A New Way to Test Internet Explorer on OS X, iOS and Android

Today, the Internet Explorer team is launching a new tool to make it easier to test sites in IE regardless of which platform you’re on; seriously! Don’t believe me? Here are some Vines to show you it in action:

The tool is called RemoteIE and is designed to offer a virtualized version of the latest version of IE. This allows you to test out the latest version of IE without have to have a virtual machine installed.

Getting it all Setup

I ran through the steps to use the tool myself and wanted to document everything in case you run into any hiccups.

First, head on over to https://remote.modern.ie/ which will take you to this page:


You’ll need a Microsoft account to use the service since it needs to associate the service to that account.


If you have a Live.com or Outlook.com you can use that or you can register for a new one. No, you don’t need to use those services for anything else if you don’t want to but they’ve actually gotten way better and it might be worth a look.

Next, you’ll want to select which server is closest to you so you have the best possible performance:


At which point you’ll be asked to download the Microsoft Remote Desktop app for whichever platform you want. This could be for

  • Mac OS X
  • iPhone or iPad
  • Android
  • Windows x86 or x64
  • Windows RT


As you can see, I was serious when I said this would be available cross-platform.

For this tutorial, I’ll be showing you how to get this up and running on OS X since I think that’s where a lot of the friction for web developers is. To do that you’ll need to download the app from the Apple App Store. Clicking on the “Mac” link will direct you to the online Apple store site.


Click on the “View in Mac App Store” button so that you can launch the App Store app on your Mac. You’ll be presented by a confirmation notice from Chrome (or your fav OS X browser) to launch the external app:


And after you confirm it you’ll be in the App Store entry:


In my case, I already had the app installed which is why it shows “Open”. If you don’t have it installed, go ahead and do so. Once you installed it, look for it in Finder:


or if you’re like me, use the awesome Alfred to find it:


Now, the next step is why I wanted to create this tutorial since it isn’t immediately obvious once you run Remote Desktop what to do. When you launch the app, if you take a look at the header, you’ll see an entry called “Microsoft RemoteApp“. That’s what you’ll want to click:


From there, you’ll now be asked for your Microsoft account information to determine what app subscriptions you have available:




Now that it’s figured out that you’re legit, you’ll see a dialog showing what your app subscriptions are:


Again, I want to help you avoid confusion here since the UX at this specific point is a little off. When you click on the checkbox for “Internet Explorer (email: iewebeco@microsoft.com)”, an entry for “Internet Explorer->IE Technical Preview” will be added to the main Microsoft Remote Desktop app BUT the dialog with the checkbox I just mentioned doesn’t disappear. See here:


So heads up. Once you see the entry in the main app that says “IE Technical Preview”, you can close the dialog box with the checkbox. You can see in the previous image how I highlighted the close dialog icon.

We’re almost done. Next, go ahead and double-click on “IE Technical Preview” to launch your virtualized version of IE. it’ll take just a minute to spin everything up so be patient:


And once it’s up, you have a full blown version of IE 11 Technical Preview ready for you. Notice in the following image how the F12 Developer Tools are there for you:


Read the Full Blog Post

This is a great new tool and it’ll definitely lower the friction to testing on the latest version of IE but there are some limitations that should be noted including the inability to access the local file system. It be great if that were possible but VMs can be tricky to deal with, especially from a security perspective.

So now that you’ve got this all setup, be sure to head over to the IE blog and read up on RemoteIE to get all the details about this new awesome tool.

Rey Bango


      • When I sign in to Microsoft Remote Desktop it says “It looks like you don’t have access to any remote app programs. Would you like to see some demo apps?” then I get apps like Excell , Paint , Visio etc but no IE. How can I get it ?

        • Hey Lukasz, you’ll get an email telling you when you’re access is all setup. Close the app and wait for that.

  1. > As you can see, I was serious when I said this would be available cross-platform.

    Indeed, so serious about being cross-platform that you’re offering clients for all the major Arch/Debian/FreeBSD/Gentoo/Mandriva/OpenBSD/Redhat/SUSE/Slackware -based platforms…?

  2. Getting MS account is just impossible. I can’t recover password because the account does not exist (it does) but I can’t create a new account either because the email is already in use (told you). Clicking “contact us” does not lead to any sort of contact at all (only a stupid faq with steps I’ve already tried trice). There is probably a special circle in hell for people who designed the process.

    • Hey Petr, if you’re doing a password recovery and it’s telling that your account doesn’t exist, I’m not sure what to tell you. Go to http://live.com/ directly and see if you can recover it from there.

      The alternative is to just create a new account using another email. Since you’re a gmail user, I’m betting you don’t use Outlook.com often so it may be the solution to get you past the hump.

      • Thanks, I didn’t want another live account because the registration itself tells me I already got one, but when I try to recover it it does not work. Even when I tried to create a new account with different address I ended up with some sort of “temporary error” (errcode=100). It just isn’t meant to be.

        BTW it would be cool if you could test Outlook this way too. HTML rendering in recent versions of Win Outlook is like IE6 all over again.

  3. It’s not really cross-platform until it gets Linux support. A lot of developers use Linux…
    At the very least a guide to help run it via WINE would be nice.

    • As we say in the FAQ, the performance isn’t going to be the same as running a VM or natively (there isn’t hardware acceleration for example).
      If you want to access your localhost you can use a service like http://www.ngrok.com

      Thanks for checking the service!

