Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Running IE6 in Windows 7 with Virtual PC

With the advent of Windows 7 and improved application virtualization, legacy browser testing has been greatly simplified.

Thanks to the XP Mode vmc that Microsoft provides here, it is quite easy to setup an instance of IE6 to run almost seamlessly alongside your native Windows 7 apps.

After installing Windows Virtual PC and the XP Mode vhd, perform the following steps:
  1. In Windows Explorer, navigate to "c:\documents and settings\all users\start menu".
  2. Right-click and select New -> Shortcut.
  3. Type in http://www.google.com or whatever you would like your home page to be.
  4. Give the shortcut a name (I called mine "IE6").
  5. Finish the wizard, log off, and close the virtual PC.
  6. In your Windows 7 start menu you will now find a folder at All Programs -> Windows Virtual PC -> Windows XP Mode Applications which contains the shortcut you just created. Click this shortcut and TADA! IE6 runs in a window of it's own.
One limitation of this approach is that you can only have one instance of any XP Mode application running at one time. You may be able to open multiple IE6 instances by creating more than one shortcut in the xp start menu, but I didn't try it.