Making Internet Explorer Testing Easier with new IE VMs

When Microsoft first launched modern.IE and revamped the way that IE VMs were offered, I wrote up a post that talked about how to install them. Since then, the site has changed so it’s time to update this post to reflect not only the new UI of the site but the new method of downloading individual VMs.

If you haven’t heard about modern.IE, then definitely read up on it here:

Introducing modern.IE – Testing sites for Internet Explorer made easier

The New Way to get IE VMs

Up until now, if you wanted to test different versions of IE natively you had to download VPC images that would allow you to run virtual machines for the different versions of IE. It wasn’t a great solution because:

  • They were designed to be run in Microsoft’s Virtual PC software making it hard for non-Windows developers to use them.
  • They were broken apart into multiple, large download files

There were ways to use them on other OSes but it required some work or unofficial scripts to convert them. Either way, the IE VPCs weren’t very easy or convenient to use.

We wanted to make this easier so as part of the modern.IE project, we created a new set of VMs that targeted your OS and your VM-specific software.

When you hit the page “Test across browsers” page, scroll down until you see this:


This is the section that helps you to choose the right OS and platform. Now, you’ll be able to choose your OS:


then choose the VM software:


and download the VM with the version(s) of IE you’d like to install:


You’ll need to download ALL of the files listed for the specific version of IE you’d like work with. Depending on which OS you’re using, you may see a combo of *.exe/*.rar files (Windows) or *.sfx/*.rar files (OSX/Linux). The *.exe & *.sfx are self-extractors which will look for all of the files and combine them into the single VM you’ll need.

The great thing about this process is that:

  • You can use the VM software of your choice
  • You only have to download the files once per VM. They can be reused to recreate the VM after 90 days.

Currently, we’re offering VMs that will run on:

  • Windows
  • OSX
  • Linux

The VM software choices are specific to the OS you choose:

  • Windows – Hyper-V, Virtual PC, VirtualBox & VMWare Player for Windows
  • OSX- VirtualBox, VMWare Fusion and Parallels
  • Linux – VirtualBox

One thing to note is that it’s best to use an updated version of the VM software, especially for the Win8 VMs. Otherwise, you may encounter issues with the VM software not being able to run the virtualized OS properly.

The IE versions being offered are:

  • IE6 on Windows XP
  • IE7 on Vista
  • IE8 on Windows XP
  • IE8 on Windows 7
  • IE9 on Windows 7
  • IE10 on Windows 7
  • IE10 on Windows 8
  • IE11 Developer Preview on Windows 7
  • IE11 Developer Preview on Windows 8.1

For all intents you can now test against a full copy of any version of Internet Explorer.

Extracting the Virtual Machine


Notice that for IE9 on Win7 for VirtualBox on Windows, I’ve downloaded 5 files.


I need to run “IE9.Win7.For.WindowsVirtualBox.part1.exe” to kick off the extraction. This will prompt me for a destination folder to extract to:


Note that once the extraction is completed, the dialog box just disappears and you won’t get a prompt that it’s done. Hop over to your directory and you should find the newly extracted VM file waiting for you:



OSX users have it even easier because you can use cURL to pull down all the files in one swoop. Just look for the “Grab them all with cURL” link and click on it. It’ll give you a popup like this:


Open up terminal, “cd” to the directory where you want to download the files and paste the link displayed to kick off the download. Easy peasy.

To extract the virtual machine, you’ll need to go into terminal and set execute permission on the .sfx file like this “chmod +x filename.sfx”. You can then kick off the extraction by running the file: “./filename.sfx”.


You can find fully detailed installation instructions for the downloaded VMs in this PDF.

Installing the VMs

The VMs may come with some minimum resource settings already preconfigured. Here’s what I recommend to ensure you get a decent performing VM:

  • Give your VM a minimum of 1GB of RAM
  • Give it the most amount of video memory possible

Remember that you’re VM is an OS and it needs resources. Unless you’re loading multiple VMs at the same time, a gig of RAM shouldn’t have a major adverse issue on a decent system. Also note that while IE9 & IE10 support GPU-enhanced rendering, don’t expect the same performance in your VM as you would get from a native system.

The VMs you download are in compressed format. Once you’ve got them on your computer, you should run the extraction executable I referenced above to extract them for use. This will create the virtual machine file that you’ll import into your VM software. Again, you can find fully detailed installation instructions for the downloaded VMs in this PDF.

VirtualBox on Windows

Installing on VirtualBox is usually as easy as double-clicking the .ova file that you extracted.


