New on modern.IE: Free VM Downloads, Windows 8 QuickStart Kits, Enhanced Code-Scanning Tools, and More

Today, we are updating modern.IE with enhanced tools and resources to help you test your sites for modern browsers like Internet Explorer 9 and 10, while also helping you support older versions of browsers. These enhancements address the most common feedback, suggestions, and requests that we have received from enthusiastic users since introducing the site in January.

With today’s update, we are making available a new offer, new downloads, and tool enhancements on modern.IE. Some highlights include:

  • Order a Windows QuickStart Kit for Mac Developers, including Parallels Desktop 8 and Windows 8 on a USB stick shipped to you for a $25 donation to select charities  (Update 10:45am PDT 4/2/2013: The Windows Quickstart offer sold out quickly. Given how popular these were, we will look into making other offers available in the near future.)
  • Download new virtual machines for IE10 on Windows 7 and IE8 on Windows XP
  • Scan a Web page URL now identifies more interoperability issues, even for sites located behind a firewall.
  • Availability in 18 languages

We continue to offer 3 months of free BrowserStack access so you can easily test across browsers and OS platforms without changing your primary development environment.

We are excited to see the developer reception to modern.IE so far. We appreciate the thoughtful feedback in tweets and suggestions you have offered on ways we can help save time and improve how you test your Web experiences. Today’s modern.IE release incorporates much of that feedback. Please do keep the comments coming, as we will continue to update the site regularly.

For the Mac user: Get the Windows QuickStart Kit including Windows 8 with Parallels Desktop 8

We heard that the most common way you test across browsers is through virtualization of browser and operating system combinations using your favorite virtualization platform, such as Hyper-V, VMWare, VirtualBox, or Parallels. However, costs to purchase software and licensing can be difficult if you’re that startup looking for your first big breakthrough.

Today we’re making it just a little easier with a new combo offer: We’ll ship you a copy of Windows 8 and Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac virtualization on a USB stick for a $25 donation to your favorite charity, courtesy of our friends at Swish(Update 10:45am PDT 4/2/2013: The Windows Quickstart offer sold out quickly. Given how popular these were, we will look into making other offers available in the near future.)

We only have a limited supply available. You can get the details and pre-order here.

Download new virtual machines

You told us that you want to be able to access as many testing environments as possible with minimal extra effort. Today we announce new virtual machines that are available for free:

  • IE10 on Windows 7
  • IE8 on Windows XP

We also received lots of feedback from developers on Mac and Linux concerning how to simplify your testing experience. We have added Parallels for Mac images for all IE versions. Many of you had some challenges downloading the VMs previously, and in response, we have updated the VM installation process to be simpler. Complete download information is available here.

Scan a Web page URL for common coding issues: Enhanced tools now also run behind a firewall

Based on your feedback and experience, we have enhanced the scan a Web page URL tool to provide more flexibility and to offer more detailed and actionable guidance. Over the past two months, you have scanned hundreds of thousands of URLs – from top sites like Facebook, Pandora, and Yahoo! to the local pizza store near you. We have studied the most common coding issues reported on these sites and looked at which issues resulted in fixes or enhancements to the site. We also received hundreds of new ideas directly from the community. The result was a set of new enhancements that make the scanner a more complete testing solution for your site:

  • Scan your Web pages behind a firewall: The most common feedback we heard is that today, so many sites include authentication, are internal or commercial line-of-business Web apps, or are otherwise not available to the public Internet. Now, you can install a local instance of modern.IE to scan your code while keeping your project secure from others (including Microsoft). Install it through node.js and access your site via localhost.
  • Deeper scan for common IE compatibility issues: We heard from you that the first step when testing for IE is knowing whether your site is on the Compatibility View list, but what you really want to know is how to fix the underlying compatibility issues. Now on modern.IE, you can scan your site using our Compat Inspector tool using browser automation, provided by Sauce Labs, without adding a single line of code to your site.  The result is a line-item list of suggested fixes.
  • Breakpoint detection for responsively designed sites – We found that you were most interested in learning how to adapt your Web experiences to support the growing range of devices – from phones and tablets to the big screen IE on XBOX. About 20% of top traffic and influential sites now offer some form of mobile-optimized experience – a significant growth in the past year. The scan a Web page URL tool now has built-in logic to detect when a Web page has been optimized for the common horizontal screen resolutions (or “breakpoints”). While we recommend that you let your site’s content determine which breakpoints to build for, we do suggests the most common ones across a range of devices.
  • Touch-optimization detection: As touch support evolves toward a Web standard, we also learned that sites currently implement touch support in a variety of ways. modern.IE now detects Touch functionality across multiple JavaScript-, HTML-, and CSS- based techniques.
  • Browser plug-ins: Recently we announced that Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 and Windows RT have been updated to enable Flash content to run by default. If you want to check to see if your site is on the Flash CV block list, you can now scan for this on modern.IE.