  4. Is this US-only? I’m in the UK and can only access “free trial” apps which are Word, Excel, Visio, etc.

    • Hi Babs, there’s a short delay in getting access to it. You’ll receive an email letting you know when you have access to IE.

      • I’m having the same issue. When I receive the email confirming that I can start using RemoteIE, I sign in and every time I get the notification that I don’t have access to any RemoteApp programs and if I would like to try the demo apps.

        Is there something going wrong with the service? I’m trying to load it multiple times and every time it’s the same.

        FYI. I’m using the same Microsoft account/email, I’ve selected West Europe and I’m using the latest version of Microsoft Remote Desktop (8.0.10).

        I’ve just tested it with North Europe and that one works. I think there might be an issue with the Western Europe location.

        • Hey Michael, I’ll pass this along for sure. Is your Microsoft account email the same one that you used in your comment here?

          • Yes it is…

            Good luck with debugging this issue! I’ll stick to the North Europe region for now. :-)

          • Hi Rey,

            I’ve stopped the service and started a new one for West Europe and still no go (after restarting RDT).
            Stopped the West Europe location and started the North Europe location, and the North Europe location works as expected.

            It looks like the notification/invite from West Europe never gets assigned to my account even though the email was sent. Not sure how you have the setup on the backend, but it seems to me that there is some region specific code not completing or data being misplaced.

            Again, thanks for the help and this great initiative!

          • SUCCESS!!!

            The West Europe location seems to work now (although the icon is pc screen with the remoteapp logo on the bottom right instead of the IE logo with other locations).

            Thanks for the help and good luck getting the service stable!

          • Ah.. glad I found this thread. Had same issue. After receiving email, no access to IE. Changed to Northern Europe (from Western Europe) and it works

            definitely a gremlin

      • Hi Ray – Thanks for the reply! I received an email last night (UK time) saying I had access. This morning it has now appeared although I still can’t connect due to high demand.

        It seems the tagline for this project should be “patience, grasshopper”

        Thanks again! I’ll keep at it :)

          • Yes, it is. I’m now up and running – I think the server was just overloaded this morning (to be expected). It’s a cool little tool and will come in very handy!

  5. Not showing the IE in the microsoft remote desktop, and I got the e-mail that says that I can now start to use. After login in the app, I get the dialog that says: “Looks like you don’t have access to any RemoteApp programs. Would you like to try some demo apps?”. Microsoft never changes ………….. :-(

    • Hey Jonny, it stinks you’re going through this but it equally stinks that you’re putting down MS. We’re trying man and sometimes major initiatives have bumps. And this is a MAJOR initiative with a lot of non-trivial aspects to it. So how about giving us a chance to work with you to fix it and then come to an opinion.

      First, is your Microsoft account the same one that you entered in this comment?

      • Hi Rey, thanks for your quick reply! :) Please don’t feel offended about my comment, It may not look constructive, but it felt true to me. For years I’ve been saying that I don’t understand why Microsoft doesn’t work on a universal IE for all OS. That’s the major problem and it’s a strategic problem that you guys try to solve with other (great) solutions. :) I have friends at Microsoft Portugal. About your question, yes, the email that I’m using in the remoteapp is the one I’ve entered in this comment. Thank you very much for your help! :)

          • Hi Ray, it’s working! :) Thanks a lot for everything, you’re great! :) Just one question, if possible. Is it possible to access the internet options in this IE? I ask this because I need to test a website that needs to have cookies enabled… Thank you for all the help. :)

          • YAY!!! So happy! I spoke with the devs and they said cookies will be enabled really soon, hopefully EOW or earlier next week.

        • Hi Jonny,
          we had some issues yesterday with some collections not having IE published sometime. Have you refreshed the list of your apps by clicking in the top right button “Microsoft RemoteApp” and see if you get the invite for Internet Explorer?


  6. Hey Rey,

    I’m in the UK and same issue as some of these other guys. I got the confirmation email but still can only see the trial office apps. Anything I can do to help things along or are you just swamped? Anyway this is an awesome initiative and so good that I just upgraded to Yosemite from SL just so I could use it. My email matches the account. Thanks and let me know :)


  7. Same issue, chose South East Asia as my region as I’m in Sydney and I don’t see IE in the list of MS RemoteApp.
    It would’ve been great if it worked so I don’t have to jump between 2 machines.

    • This should be working now. Can you check in the Microsoft RemoteApp if you have any invites? If you are on a Mac it should be the top right button.

  8. Virtualbox and a windows image seems a whole lot easier to be honest, more flexible too.
    For starters, with RemoteIE you:

    1. Can’t test local or firewalled sites
    2. It’s clearly not native speed, so you can’t test performance.

    But much kudos to microsoft for releasing a plethora of options for us to use anyway, I’ll stick to the VM route.

    • Thanks Matt. There’s definitely some limitations unfortunately but we’re working to see how we can improve this. So bear with us for a little bit more. Glad that the modern.IE VMs are helping though.

  9. I am seeing here a lot of people getting the “Looks like you don’t have access to any RemoteApp programs” problem. I just signed up with East US as my region, and am getting the same problem. I tried resetting the region to other values, and got a server error. “The page cannot be displayed because an internal server error has occurred.”.

    I’m trying this from Yosemite. Any workarounds I can do?


    • Not sure if just a result of enough time going by, but my subscription for IE finally went through about an hour after signing up. So I’m all set. thanks!

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