When you do this, you should get a VirtualBox dialog like this:


Click on the “Import” button and VirtualBox will do the rest. It’s really that simple.

VMWare Fusion

The VM software I use on OSX is VMWare Fusion so here are the steps I went through to setup the Win8/IE10 VM.

Click on the “Add” drop down to create a new VM:


Choose “Continue without disc”:


This should present you with a screen to “Use an existing virtual disk” which is exactly what you want to do:


I chose the “Select to create a copy of it” so that my original download isn’t affected and it makes a copy in the default VMWare VM directory. When you select the image, it will display a prompt asking if you want to convert it to an updated format:


Don’t convert it. I tried to and it seemed to corrupt the VM.

Select the proper version of Windows. These are 32 bit versions of the OS so the standard OS selections are fine (i.e.: not 64-bit). At the “Finish” screen, click “Customize Settings” to give the VM a better name like “Win8 – IE10” and from there, VMWare will beging the process of copying the disc to the default VM directory and present you with the new VM:


Before you start the new VM, change the RAM settings so your VM won’t have any trouble starting up. Again, I recommend a minimum of 1GB of RAM:


Your VM should now be ready to use.

REALLY IMPORTANT: If you’re using a Win8.x-based VM, be sure to set your screen resolution in the VM to a minimum of 1366×768 if you want to be able to use Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer desktop can launch in smaller resolutions but IE10 for Win8 and IE11 Developer Preview for Win8.1 are a Windows apps and needs the higher resolution. You’ll also want this for testing snap mode.

VirtualBox on OSX

Chris Wharton has written up a quick guide on how to get the Virtualbox VMs running on OSX. Just follow the steps I outlined for extracting your VM and then follow Chris’ steps for installing in VirtualBox.

Time Limits on the VMs

All of the VMs have a time limit 90 days of total time from the moment you first use the VM. Basically it’s 30 days usage with two 30-day rearms. To rearm, go into a command prompt with Administrator privileges and type in “slmgr –rearm

At the end of the 90 days, you’ll be able to use the VM for an hour before it shuts down. At this point, you’ll need to decide if that’s okay or if you’d like to recreate the VM and use it for another 90 days. Remember, you can reuse the same files you originally downloaded to recreate the VM so don’t delete them (unless you just love downloading big files).

Functional Limitations

I’ve been told that these images aren’t crippled and in my testing, I was able to apply updates and do installs with no issues. I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you run Windows updates when you use these VMs to get the latest updates and patches. Also, install an anti-virus software. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and will do the trick. If you’re running a Windows 8.x VM, it comes with anti-virus already.

Rey Bango


  1. Question… how is this helpful, if the damn things expire after 90 days? So there’s no just downloading the files and keeping them around for when you need them… instead, when you DO need them, you have to stop what you’re doing, go download them (which could take a while if you have a slow connection like me), and then test.

    Was this Microsoft’s idea? It sounds like it.

    I already have several IE VM’s setup in VirtualBox, so I’ll just stick with that. I personally no longer support IE on any sites that I create; if it works, great. If it doesn’t, then the user needs a real browser. I’m so done with IE and having to do everything twice because Microsoft has to make IE behave differently than the standard.

    • Hi Rob,

      Other than the WinXP/IE6 VM, I’m not sure why you’d have to download these files more than once. I may not have done a good job of explaining the time limits so I’ll try again:

      IE6 VM: 90 days of continuous use from the time Microsoft uploads it. We’ll be refreshing near the expiration date.
      IE7 – IE10 VMs: 30 days use with two rearms which give you 90 days of continuous use. After 90 days, the VM works for an hour before it shuts down.

      So for IE7-IE10, the same files you downloaded can resued to recreate the VMs. The ONLY VM you would have to redownload at is the IE6 VM.

      IE marketshare grew this month and IE9 & IE10 are solid, standards-based browsers. The fact that you’re saying that IE behaves differently than the standard tells me you haven’t checked out the latest versions.

      • I believe you can also take a snapshot in Virtualbox immediately after importing from the OVA. Reverting to that snapshot should effectively rearm the VM without having to keep the OVA around either. Of course, that won’t work for the hard-expiration in the XP VM.

        Rey, it looks like there are actually 5 rearms available, but only a 10-day trial judging from “slmgr /dlv”:
        I don’t know much about Windows licensing under the hood – is that correct?

        • The snapshot should work as long as you haven’t run the VM at all. VMMware, for exanple, likes to auto-start the VM once you’ve done your setup.

          I’ll have to look at the rearms. I don’t have the Win7 VM installed yet.

