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Ok, not exactly, but… you can get the same effect using Microsoft Virtual PC with XP mode and run IE6 and IE7 as "virtual applications". You'll need to be running Windows 7 Ultimate and the free Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode.

The screen shot above (click to enlarge) shows the 7 major browsers running on my Windows 7 Ultimate RTM desktop, including IE6, IE7 and IE8! Pretty cool when you need to do compatibility testing. I've also pinned all 7 browsers on the start menu.


Want to know how I did it? Let's get started.

  1. As stated above, you'll need to be running Windows 7 Ultimate for this to work (Ultimate is required to run virtual applications).
  2. Install the free Microsoft Virtual PC from Microsoft.com.
  3. Then download and install XP mode (from the same web page). XP mode is actually a free version on Windows XP SP3 pre-installed onto a VHD.
  4. Now launch Windows XP Mode (click Start, type windows xp mode and press enter).
  5. Right click on the Start button and select Explore All Users.
  6. Double click on the Programs icon
  7. Drag the Internet Explorer icon from the desktop into the folder. This will create a shortcut to IE6. Windows 7 will Auto Publish any links create in All Users to the host system. Click Start, All Programs, Windows Virtual PC, Windows XP Mode Applications to see the link to IE6 that you just created.
  8. Next we'll Create a second XP virtual machine and install IE7.
  9. Click Start, All Programs, Windows Virtual PC, and Windows Virtual PC again.
  10. This will open up the Virtual Machines folder.
  11. Next click on Create Virtual Machine.
  12. Give your new XP virtual machine a name and click Next.
  13. Chose a RAM size and click Next (I left mine at 512k).
  14. Select Create with Advanced Options and click Next.
  15. For the VHD type, select Differencing
  16. You can leave the next screen at it's defaults and click Next.
  17. Now we need to specify the location of the base Windows XP image differencing disk (VHD). It should be installed at C:\Program Files\Windows XP Mode\Windows XP Mode base.vhd
  18. Click Create and you are all set. It should appear back in the Virtual Machines folder view.
  19. Double click on the new virtual machine. It will take several minutes and you will see the Windows XP startup screen, then some setup screens. Follow along with first time the setup process. The whole setup takes 5-10 minutes.
  20. Eventually you will be at the desktop with XP fully installed.
  21. Now let's install the Integration Features. This first time you do, you will be asked to enter your credentials. Enter Administrator as the username and enter the password you selected during XP setup. Remember to check Remember my credentials.
  22. On the new virtual machine, launch IE6 and go to the IE7 download page on Microsoft.com and install IE7.
  23. You will probably be asked to reboot the virtual machine.
  24. After the reboot, run Windows Update on the virtual XP machine. This will install any critical updates need for IE7 to run.
  25. Just like we did before for IE6, right click on the Start button and select Explore All Users.
  26. Double click on the Programs icon
  27. Drag the Internet Explorer icon from the desktop into the folder. This will create a shortcut to IE7. If it worked, you should see this:

You now have IE8 (running natively on Windows 7 Ultimate), IE7 (running in the virtual machine we created) and IE6 (running in the default virtual machine) running and you can enjoy single machine browsing and testing on all major browsers!


Adam Saunders said on August 22, 2009 at 5:44 PM ...

Very long winded when you could just use the IE Collection.

Yih said on May 11, 2010 at 3:48 PM ...

@ Adam, you're sorely mistaken. IE7 cannot be installed through the IE Collection on Win7 machines.

Alex Sherwin said on August 13, 2010 at 10:28 AM ...

This works as advertised, but it seems to be impossible to pass command arguments to the XP Mode applications from Windows 7.

For myself, I want to launch the XP Mode IE7 from an IDE for debugging purposes, but it seems impossible to do so.

You can create shortcuts with arguments in the XM Mode VM itself, and publish those, but that is not dynamic.

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andrej said on January 25, 2011 at 11:34 AM ...

Hey Donovan,
great post. Everything has worked out so far.
However, I cannot access local urls via the virtual pcs browser. Internet access works however.
I have mapped certain domains to my local drive (via the iis and the hosts file).
Do you of any way how I can reach these via the virtual pcs?
Thanks alot,

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shaman said on October 27, 2011 at 6:01 PM ...

Tried EI collection on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, NONE of it worked.

I had IE9 already.

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I love you for this. So useful; cheers.

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The possibility to virtualize IE6 on Windows 7 is very attractive, but unfortunatelly it seems to be against the license. Looking forward to hear what answer to you guys Microsoft will have.compare medicine

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