Dec 132012

Users visiting a web site use different operating systems (Windows, Linux), and different browsers (Internet Explorer versions 6,7,8,9, Firefox, Chrome, Opera,…).

The differences in implementation of these browsers often result in differences in the processing and rendering of the HTML, CSS and Javascript code mix that usually compose a web page, making the pages of our site look distorted or not operational in some of them.

There are “cross-browser” libraries and other tactics to avoid these compatibility issues between browsers, but the first step is to discover where do these problems happen, by testing the pages in our site on a set of different types of browsers and versions that cover as much as possible the browsers used by our visitors.

In this post we will explain how to set up a testing environment in a computer running  Windows 7 Professional, to run on a single computer different versions of Internet Explorer and other browsers.

1. Install Virtual PC and download a virtual Windows XP image

First, download Virtual PC from (Note: The download only work for IE browsers)

Next, download the virtual machines for the different versions of IE we want to target, from the Microsoft download page: For instance, download “Windows_XP_IE6.exe”.

When this file is executed, it prompts for the location to save the virtual machine. If we answer “C:VirtualPC”, the files created under this directory are as follows:

Then, run Virtual PC ( “Start -> Windows Virtual PC”), and select the file “Windows XP.vmc”

In the login dialog displayed, enter user “Administrator” and password “Password1”:

Afetr login, a Windows XP guest system starts executing inside the virtual machine:

2. Configure the network adapter of the virtual machine

The next step is configuring a network adapter to give connectivity to the virtual machine. In the upper menu, select “Tools -> Settings”, and in the dialog window displayed, select “Networking”, and assign the option “Shared Networking (NAT)” to Adapter 1:

With the network adapter in place, we can execute an Internet Explorer 6 browser inside the guest Windows XP system, and point it to the url of our site to test it!

 Posted by at 9:05 pm

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