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I work on a Mac, but most of my users are on Windows. What's an easy way to test my websites in IE 7, 8, & 9? Wine seems kinda buggy and unfriendly.

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Wine is kind of unfriendly, but I have used PlayOnMac before which greatly improves the user experience. It has a GUI installer for Internet Explorer and might be worth a try before setting up a VM. –  gtmtg Aug 2 '12 at 16:11
    
Microsoft now has free Mac virtual machines just for this purpose. modern.ie/en-us/virtualization-tools –  Tom Dworzanski Jul 7 at 4:46
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8 Answers 8

up vote 9 down vote accepted
  1. Download and Install the free Oracle Virtualbox Virtual Machine software

  2. Utilize the scripts noted in the OS X Daily article Internet Explorer for Mac the Easy Way: Run IE 7, IE8, & IE9 Free in a Virtual Machine to download, convert and install Microsoft's free IE Testing VMs to be used on VirtualBox.

We’re going to walk you through how to install Internet Explorer 7, 8, or 9 in a virtual machine running Windows, directly in Mac OS X – for free. This is achieved by using the freely available VirtualBox software from Oracle, and combining that with free Internet Explorer testing virtual machines from Microsoft

Here is the scripts presented in the Article:

...

Install ALL versions of Internet Explorer: IE7, IE 8, and IE 9

curl -s https://raw.github.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | bash

Install Internet Explorer 7 Only

curl -s https://raw.github.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | IEVMS_VERSIONS="7" bash

...

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These instructions are potentially outdated. Microsoft now distributes Windows + IE 6-11 VMs for web developers in a variety of formats at modern.ie/en-us/virtualization-tools –  Anirvan Sep 28 '13 at 7:32
    
Anirvan, I tried that link and it all seems to be about subscription services (after free trial). Also many of the links don't go anywhere/ Not a solution I can recommend in the current form. –  Michael Durrant Sep 28 '13 at 11:54
    
go to that link, and click "Download a Virtual Machine" (instead of the Browserstack link). I have step by step instructions at apple.stackexchange.com/a/103564/1777 –  Anirvan Sep 28 '13 at 15:23
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I have the perfect solution! In 2013, Microsoft released a free officially-supported solution to help Mac developers test with Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 on Macs:

  1. Go to http://www.modern.ie/en-us/virtualization-tools
  2. Select your desired testing OS ("Mac")
  3. Pick a virtualization platform from among VMWare, Parallels, and VirtualBox. If in doubt, choose VirtualBox (which you can download from the VirtualBox site)
  4. Follow the directions to download VMs for the version of IE + Windows you want
  5. If you're confused, check the detailed instructions from Microsoft and from Rey Bango

Hope this helps.

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Virtualization is definitely the way to go. There's VirtualBox as mentioned above, which is a free open source project. There are also two commercial offerings, Parallels and VMWare Fusion. Both of those have free trials so you can evaluate what might work best.

If you're wondering why to pay when VirtualBox is free, Parallels and Fusion are both commercially developed and supported software. If you run into problems, you can get help, rather than spend time searching for answers yourself. Additionally, VirtualBox is cross-platform, so it has fewer Mac niceties, and it's more of a DIY product - no quick setup or anything.

But you can make the call for yourself. TidBITS has a fairly recent article comparing Parallels and Fusion, with a good section on VirtualBox as well, and Ars Technica has a pretty comprehensive comparison of the latest versions of Parallels and Fusion.

Hope that's useful for you!

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The age old question for web designers…

VirtualBox is awesome, but a pain to have multiple versions of Windows taking up space on your hard drive. Another option is using VirtualBox and only installing and running an app like ietester which is only available for Windows but allows you to render multiple versions of IE in one window.

Finally, my personal option of choice is a website called browserstack, You have to pay for it but it's really cheap and well worth it if this is how you make your living. I also own a Windows laptop just for doing thse kind of tests but more often than not use browserstack instead.

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Ah, I remember the days of space being an issue in these decisions. Nowadays my 500GB drive seems to help quite a lot. –  Michael Durrant Nov 29 '12 at 12:33
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I wish space wasn't an issue, all of my machines are 500gb plus and by the time I have my apps loaded (adobe master suite, autocad and ableton live+native instruments are the real space hogs here) my hard drive is feeling pretty stuffed already! let alone giving up the hundred odd gig of space it takes to run 5 different versions of windows. –  InfluenceJamie Nov 30 '12 at 3:45
    
Yeah, but all I am looking to use is browsers. I certainly would not want to use Adobe image manipulation tools through an emulator given the drag-drop and other interactivity issues there would be. –  Michael Durrant Apr 6 '13 at 22:48
    
crossbrowsertesting.com is also a useful and inexpensive site. It will also allow you local machine access in case you're need to do redirects to a local reverse proxy when you're testing. –  recklesscoder Apr 15 '13 at 19:59
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http://www.spoon.net is fantastic tool and the reason I prefer it is it installs just the browsers, and side-by-side with your other programs in task bar. It works like a charm, however it is commercial, $12 a month, $60 per year. They plan to publish the app. on Mac soon.

IETester is OK for some basic testing, but it doesn’t handle scripts correctly and therefore is not a 100% reliable testing solution.

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Just thought I would add to this as I just found a great new free tool to view IE on a mac. Download "Sauce" from the mac app store. I have been using Virtualbox the last two years and this is much easier to install, doesn't have huge VM files, and the interface is much smoother. Sauce also has the ability to preview in IE 10 (which is complete crap). There is also another cloud based app called browser stack. Tried the free version and the interface is nice but it does cost some $$.

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In addition to virtualization there's Codeweaver's CrossOver

http://www.codeweavers.com

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I don't have enough reputation to post a comment on @Anirvan's answer which helped me greatly. I'd just like to add that Rey Bango's blog which advocates for security reasons to set Windows Update to automatic causes a problem since IE gets auto-updated as well! MS has created separate auto-blockers for IE 9 through 11. I downloaded all the auto-blocker scripts and created a wrapper to call them on Dropbox. Extract the contents of the zip file and run IE9-11_blocker.cmd to block IE 9 through 11.

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