Until now, I never really bothered how my website looks in IE. After all, if you’re visiting my site using IE (a tiny 3%), chances are you are are simply not part of my target audience.
But things are different when you develop a website for someone else, who’s target audience might just be about anyone. In such cases, testing your website in IE becomes essential.
But we have Macs, hate Windows, and aren’t willing to pay a goddamn dime to get to use it. And we certainly don’t want to go through burning, installing and activating it. We want to use IE, not Windows.
What you’ll need (all free)
- Virtual Box (if you’re using Lion, make sure you grab version 4.0.6, as 4.0.8 seems to be incompatible with it — thanks @patr)
- One of the many Windows / IE virtual images (thanks Microsoft). They are multi-parts rar files — make sure you get the whole set!
- UnRarX (The Unarchiver doesn’t cut it)
The easy part
- Install Virtual Box.
- Extract the Windows image by opening the part 1 file (the one that ends with .exe) with UnrarX (this may take a while).
- In Virtual Box, create a new Virtual machine.
- Give it a name, pick the right OS and version.
- Allocate the amount of RAM (I gave it 1GB).
- When prompted to select a virtual hard disk, click the “Use existing hard disk” option and select the extracted .vhd image.
The tricky part
From here, if you start your virtual machine, you’ll enter an endless loop that keeps putting you into Windows Recovery Mode. The fix:
- Right-click your newly created machine and click “Settings…” .
- In the “Storage” tab, inside “Storage Tree”, delete the items listed under “SATA Controller”.
- Add it back inside the “IDE Controller” group (when prompted, click “choose existing disk” and select your .vhd image).
- Under its attributes, set the “Hard Disk” type to “IDE Secondary Slave”.
Click ok and start your machine (user account password is “Password1” by default). Happy IE debugging!
UPDATE: if your VM’s internet connection isn’t picking up:
- Shut down your virtual machine
- Hit its Settings and then “Network”
- In “Adapter Type”, select “Intel PRO/1000 MT”