Emulating IE with VirtualBox

2 minute read Published

How to emulate old versions of Internet Explorer for cross-browser testing.

Earlier today, while looking for a new solution to an older IE compatibility issue, I chanced across this nifty script for testing IE on macOS using virtual machines and VirtualBox: xdissent.github.com/ievms.

Using cURL and a few simple commands you can download, extract and install Internet Explorer 6-9 VMs in a single command.

Note: Be patient as each VM can range from 2GB to 5GB or more. Use CLI flags to filter specific versions of Internet Explorer installed to save time.

The cURL script handles all of the downloading as shown here:

Emulators installing via Terminal on macOS
Patience tested as bits of the IE virtual image archive are assimilated.

Once a VM is downloaded and extracted by the script, it is installed in VirtualBox automatically. Start the virtual machine to begin booting into Windows, as shown:

IE6 emulated Windows loading screen
Not quite there yet… Patience young grasshopper.

When Windows boots login with the provided user using the password Password1.

Update 2014-02-01: IEVMs now supports IE 10 and 11, and newer versions no longer require a password is used to access the Windows operating system.

After you log-in into the user account, install the Guest Additions and then reboot to ensure the VM will function properly while running Windows.

Note: Some browsers, like IE6, require additional installation steps. See the ievms script doc for more detailed instructions.

Once finished you may get reacquainted with an old friend shown here:

IE6 emulated installation successful
Success. Where do you want to go today?
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