          • Hi Rey,

            Just want to confirm, does taking a snapshot before running the OS into VirtualBox can eliminate the time limit?



          • I’ll be updating the time limits in this post shortly but to help answer your question, all of the VMs have some form of time limit just the experience varies. If you’re able to take a snapshot before Virtualbox launches the VM, then you may be able to revert back to that VM when one hits the time limit. The exceptions are the WinXP/IE6 & Win8/IE10 images which expire after 90 days from the time we upload them. In that case, a snapshot won’t help you out.

            Again, I’ll be updating the post next week with more details about the time limits.

      • I have to be honest, IE has greatly improved, but even IE10 still gets broken from time to time… Anyway, for me its acceptable compared with the pain it was to make something work with IE6-8.

    • You should probably rethink your position as a website creator. Maybe it’s not the right career for you if you don’t think most people having a great experience on your client’s websites is important. Supposing of course that your blanket statement of “All IE users can go fuck themselves” wasn’t a typo.

  2. Mr. Bango:

    For IE7-10, after the 30/90 days have expired, can we re-use the same files we originally downloaded to set up new instances with fresh 30/90 day limits? Or do we have to re-download?

    BTW, I figured out what the issue with the XP image was … it was created October 25th (more than 90 days ago). Sorry, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to poke fun at that oversight :-)

    • Ok Jerrold, you are never allowed to call me Mr. Bango because I feel incredibly old now. ;)

      Yep you can re-use the files. And re: WinXP, yeah that’s the reason we took it down. ;)

  3. I guess only time will tell how much hoop jumping is required to keep these things operational. It’s certainly a good start. It has been galling to have to pay for the privilege of dealing with Microsoft’s detritus – hacking and dumbing things down for the lowest of common denominators.

    Anyway, thanks to Microsoft for finally doing something decent that should have done years ago.

    As a veteran of the browser wars I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over my deep and visceral loathing of Microsoft and IE, but this is a baby step towards rapprochement. :-)

    • Hey Tim,

      Shouldn’t be horrible. Every 90 days, you’ll just need to use the same files you downloaded to recreate the VMs. Or as was mentioned before, create a snapshot of the VM BEFORE you run it and it should be the same as creating a pristine VM.

      I personally wish we could run multiple IE versions on the same PC but it is what it is and even if I didn’t work MS, I’d still do what I had to to test IE. It’s just too important.

      It seems a lot of folks are taking baby steps with MS again so that’s not a bad thing. 10 years is a lot to make up for. :)

  4. My approach on Windows is to use Windows XP Mode for IE 6, 7 and 8. I cloned the Windows XP Mode VM two times, and installed IE 7 on one of the clones and IE 8 on the other. This only works on Windows, but a huge advantage is that the VMs don’t expire after 90 days.

      • Greg, I believe IEVMS simply takes the IE VPC images and converts them to a VirtualBox compatible format. Windows XP mode is different.

        • It used to. I switched it to use the (awesome, super convenient) new modern.IE images last week. For IE7 and IE8, it clones the IE6 XP image and uses Virtualbox guest control to automatically install the correct IE version for you.

        • I know sounds like a stupid/noob question. I found the IEVMS interesting, we are actually looking for a way to emulate, test websites in IE legacy browsers including ie9. Thing is the company is still using Windows XP will there be an issue about that? If none, is it ok to know where to start? Thank you so much!

          • Hey James, since you’re able to download IE VMs from modern.IE in a variety of different VM formats, as long as WinXP can run your software I would imagine it could run the downloaded VM. I’ve not tried it so I can’t say 100% for sure so I would suggest giving it a shot yourself by downloading one VM as a test.

  5. Am I missing something, or is there no way to become the admin on the IE8 vm?

    This renders it rather useless, especially if one needs to modify a hosts file to test locally.

    • Hey John, I don’t think that one thing makes the VMs useless but I’ll definitely check it out. Stay positive man. The site is in beta and we’re trying.

      • For local development, it negates usability in many cases. Not being able to manipulate hosts files makes it impossible or very painful to do any sort of testing/debugging locally before deploying.

        Unti this gets figured out, I’ll stick with ievms. Those images have an admin user.

      • huh.

        Just noticed Greg’s comments above.

        Apparently I’m already using the modern.IE images (:D)

        So whatever he’s doing, it’s fixing the issue I’m seeing when I download the image myself outside the command line script.

        Keep up the good work!

        • MAGIC!!! Just kidding, I’m not doing anything special regarding users or permissions. In the XP version of IE7 and IE8, it edits a single registry value to allow remote management with a blank password (for IEUser). But the others are just booted as-is. Weird!