We have also made dozens of bug fixes in the scanning tool to handle Web pages that used less common practices or frameworks & libraries. If you scanned a Web page and got an error, we encourage you to try it again!

modern.IE for the World-Wide Web

modern.IE will be available in 18 languages throughout the next two days, making it a bit easier for site developers around the world. The supported languages include Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese (Simplified, Traditional, and Hong Kong), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (Spain and Latin America), Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

modern.IE – Testing made easier

We will continue to enhance modern.IE with your help. Please continue to share your feedback on this resource. Please continue to let us know what you like, and what we’re missing!

— Sandeep Singhal, Group Program Manager, Internet Explorer

Comments (29)

  1. Brian LePore says:

    Maybe it's just because I'm sick right now, but I don't see how the documentation on how to design a site for an Xbox really helps _unless_ you design a separate site for a TV browser (so not just Xbox, but for Wii and Playstation as well). Unless responsive design somehow knows how far away the user is from the screen using a method I have never heard of?

    Honestly, wasn't the answer to designing for consoles to use the media attribute for the link tag to set it to tv? I'm aware that print and screen were the only values that anyone ever seemed to actually implement, but isn't that what we should be using here? Maybe a combination of that with media queries?

  2. giuseppe says:

    hey, who would seriously want IE11 for testing when you can have IE10 on Windows 7 VM? Brilliant!

  3. pmbAustin says:

    Any improvements to "Developer Tools" coming in IE11?

  4. Sam D says:

    Too bad listed as sold out now 🙁

  5. David D says:

    yah, holy exploding commodes Batman that deal for the QuickStart kit went fast… must have been like 10 of them available or something 🙁  I hope you guys will release more, obviously the demand is high.


  6. Patrik says:

    Sold out before I even knew this existed.. nice job -.-

  7. Vlad Sanchez says:

    You better be paying attention MS, the message is loud and clear, Mac users want to develop for your Phone/OS, WE JUST NEED A RELIABLE / TURNKEY ENV TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

  8. Vlad Sanchez says:

    You better be paying attention MS, the message is loud and clear, Mac users want to develop for your Phone/OS, WE JUST NEED A RELIABLE / TURNKEY ENV TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

    They were all gone before the word was out! I'd pay $99 (just like the Apple Developer License) to get a competitive product for Windows8.

    Take note… Do it again say at charity price of $50 and you'd be surprised!!!

  9. A message from a loyal user says:

    Dear IE team personnel,

    Take a deep dive into Firefox inspector, Firebug for Firefox, Chrome inspector, Opera and Safari developer tools. You would be looking especially for ease of access as in flexibility, integration of layout engine resulting in prompt change in rendered page (as we edit) and unique features such as Firefox's 3d view of layout and Chrome's mobile testing by changing the screen size in addition to UA string.

    Once you finish enlisting all the features and observing even more possible enhancements, create a new C++ project for IE and implement all the features. Name the project F12 Developer Tool.

    Points to keep in mind:

    – Besides color picker and ruler, please DO NOT pick anything from existing F12 developer tools.

    – Please DO NOT try to enhance existing F12 developer tools.

    – After the release achieve the old F12DT project, meaning roll out this update for both IE9 and IE10.

    For more information on what the average web-developer needs:…/extensibility-in-f12-developer-tools.

    I really hope IE team would come up with some extra treat. But its being a long time F12DT is left orphaned.

  10. Fabrice says:

    An alternative for Debugging on IE is DebugBar ( http::// ). The tool is in active development right now. You might also want to try IETester (…/HomePage ) which is completely free, fast and useful for quick tests

    Hope this helps.

  11. Sam Parmenter says:

    I don't quite understand what the idea of this was. If you genuinely want mac users to test their sites on windows properly then leave this offer open. Most of us would pay $50 for parallels and windows 8 but we couldn't care less about MS, we simply want to be able to make our sites work a little better on windows. As others have said, sort out your developer tools as well because everyone is used to working with firebug or the webkit developer tools which absolutely slaughter IE's poor imitations.

    I would genuinely be amazed if there are any developers out there who use IE as their primary browser to develop in.

    You have millions of fans world wide MS, perhaps its time you started meeting them half way and give them the tools to help you in return.

