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How Can I Run Legacy Versions of Internet Explorer on Windows 8?

You’re sporting the newest edition of Windows but you need an older edition of Internet Explorer? Read on to see how you can wrangle a vintage browser into a modern operating system.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-drive grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader Jsalonen is in a bind, he writes:

I’m doing web development on a Windows 8 system. I’m running the latest IE, but I need to test the app with older versions of IE as well (especially IE7 and IE8).

Is it possible to run these legacy versions of IE on Windows 8?

What’s the best solution for a legacy setup like his?

The Answer

Several SuperUser contributors all pitched some great ideas for helping Jsalonen. HackToHell writes:

You use virtual machines to do this, it is the easiest way. You use Hyper V and the VHD images provided by microsoft (or use a third party tool like virtual box).

First off, setup Hyper V as per the instructions given by Kronos here.

You can then download the respective vhd images from Microsoft and create a virtual machine for each version of IE.

Running the vhd

Open the Hyper V manager and create a new virtual machine.

Enter the name, memory details etc, but then for the hard disk image, select use existing hard disk.

Click finish and you will have your VM that has the legacy versions of IE.

HowToGeek has a large tutorial of getting the individual VM’s running here.

Contributor Megaperlz suggests a stand-alone tool:

If you need a stand-alone testing tool you can try BrowseEmAll. It runs IE 7, 8, 9 and 10 alongside.

For more solutions hit up the full SuperUser comment thread here. Have a trick of your own to share? Sound off in the comments below.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/13/12

Comments (11)

  1. cowgod

    I am a huge How-To Geek fan, but this is a seriously half-baked article. There is no mention of the fact that Microsoft ripped out XP Mode, which was in Windows 7 Professional. Now we have to resort to using the VMs released by Microsoft, which expire every 90 days, or find our own copy of XP. And can we use differencing disks to save disk space? Nope, we have to have three or four separate VMs, probably each one needing their own XP license. Can we get a more in depth article?

  2. dima

    I fail to see why I would want to run any version of IE earlier than 9.

  3. NSDCars5

    I fail to see why I would want to run IE at all.

  4. steven

    Most (good) web devs want to make sure the website they build works on all major versions of browsers, and considering people still have xp and use ie7 or 8, it is professional to ensure a site is compatible, regardless of someone’s personal preference for IE….

  5. Alex

    @Dima

    Because some people have to test websites in older versions of IE since there people out there who somehow have access to the internet but don’t seem to be updating their browser.

    Also I prefer to use IETester http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage

    It’s a little flaky at times but for the majority of things I need to use it for it works great.

  6. Daniel

    I had the same problem and found IETester http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage It’s a free tool to test websites (local and online) in all IE versions >= 5.5.

    Kind regards,
    Daniel

  7. michel

    Stop with ignorant IE hate. Since 9, IE has been faster and more stable than Firefox in any variation. Tracking protection provides ad blocking without an add-on.

  8. Throne3d

    @michel Let’s keep hating IE, we’re not all Firefox lovers. ;)

    Chrome ftw. >:3

    At least this article provides _some_ answers as to how… ._.

  9. WhytteDragun

    @Michel: no version of IE has ever been faster or more stable than whichever version of Firefox was out at the time. Oh, and for the record, Firefox has tracking protection without an addon, you just have to turn it on.

  10. wrangler

    Why run any IE besides IE9? Because I hate web email readers and I have never found a better email reader than Outlook Express. Of course that means I have to run IE 6 in a VM.

  11. KrishnaChaitanya Ch

    This may not be applicable for many users at home and using browsers on personal systems.

    IE is most preferred browser in a corporate environment because of centralized control with GPOs using Active Directory. The main reason to use IE is because of the ease to implement SSO (single sign on) to many web applications in a corporate. We can implement SSO with Firefox but is not straight forward. Any System Admin with years of experience would agree with this and would prefer IE over other browsers, IBM is the only one I know who adopted and support firefox instead of IE .

    My experience with SAP Netweaver portal on Firefox or Chrome, it just does NOT work, works well with IE.

    I personally was not a fan of IE before version 8, always Chrome was my preferred choice along with Opera. But with IE 9 all that changed. I have been using IE 10 from the day I shifted to Windows 8 without any issue. But still I do have Portable versions of Firefox, Chrome and Opera on my Laptop only to cross check if something is broken in other browsers as well if it does not work with IE.

    Ajaxplorer 4.2.2 does not work with IE 10, so I use either Firefox or Chrome to access that.

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