          • I’m realizing that I might have the image that was getting used right before the change over. So I don’t know if this issue is really resolved.

            I’ll update the script and do the download again on my Ubuntu machine tonight and see if the problem exists there. Would be a bummer if this was the case…

            Perhaps you already have the version the script downloads on one of your computers and can check to see if the win7 ie8 box allows users to edit host files?

    • John, I installed the IE8 Virtualbox VM and was able to edit the hosts file with no issues. I did this by opening the properties for the “hosts” file, selecting the Security tab and updating the “User” properties to allow full control. Once I was done with the edit, I went back in and reset the perms to original read-only perms.

      See if that helps.

      • sorry it took me so long to reply. This worked just fine, thanks!

  6. It sets HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Lsa\limitblankpassworduse = 0. The default in XP is 1. Virtualbox’s guest controls let you run commands, copy files, etc in the guest VM from the command line of the host VM, but it cannot communicate with the guest if the user has a blank password by default. ievms needs the guest control to work so it can launch the IE7/IE8 installers, so a tiny custom linux iso is booted that mounts the VM hdd and makes the single registry change. Once that’s done, ievms can take over from the host command line.

    • Thanks Greg. I’m going to see why that’s set as such in our images and if it can be changed. If we’re able to update that registry setting, I’ll give you a heads up since it may allow you to remove that process.

  7. Am I missing something here, why can’t you just change the version of IE you’re using by using the developer tools (F12) in IE 9+ (maybe even 8+?). Are we saying that IE runs completely differently on different versions of Windows?

    • The browser & document mode switcher does it’s best to emulate specific versions of IE. It’s great for initial testing but if you want to get a REAL IE test, you need VMs.

  8. What’s Microsoft’s legal standing on those images?

    What was almost ok with VPCs available on MSDN is that they required me to accept special EULA that explicitly voided all and any EULAs that the MS software on that VPC might try to force me to “accept” later on. The only problem with those VPCs was that they might only be legally used to “evaluate the software and provide feedback to Microsoft” according to that special EULA, even though they were, misleadingly, I’d say, labeled “for testing your websites in IE”.

    I don’t see any such special agreement in the archives you have on, and the EULA in IE10 image expressly forbids to use it in “live operating environment”, and I believe a test lab qualifies as such. Moreover, it requires me to “obtain a separate copies of the software, and a separate license for each copy” if I want to run multiple instances of that virtual machine. Does cloning the machine qualifies as “obtaining a separate copy with a separate license”? I doubt it.

    What if a test engineer need to show the software engineer the bug he found? Can the software engineer fire up his RDP client of choice on his trusty Linux box, connect to that virtual machine and see the problem firsthand? Technically – yes, legally – no, because “Other users, one at a time, may access the licensed software running on this host pc, from any device, *but only if the remote device is separately licensed to run an edition of Windows 8 or Windows RT*”. You must be kidding.

    Guys, get your freaking licenses straight!

    I’d suggest something along the lines of:
    This license supersede all and any license the software may display or force you to accept. This license grants you unrevokable right to run as many copies of the software in a virtualized environment, and to access the software by as many users as you wish, provided that you only use the software to test applications or web services for compatibility with the software.

  9. I’m trying to download the IE10/Win8 VM but the TCP connection keeps getting reset at the end. Is anyone else having these issues?

    • Yes, indeed. Today the download is nearly finished before it stops with an ‘unknown network error’ (shown in chrome). Last week I onl ygot up to <100 MB before the download would stop.

      • I sent an email with a link to your comment so we can track it down. Seeing several people having similar issues.

    • I’m having the same problem. The logical solution would be to release it as a torrent with a web seed but for obvious reasons, I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

  10. Thanks.

    By the way, I need to install East Asian Language Support in Windows XP VMs, and It needs genuine Windows XP CD.
    How do you think Window XP VM is provided with East Asian Language Support?

  11. I just installed the brand-new IE10/Win8 Fusion for OS X image … and yet it says it’s expired in the lower right corner of the desktop. I tried the relicensing command, but it failed with a series of errors (lots and lots of errors).

    Any tips?


    • Rob,

      Don’t worry about what it says in the lower corner. As long as you’re not getting forced to re-login after an hour, you’re fine.