  12. Terry says:

    I can't agree more with suggestions about F12 developer tools. Let Expression Studio guys do dev tools' UI and usability. Hire someone from Visual Studio team to bring about some richness in features because there is no doubt about how useful the Page Inspect is for developers. But still, if we have all those functionality of Page Inspector (integration with VS, locating corresponding server code. live change in server code from client etc.) and Firebug in F12 tools, it would be a gift for web-developers all around the globe.

  13. Brad says:

    I would vote to remove the F12 dev tools altogether, just use Visual Studio for all webpage building/debugging. The current VS Javascript debugger is great! If you can add performance tuning options, a better HTML split view, and a better way to inspect the DOM from VS, it would be perfect. Also the ability to edit and continue would be amazing.

  14. .. pity says:

    .. it appears as though I missed the train on this. Pity, as it was probably the only way we'd be able to test on Wintel.

    As we've purged Wintel from our organisation, procuring Win 8 is virtually impossible…

    Well never mind .. I don't think we'll ever be back on Wintel again so perhaps it would have been a waste of time to verify on ie anyway.

  15. Martijn says:

    Apple should provide such a VM, too.

  16. says:


  17. Larry says:

    My overall impression of IE10 is good but I wanna bring two issues up. They probably have been reported multiple times already

    #1 I'm using IE10 on my Windows Sever 2008R2 64-bit, and I find it hard to tell which tab is the one I'm currently on by looking at the tab bar when multiple tabs are open. I have no such issue with Chrome or Firefox. The current one clearly stands on those two browsers and yet on IE it's hard to tell. Imagine I'm done with the current tab and wanna close it. It's annoying when you look at the bar you cannot tell easily which one is the current one to close.

    #2 The spell-check is still not working. Come on, guys. Firefox had it working like a century ago. What is it that you guys cannot get sth this simple done?

  18. Larry says:

    Also is there a way to customize the do-not-track list to include the Ads sites I personally dislike?

  19. Kazuhito says:

    First of all, thank you so much for providing great resources on modern.IE.

    I downloaded IE6 virtual machine for Mac Parallels. It worked (basically), but I couldn't display Japanese web pages, because I couldn't install Language Pack on the virtual machine.

    Could you kindly provide information about how to display Japanese fonts on the virtual machine? Thank you.

  20. Solid Snake 2 says:

    Would be wonderful if you build a release of IE11 for Windows XP, Vista and 7 and just forcefully install on every machine running Windows in the world. Its a big investment for the success of whole ecosystem.


    Lets get serious..

    Having said that, F12 dev tools suggestion by other users are MUST have in IE11. IE team should forget about HTML5 standards for this release and fix the issues with the whole 1990's UI and F12 dev tools. There is a room for enhancements in Firebug and others. Being a big brother, IE team can go beyond those limitations and provide the full blown dev solutions for web developers across the world!

    For example one limitation in Firebug is, there is no history of edits in HTML and CSS, if the page is reloaded. Then, we cannot paste multiple properties at once in CSS side (the work around is we have to add new attribute; style and provide the inline element).

    I don't really understand why are you guys stalling this request? I am sure resources and man power is not a problem for IE team to roll out an ever-thrashing and ever-thriving tool. If lack of seriousness is the issue, then look at the graphs of the dropping IE usage in last five years and spin a survey to know how many developers use F12 dev tools. I am sure the dead motivation would come back to life.

    I guess if IE team borrow Mads Kristensen (the DotNet slave) of Microsoft for few days, he would make F12 dev tools 100 times better than its current condition. Just wondering, has anyone in IE team ever created a website since after 2010? And have they tried Firebug? Its seems very unlikely because if there would be someone among IE team who had worked with tools provided by other browser, they can't think of anything but to fork the ideas and merge them into F12DT repository.

    Or a simple solution would be to make the F12DT project public on Codeplex or Github and let the community thrive it beyond the boundaries of sandboxes.

    Hopefully someone at Microsoft is reading these comments. If you are, then know it we love you and we are really really hopeful that IE11 won't be a setback for front-end testers and developers!  :o)

  21. Blake says:

    So does this mean that with all these new efforts on standards based code and auto-updating that the fixes for the Textarea selection bug are expected pronto?

    It is really frustrating that your new IE10 browser on 3 platforms (Windows 8 Metro, Windows 8 Desktop, & Windows 7 Desktop) suffers from a major usability bug!

  22. Blake says:

    So does this mean that with all these new efforts on standards based code and auto-updating that the fixes for the Textarea selection bug are expected pronto?

