If you’re unlucky enough to need to test web applications or sites against older versions of Internet Explorer, then using virtual machines is the obvious way to go, with the only downside being they tend to eat a lot of disk space.
If you’re a Mac/Linux user, or simply don’t want to create a VM just to install a legacy browser, then you can use these Microsoft VHDs (one for IE 7, 8 and 9), which run on VirtualBox. Of course there’s no IE6, because we’re not too concerned about how our websites look for people in China running pirated versions of Windows anymore.
If you’re a Windows user, you might say “Hey, I already have IE9 – I can use the in built developer tools to drop back to emulate previous versions!”. Well yes, yes you can – however it seems that emulation isn’t entirely accurate. Read more here on Stackoverflow: Why does my page work in IE9's IE7 mode, but not in IE7 itself?
If virtual machines aren’t an option for you, then you could look at IE Tester, which is mentioned in the above thread. IE Tester also does let you emulate the horror that is IE6 (as well as IE 5.5!), which is useful for those of you trying to sell to Chinese software pirates. While it’s not perfect, it seems to do a pretty good job of breaking websites almost as well as the respective browsers, leaving your only problem being how to fix them.
Tags: Internet Explorer, Web Development