  12. For those having problems editing the /etc/hosts file due to lack of write permissions:
    Go to search menu – type “notepad”
    Right click the notepad program icon, you will now see some options
    Choose “run as admin”
    Notepad opens in admin mode and you can open the hosts file from there. Maybe you have to give the file write permissions first (it was readonly)…

  13. I had a lot of trouble downloading the virtualbox image for IE9 (Linux). Whenever wget managed to get a whole copy of the file, the ZIP file was corrupted. I guess it’s corrupted on the MS server.

    However. after unning `zip -FF –out` I was able to unzip the repaired zip file and import the VM to virtualbox. Finally.

    • Yes we know about this issue and are looking into it. The same happens in OSX. They’re not corrupted but the default OS app seems to have issues with unzipping it. I’ve found that if you use another app to unzip, it works fine.

  14. I downloaded the OS X VirtualBox images and had some trouble unzipping with the default Archive Utility app (it would produce an unusable .cpgz), so I downloaded an app called The Unarchiver from the App Store and used that to unzip them, I’m sure there’s some others that would work too. That app worked as intended and produced a .ova file. Then all that’s needed when you open VirtualBox is choose File > Import Appliance… pick your .ova and it should be ready to go after it loads up.

    • Hey Brody, I mentioned that in the post. Thanks for the heads up. We’re aware and trying to figure out what’s up.

      • As of OSX 10.8.2, The Unarchiver tells me the zips are corrupt.

        • Hi Alfonso, I based my recommendation for The Unarchiver after installing it to 10.8.2 myself. It worked for me. Is it a specific .zip file? Which versions did you download?

          • Same here. I downloaded IE10Win8, IE9win7 and IE8win7. I am also using the unarchiver but it keeps saying the files are corrupted like Alfonso stated. I can create a new image from it like you describe, but than it says the images are damaged. After doing an autorepair it says that it can’t repair my pc…

  15. Thanks for starting to address the unzip problem. Just to give you a heads up, Installing Peazip on Ubuntu throws a warning about it being an unsafe package and you have to click the ‘install anyway’ button. Given that the .ova file is already compressed, is zipping even necessary?

      • I’m no expert, but my bet is that there’s no maintainer listed and no url. Ubuntu is a little paranoid about installing stuff that didn’t come from it’s repos.

        • Yeah that’s strange. I’ve installed apps before on Ubuntu that didn’t come from their repos (Chrome & Firefox come to mind) and didn’t have an issue. p7zip is another option.

          • Both ff and Chrome have instructions about how to use os level package management to do the install. I don’t think either provides a bare .deb file. I had tried p7zip because it is in the repos without success, but it appears there are 2 different branches of p7zip out there. Isn’t it lovely that a de-facto standard file format isn’t :-) Thanks for your work on

  16. Thanks for the write up. The steps described allowed me to install the Windows 8 vm. However, the Windows 7 vm’s can not be installed. I’m on Mac OS X 10.6.8 using Vmware fusion 5. After unzipping the IE9_Win7 image (with unarchiver) and Adding a virtual machine in Vmware, it wants to start Win7 but hangs on startup. I get a Windows message “Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause” with the choice to Launch startup repair or start windows normally. Both do not work.

    I tried a couple of times. Even redownloaded the images from Microsoft, unzipping again, etc. The same problem.

    Anyone else having this problem?

    • Hey Matt, make sure your VM has enough RAM and video memory. How much are you set for at the moment on that VM?

      • It’s not the memory. Just tried again giving the VM 2 GB of memory. I get the same startup problems. Windows telling me “Startup Repair cannot repair this computer automatically” etc.

        It shouldn’t even need to repair something in the first place. I mean, my Mac is running fine, and it’s a clean download of the VM image from the Microsoft website. The Win8 install had no problems.

      • I’m having this same issue. The Windows 7 VM’s get a BSOD and try to repair themselves, but that also fails.

        I followed the instructions on this blog. I’m running OSX Lion, VMWare Fusion 4.1.4.

        • I installed it on VMWare Fusion myself with no issues. Are you being prompted to upgrade when you setup the VMs? If so, don’t do it.

          • I’m not converting the VMs, but they’re still failing on me. I just downloaded the IE8 VM fresh on a different machine than I had previously, and ran into the same issues.

    • I’m getting the same problem (Mac OS X 10.8.2, VMWare 5.0.2, RAM set to 1024MB). The Vista & Win8 VMs worked just fine, but neither Win7 VM worked at all. I get the same repair failures that Matt says.

      I’ve tried unzipping the archives through The Unarchiver and Pathfinder. I’ve also downloaded the VMs multiple times.


    • Same issues here, IE8 – Win7 VM downloaded today 2013-03-06.

      OS X 10.8.2
      VMWare Fusion 5.0.2.

