request for non-expiring images?

  7. Hm, nice of Microsoft to provide a solution like this, even if the timebomb would be annoying. Not sure how many people would take advantage of a VPC image that requires Windows to run anyway.

    You can always build your own images, setup the way you want. I have an XP Home license I installed under VMware Fusion. Once all but IE6 was updated, I made a copy and installed IE7, and again for IE8. It’s not like they change much after that. Then I can launch whichever one I want to test. The main problem is that it takes up so much disk space (for a laptop), but if testing JavaScript-rich web sites, there seems no better way.

    I wouldn’t mind knowing some of the IE plugins people use to test.

  8. No, they do not hate you, they love you:

    Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview

    http://blogs.msdn.com/xweb/archive/2009/03/18/Microsoft-Expression-Web-SuperPreview-for-Windows-Internet-Explorer.aspx

    And they even mentioned IETester which is not a 100% solution but quite practical in my opinion.

  9. Jacob says:

    @Matt: IETester is great but it does have some flaws.

    1.) It opens ALL popups in a new tab within its structure (which is normally fine) but when your popup tries to call something or do something on the opener… it barfs hard.

    2.) When a script error occurs (e.g. College Humor – IE6) it often sends you into an endless loop of popups.

    3.) The VPC images will at least let you install other apps to test things out (e.g. certain versions of flash, acrobat etc.)

    But don’t get me wrong… IETester is MUCH EASIER to use than Virtual PC images.

  10. Steven Roussey says:

    I’m using Window 7 with XP Mode to get IE6 for testing. Since it is already installed, is there a way to get it to Auto-Publish so it doesn’t require the whole desktop, etc?

  11. Whoa! It sure hurts to be a professional web developer that uses VPC HD when you’ll need a system with 924821MB free disk space (plus another 2TBs for the host OS and developer tools), god-knows-how-much amounts of RAM for VPC and patience for each of the VPC HDs to boot up!

    Oh, No. VPC images offer little extra manuverability over other options and some ignorable reliablity. It is an expensive investment for very little return.

    And Let’s fact it: Even Microsoft itself doesn’t believe in using VPC. Just look at Windows Live and see for yourself.

  12. Whoa! It sure hurts to be a professional web developer that uses VPC HD when you’ll need a system with 924821MB free disk space (plus another 2TBs for the host OS and developer tools), god-knows-how-much amounts of RAM for VPC and patience for each of the VPC HDs to boot up!

    Oh, No. VPC images offer little extra manuverability over other options and some ignorable reliablity. It is an expensive investment for very little return.

    And Let’s face it: Even Microsoft itself doesn’t believe in using VPC. Just look at Windows Live and see for yourself.

  13. Dan says:

    >Even Microsoft itself doesn’t believe in using VPC

    When you say silly things like that, you ruin your own credibility.  When you do it twice, you look doubly foolish.

  14. 8675309 says:

    when are we going to see a win. 7 vpc image?

  15. Thanks for the update. It would be appreciated if you could supply new images next time BEFORE they expire?

    As others said, it would be great if non-time-bombed images could be provided, maybe not to the general public, but maybe to MSDN or Gold (or higher) partners.

  16. V says:

    If you all of us running VPC instead of IETester or something like that, please make sure all of the VPCs have difference UUID by default…

  17. If you are looking to follow this series, be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed at http://feeds.jasongaylord

  18. ASPInsiders says:

    If you are looking to follow this series, be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed at http://feeds.jasongaylord.com/JasonNGaylord

  19. Jon says:

    Why was the comment I posted here last night deleted? It contained no offensive language. Censoring criticism of your approach does not fix anything!

    @ Viktor Krammer

    They only mentioned IETester in the context of "don’t use it"! SuperPrrview doesn’t let you run IE7 and IE8 side by side, doesn’t let you use developer tools and doesn’t provide a full browsing experience with element interaction. It’s just for visual comparison.

    What’s needed is standalone versions of each browser version, but Microsoft won’t provide them, and don’t want other people providing them,  because it would weaken their position in  potential antitrust hearings. Instead they continue to insist the browser and OS are so intermingled as to make them inseparable.    

  20. Bart says:

    If you don’t want us to use tools like IETester, then provide an actual tool that we can use to test the multiple active versions of IE.  

    You cannot say it cannot be done.  IETester manages 90% of it without all insider information of MS.  Funny how 3rd parties always manage to do what MS says is totally impossible.

    VPCs is not a good solution.  When you are doing subtle testing or quick changes to see what works to fix things, spending 10 minutes switching between instances to check if it worked across all has 0 value.  10 second change, 10 minutes to load things up and see if it worked.  Time = money.  The solution you are suggesting is less cost effective than buying 3 super cheap computers and loading a different version of IE on each.  That is truly sad and pathetic when the solution you are suggesting is free.  