    It is really frustrating that your new IE10 browser on 3 platforms (Windows 8 Metro, Windows 8 Desktop, & Windows 7 Desktop) suffers from a major usability bug!

  23. Gérard Talbot says:

    To Sandeep Singhal [MSFT]

    "Avoid the use of the "!important" rule at all costs."

    Why should !important rules be avoided? I may agree with such recommendation but currently parg #14 does not explain such recommendation (reasons why).


    "Use a build process with tools to (…) minify files"

    Minifying may reduce file size but very often at the detriment of code maintainability. The best policy to adopt IMO is to optimize (CSS and/or JS) code (making code more compact, more versatile) and not to minify (CSS and/or JS) code.


    Several of posted statements in  continue to promote IE6 and IE7 as browser versions worth coding for and that is very debattable, questionable. Except for a few Asian countries, IE6 and IE7 are practically not used in westerner countries. So why present IE6 and IE7 as browser versions worth coding for?

    Gérard Talbot

  24. Gérard Talbot says:

    To Dave Methvin, to Rey Bango and to Sandeep Singhal [MSFT]

    "A good set of build tools such as HTML validators, CSS validators"

    All of Microsoft-controlled websites and all of Microsoft-controlled webpages always have had dozens and dozens (if not hundreds) of HTML validation errors,

    including this very IE blog (103 errors with XHTML 1.0 Transitional),

    including (22 errors with HTML5) and

    including Code with Standards (!) (16 errors with HTML5). It has always been like that since 1997.



    11. Put JavaScript file references at the bottom of the HTML file.

    The browser must retrieve, parse, and execute a script file in the HTML markup before it can continue parsing the rest of the file, just in case the JavaScript writes new markup into the page. With scripts at the bottom, the browser can often render the page even before the scripts are completed, so that the user perceives the page as loading faster.


    This is a debattable code decision…otherwise I'm not sure what the parg means. If you want clean separation to exist between markup, presentation, and behavior, then JavaScript files should be in the <head> section and then the calls to javascript functions needed to be executed at load time, once markup code has been fully loaded (<body onload="init();">). You can not execute a script if its related DOM node has not been loaded, if it does not exist in memory.

    If you absolutely need to have a script block inside the markup code, then you should use the defer attribute so that parsing of the rest of the file can continue without writing new markup in the page.

    Gérard Talbot

  25. hAl says:

    @Gerard Talbot

    "Minifying may reduce file size but very often at the detriment of code maintainability. "

    Not if you use a build procedure, as is the advice here.

    Code files will not be minified where you maintain them when you are using a build porcedure to minify the files and thus there wil not be a decrease in maintainability.

  26. NitroOxy says:

    @Gérard Talbot   said "All of Microsoft-controlled websites and all of Microsoft-controlled webpages always have had dozens and dozens (if not hundreds) of HTML validation errors, "

    So is does user-data harvesting god Google's pages! Have you complained to them? Guess, you need to sign in with your G account for that. If they will enable anonymity and respect user privacy, they would be out of business in minutes… after all users' privacy is the only thing they are selling, everything else is free!

    So please stop bytching for few markup errors while other options in hand are worst.

  27. Gérard Talbot says:


    "Minifying may reduce file size but very often at the detriment of code maintainability. "

    > Not if you use a build procedure, as is the advice here.

    The web author may be keeping a copy of the code not minified so that (s)he can web-debug the page, maintain it, etc: that makes sense. But what about others who may be examining the code, reviewing the code? In such case, this would isolate the web author from others who may have more experience in webpage debugging.

    Minifying should be second to code optimization, to making code compact, to reducing redundancy, to using inheritance, to relying on browser defaults, etc.. Minifying by itself only remove blank white spaces.


    Deflecting the issue toward Google's user privacy does not change anything about Microsoft-controlled webpages and websites.

    To Dave Methvin, Rey Bango and Sandeep Singhal [MSFT]


    Any discussion about Microsoft’s support for web standards should begin with their corporate website. If Microsoft cared about web standards, you would expect them to use those standards on their own website.


    New webpages and new content created and published at and in Microsoft-controlled websites never pass HMTL and CSS validation; it's been like that since 1997. So, why should anyone take seriously (with no less than with the title "Code with Standards: 20 tips for building modern sites while supporting old versions of IE") when they say


    A good set of build tools such as HTML validators, CSS validators …


    It's a matter of practising what you preach and being consequent.

    Microsoft claims to be campaining to reduce the usage of IE6 ( ) … but, at the same time, Microsoft relentlessly create new pages, new tutorials about supporting old versions of IE like IE6 and IE7. Where's the coherence in all this?

    Gérard Talbot