      I haven’t tried the other VMs, I only had a need for IE8.

  17. Thanks for offering these VMs. However, the time limits are quite unfortunate. Wouldn’t it make far more sense to create crippled versions of Windows that only can run IE that don’t even have things installed necessary to run anything else with no time limits? It would kill the overhead necessary to run a full version of Windows for each version as people typically need to have multiple versions open at a time for testing purposes. It would eliminate the need for these silly time limits, too.

    • Hi Jackson, this is what we have at the moment. We’ll be looking for alternative solutions in the future. And remember that Browserstack is also available.

  18. Hi Rey,

    Does this mean we have to download each VM images for each IE?


    • Yes. Alternatively, you can download a VM for one version of IE, make a copy of it, install the VM and then upgrade.

      • When cloning the virtual machines, which is one are you using? Full Clone or Linked Clone?

  19. Upgraded my system to Mountain Lion. Completely removed VMware Fusion. Reinstalled Vmware Fusion, latest version 5. Redownloaded the VMs. Followed your steps exactly. Windows 7 fails to install. What’s going on?

  20. Rey, the installation of the vms can/are be much simpler then the instructions in your article. A Vmware company tech helped me. Instead of opening Vmware Fusion and then following the steps you describe to create a vm, do this:
    – Download the vmware zip
    – Open with the unarchiver
    – Double click the .vmwarevm file and it will open in Fusion and gets installed

    That’s all! Hope this will help others.

    You can put the .vmwarevm wherever you want in your filesystem. I put mine with the others in /Documents/Virtual machines.

    • Hey Matt, yes I know. It’s also the same with Virtualbox but that assumes that the file associations are setup correctly on the machine and I don’t want to assume that.

      I appreciate the feedback though.

    • BTW, glad you’re up and running now. I know you were having troubles over the weekend so it’s good to see you setup.

      • Yes, glad it’s over. Been trying different versions of your steps for 2 full days and finally with the help of the tech support got it working the way I described. Guess there are different ways working for different systems. Hopefully most people will get it up and running with either method. Thanks.

  21. These images are really helpful. I was just wondering though, what’s the best approach to take with activation? Can/should these images be activated, and is there a particular procedure for doing so? I’d like to be able to install Security Essentials as per your suggestion, but that requires activation unfortunately.

    • Hey Alex, you can’t fully activate these images. I didn’t know MS Security Essentials required activation so you may need to find another AV to use.

  22. Yay, finaly a fully legal method of testing against IE for us Linux users.
    No more battling with WINE to finaly execute $IE Version. :)

      • Good thing i live in Germany and our judges see this a tiny bit different.
        Microsoft let me download that VM from their site for the purpose of testing against IE. Thats all they would want to know. :)

  23. “Any idea when Parallels images will be available?”
    “Very soon. We’re shooting for this week.”

    What a great tool – thanks Rey!

  24. Hi.

    First of all thank you for offering the virtual machines. Very generous. Thanks!


    The virtual machines are useless. I.E. Windows 7’s trial period is expired the moment I start the VM.

    The genuine check fails on every move I make. I want to install the Microsoft Security Essentials as advised by you, but I can’t because the software isn’t genuine. o.O??

    Sorry Microsoft. You are big enough to offer genuine check free versions of VMs for web developers, with pre installed Security Essentials.

    • Yeah we’re running into some hiccups and those will get fixed. In terms of MS Security Essentials, I actually recommended that, not MS. What I didn’t do was ensure that you could install it on an unactivated VM but found out from another commenter that it won’t work. I’ll update my post.

      We’re putting up new VMs soon so hopefully all this will be squared away and i’ll update the post with new details.

      • Thanks. I actually could activate windows by following the activation. Now it says valid for another 90 days. So maybe you should update your post.

        • Hey Thomas, sorry OI’m confused. What do you mean you were able to activate the VM for another 90 days? I’d like to know so I can update the post.

  25. I tried running ‘slmgr -rearm’ from the command line after my first 30 days had expired, but it tells me the user I’m logged in as doesn’t have the permissions necessary to execute that command. What else do I need to rearm the licence?

  26. Seems like the zip files, due to the size of the files inside of them, require zip64 extensions. OS X 10.8 ships with unzip 5.x, and v6 is the first version with that support.

    The interwebs says MacPorts has a newer version, and it looks like it should possible to update via homebrew, if you tap the osx-dupes keg. I had some issues using the newer version built with homebrew, so I gave up and grabbed a copy of BetterZip and just used that.