    There is the old developer saying…. estimate the time to do it right, then add 50% for debugging IE.  With solutions like this, that saying is going to continue to carry weight for years to come.  

    As for the Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview…. looked like a great idea, sounds like a wonderful tool, but it lacks in execution.  Pete mentioned not knowing what sort of frankenbuild you will get with IETester…. well IETester has yet to fubar my windows install into an un-retrievable state.  Can’t say as much for Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview.  Thanks for the need to do a fresh windows install.

    Give us a real/functional/usable tool and we’ll give you a break.

  21. Probably the best solution is building your own test environment with VMWare. Once the images are set up, they never expire and load within seconds.

    >Run IE7 and IE8 side-by-side

    Actually, this is what IE8 compatibility mode does with the addition of developer tools and a nice script debugger.

    Again, compatibility mode is not a 100% accurate solution but quite practical for most Web sites to see how they would look and interact in IE7.

  22. Will Peavy says:

    @MSFT – Awesome. Thanks for updating.

  23. Jim Frantzen says:

    Are the Vista 2/3 rar’s are corrupt? I’ve tried downloading them several times. Do you have md5’s?

    Extracting Vista Business with IE7.vhd

    Extracting from IE7-VIS2.rar

    CRC failed in Vista Business with IE7.vhd

    Extracting from IE7-VIS3.rar

    Extracting Vista Business with IE7.vhd

    Extracting VPC_Vista and IE 7.rtf

  24. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @Jon– Rules for comments on IEBlog are posted here: http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2004/07/22/191629.aspx

  25. Brian LePore says:

    Can we have an IE6 image that does not include SP3? SP3 upgrades IE’s Jscript version to 5.7, the same as IE7. This means that there is no way to test with Jscript 5.6, the default version that comes with IE6. Yes, people should upgrade to the latest Service Packs for their operating system, but that isn’t always the case.

    Let me get this straight on available versions of IE for various instances of Microsoft products:

    IE6 with JScript 5.6 (all installs of IE up to XP SP3)

    IE6 with JScript 5.7 (XP SP3)

    IE6 with JScript 5.8 (IE on Windows Mobile 6.5)

    IE7 with JScript 5.7 (all IE7 installs)

    IE8 with JScript 5.8 (all IE8 installs).

    So when do we get IE7 with JScript 5.8 to really make this difficult? :-p

  26. Dan says:

    Brian, Microsoft released JS5.7 as a download for IE6 users, so it’s a little misleading to suggest that only XPSP3 users will have it.

    While it might be nice for the VPCs to offer a broader range of customizability, delivering the "fully patched" version accounts for the most likely end-user configuration.

    Not much changed between JScript 5.6 and 5.7.

  27. I didn’t know about these test images until last week, I downloaded them at work and using them.

    But I got some questions about them since I am a Mac OS X user (don’t got windows at home).

    1. There is a Virtual PC for Mac (wich seem to be non-free) does the license allow you to use those images on Virtual PC for Mac?

    2. If so, could you provide the images in another  more common format like .zip? (.exe installation doesn’t run on Mac OS X ;-))

    3. Since I don’t have Virtual PC for Mac and I don’t want to waist so much money on it, am I allowed to convert the Virtual PC images to the Virtual Box format (there is a tool distributed with Virtual Box which allows to do so)?

    Thanks in advanced for replying and the great work you guys did with IE8 🙂

  28. TI says:

    You don’t have to use Microsoft’s VPC to run the IE images. VirtualBox (cross-platform and free) is capable of using the images if you follow the right steps.

    http://zytzagoo.net/blog/2009/03/20/howto-running-ie6-ie7-and-ie8-on-ubuntu-intrepid-810-using-virtualbox/

  29. Hi Peter,

    I am using Vista x86 SP1 and developing with VS2005, VS2008 and Expression Studio. I cannot work out how to address the Vista localhost from my VHD images. I wonder if you could point me in the right direction, and/or provide documentation on the VHD download site for common testing scenarios/configurations.

  30. Rob^_^ says:

    Ok. That was easy.(a new download and install prompted a rethink). From your VI right click on My Computer and select Properties – Computer Name tab, "Change" button. Change your Workgroup name to that used on your host machine (default "WORKGROUP"). You will be prompted to reboot your VI.

    On your host machine, open File Explorer and add Shares to the folders that you want access to.

  31. IE Tester 와 Multiple IE 둘다 이제 믿지 못함… 그냥 귀찮지만, Virtual PC로… 완전 뒤통수 맞아서 헤롱헤롱…

  32. jestempies says:

    Expecting an average web designer to run 5 virtual machines all the time is ridiculous. Create an application that starts in less than a minute and lets me easily test sites in all the versions of IE.

    Yeah, I know, those images are better than nothing. But only that much better.