  27. Hi,

    Just FYIing…
    Using the IE9 image on VirtualBox, I performed a Windows Activation. When the process completed, the desktop included a message that stated this copy of Windows was activated for 90 days.


  28. If you’re having problems with the downloads getting reset just before the end, I may have found one plausible culprit – a real-time antivirus solution, optionally combined with software used for the download (in my case, Eset Smart Security and Opera, respectively).

    I noticed that my PC swaps heavily near the end of the download, I traced it back to my AV which scans all downloaded files. It seems to do it in a way, which halts the download just before the end, extracts it (whether to memory or to %temp% I cannot say), scans it, and allows the download to finish. I believe that the download time-outs while the AV performs the scan (which can take some time due to the large file size).

    In my case the smaller download (IE10, 2.7G) worked fine on first attempt. The 5-6G ones (IE9+IE10) always failed, and I was not able to resume the download (in Opera). I managed to successfully download the IE10 file by disabling my AV temporarily near the end of the download, but for some reason it didn’t work for the other one. What did work is downloading it via wget (as recommended above) – I encountered the same swapping (AV extract+scan) near the end of the download, but wget was able resume the download after the original connection timed out.

    So people who have a similar problem should either use wget or a download manager that can resume downloads properly.

    Rey, one alternative to torrents would be to provide the files without zipping them – the compression is negligible, plus AVs should be able to scan the files without extracting them first.

    In any case, can you please consider:

    * providing WinXP images for IE6-8 (smaller footprint than Win7, which is an overkill for old IEs)
    * providing md5 or sha checksums for all downloadable files (I’m sure some people would feel more at ease if they could verify their integrity post-download – due to their file size and also because of the unzip problems on non-Windows systems)

    Regadless, a huge thanks to you and your team for this initiative. Having official non-VirtualPC images is really appreciated.

    P.S.: if anyone is looking for the checksums, I’m sharing mine for downloads dated 20-21 Feb 2013:
    21b0aad3d66dac7f88635aa2318a3a55 *
    58d201fe7dc7e890ad645412264f2a2c *
    cc4e2f4b195e1b1e24e2ce6c7a6f149c *

    They’re not official, but the files seem to work fine in VirtualBox.

  29. Rey, thanks for this writeup, I’ve just learned about it now via reddit. I’d also like to put in my vote for having free, non-nagware versions specifically for testing and development. I think Microsoft would benefit, developers would benefit, and the quality of the web in general would ultimately go up :)

    Thanks again,

  30. While I’m grateful for the VMs I can’t fathom the thinking behind the expirations. If I were to actively develop sites that have to work in IE6 I’m forced to re-download the VM ad-infinitum? Better yet, I can’t wait till I happen to download it just a day before the expiration and being forced to download it again the next day.

    How many sales are you really going to lose because of a free Windows XP VM with IE6 on it? It’s ridiculous.

    Thanks for the effort though.

  31. Hi,

    I can’t find IE7 on the latest update of the site. Am I just not looking closely enough or is there a reason for that?

  32. Well after a while waiting a new version of XP has gone up, but it seems quite a step backwards. It seems out of date currently working through the 120+ files it’s asking to install. Can’t determine that it’s genuine and it’s saying it’s going to expire in 30 days.

    Did the wrong version get published?

  33. Thank you Ray for the write up. I’ve been hunting for a good solution for years that didn’t break the bank of a freelancer.

    Kudos to Microsoft for offering this service.

    I’ve successfully downloaded and tested the IE9/Win7 version with VirtualBox on a Mac.

  34. “The great thing about this process is that: You only have to download a single file per VM”

    I guess that was true back when you originally wrote this, but it seems they’re back to the old days of multiple files. Any word on whether you’ll go back to single files?

    Also FWIW 30 day expiry really is still a pain in the butt, if we can restart twice for 30 days could the expiry just get pushed out to 90? Currently it means no matter what, every thirty days you have to mess around with your VMs instead of getting work done.

  35. Any idea why IEUser keeps getting logged off every minute?

    I downloaded and unpacked the RAR files for IE9/Win7 without any problems. I then loaded the unpacked files into Virtual PC. That all started up fine. I then logged in as IEUser using the password in the instructions PDF.

    The desktop loads fine and I can start IE without problem. After one minute, however, I get presented with the login screen (as if I’d pressed Windows+L).

    • Patrick, I had the same problem. After, deleting all the Win 7 IE9 files twice and re-installing etc, I finally fixed it by changing the password on IEUser. Then restart and it should come up with a logon screen showing a small message that the logon credentials did not work. It will also have the checkbox for saving logon credentials. Enter the new password you created and check the box. It worked for me.

  36. WOW. Where can we leave a tip? The Win7/IE10 image has IE 10.0.9200.16521, but the wallpaper says 9.10.9200.16521; is that the real internal build number?

  37. I am getting a JS error when trying to select my platform.

    SCRIPT5007: Unable to get property ‘destroy’ of undefined or null reference
    vendors, line 18 character 7215

    I can select windows fine, but the platform dropdown never becomes unlocked to select.

    This is with IE10 on Win8 w/o compat mode

  38. Big thanks to the people who made Microsoft create modern.IE. This is the path Microsoft should have taken many years ago and finally they’ve made a good decision by providing users of other operating systems a humane way to check IE’s version of their pages.

    In case someone’s having the same problem I had with IE8 XP image for Virtualbox on Linux, namely that the VM was falling in a reboot loop during startup: for me the solution was to boot into the safe mode and delete C:\Windows\System32\drivers\intelppm.sys. I’ve found the solution here:

  39. What would it take for Microsoft to offer these images without any kind of expiry but as part of a paid-for testing package? I would rather pay (say) £100 and then be able to setup all my VMs once than have to jump through various hoops every 90 days. Saving me the large download of the VM images themselves is only of limited usefulness, since there will always be the additional steps of installing system updates / patches and then local environment configuration (things like adding IP addresses for local development machines to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts).

    The recurring cost (in terms of time) of the latter step is nontrivial and I for one would rather just pay to work around these issues, but given that Windows XP (the main sticking point) can’t be officially licensed any more, your choices seem to be between this recurring process or software piracy. I understand the whole point behind offering these images is as a developer outreach program, so why not go that extra bit further and offer a paid, non-expiring option?

  40. For the past two days, I have been trying to use the Virtual PC images (IE8 and IE9), under a Windows 7 Professional 64-bit host. Somehow, the virtualized OS tends to automatically lock the screen even when I’m in the middle of actively using it; and this happens quite frequently. Would you know what is the cause? Any solution?

  41. Hi,

    I’m using Parallels under OSX Mountain Lion. I’ve downloaded the IE8.XP.For.MacParallels.sfx file and followed the instructions in terminal. That went well, but when I launch Parallels, I’m at a loss as to what I should do next. Anyone get this to work?

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  43. Hi while creating a virtual PC for Windows 7 IE10/IE8 in virtual box its throwing an error saying Cant start machine as hardware or software changed.

  44. Is anyone else having issues getting IE8/Win7 to boot in Parallels on OSX 10.6? It gets stuck on the boot screen–green progress bar stops moving, halts indefinitely. When I re-start the VM, it boots into the automatic repair menu. After running the auto repair tool, it says “Root Cause Found: A recent driver installation or upgrade may be preventing the system from starting.” I tried increasing the VM’s memory from 1 to 2 gigs, but to no avail. Also tried re-downloading and double checked all the MD5 hashes. Anyone have any suggestions on what else to try? Couldn’t get IE8/WinXP to work either, but IE10/Win8 is working fine. The VMs are a great solution for me, I hope I can get IE8 working.

  45. So, to test Chrome I have to:

    1. Download Chrome

    To test IE 7-10 I have to:

    1. Download 15-30 gigs of VMs

    2. extract and install

    3. Re-do the entire process every 90 days

    • You dont need to redownload the VMs, just delete the old one and reinstall.
      If you need to access files inside the VM you can use VMWare Mounter from your host PC.

  46. Please update your XP IE6 image! Its expired and I cannot perform my duties without it :(

  47. What’s the password for Administrator?

    On an older version of this I could change my /etc/hosts file by

    (1) install vim

    cd C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc
    runas /no-profile /user:Administrator cmd
    Enter the password for Administrator:

    vim hosts

    With this new version I can’t edit the hosts file (Users IEUser with password Passw0rd! does not write access to that file), and the old Password1 password for Administrator no longer works.

  48. Even testing Microsoft is an awful experience. This seems like a bad attempt to try to make something sound easy, when in fact there are a lot of problems with this tutorial. Let’s start with the fact that Curl gives me 3 files. An sfx and 2 rar. Your tutorial completely glosses over this and says launch the existing vdmk. Ummm, yeah but I was given 3 files (sfx and 2 rars). How about start there?

    • The tutorial is old which is why it doesn’t mention the new download methods. We made the change in v2 of modern.IE which introduced the Curl downloads.

      You’re right that this tutorial has to be updated.

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