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I am trying to install the vhds (virtual hard drive image) of IE6 on XP and IE 7 on XP packs available from Microsoft on Virtual Box. Virtual Box will only mount CD/DVD's and/or ISO's. How do I get it to use the Microsoft files? I need this to test web pages in IE6/IE7s.

I am running Windows 7 Home Premium.

Is there a way to do this, or another way that will allow me to load XP/IE6 and XP/IE7 in Virtualbox


Ok I got it to work but it says XP must be updated in 3 days due to hardware changes. Microsoft said this would be activated til January 1st 2010. Is there a way to bypass that?

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migrated from Nov 28 '09 at 1:15

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Could you please detail your question? Do you have installers for IE6 and IE7 on your host as EXE or MSI files and can't access them in the guest OS? – fviktor Nov 28 '09 at 0:57
can someone format this question please – Nathan Koop Nov 28 '09 at 1:29

Microsoft said this would be activated til January 1st 2010. Is there a way to bypass that?

circumventing the time limited activation of Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images is illegal and you should not ask for assitance in such activities here.

Microsoft will release new Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images when the old images are expired (at least, this was the practice in the past).

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Correct, please also note that the images will continue to work (at least they have on my machine) but they will restart every hour, irritating yes, but in my case it was acceptable. – Nathan Koop Nov 28 '09 at 1:30

Do you really need to use VirtualBox? Can you browser test with IETester or SuperPreview for Internet Explorer?

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Yes, for proper compatibility testing there is no substitute for a virtual machine. – bobince Nov 28 '09 at 2:01

As you said, the VHDs should expire January the first 2010. The reason you are having the problem is because the VHDs were designed for Microsoft Virtual PC and not for Virtual Box, so when Virtual Box runs it, the hardware is seen differently.

The first thing you can try is to actually activate the machines - it may work.

Other than that, there is nothing on your host machine that remembers which VHD was run. As Microsoft give these for free, I think it is unlikely they will complain about what I am going to say -

As these are used for using Internet Explorer and it is unlikely that you will install or use them for anything else, Simply Download the VHDs again and either run from a copy or create a snapshot before you first use it. Whenever the timer runs out, simply restore the snapshot or create a new copy of the original files.

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this doesn't work, there is no "timer". the activation expires at a certain date, on the 1st of January 2010 in this case, not after x amount of days. unless you fiddle with the system date of the virtual machine. – Molly7244 Nov 28 '09 at 2:00
I know - he didn't ask to bypass the final date of 1st of January, he asked to bypass the 3 day activation on change of hardware... My solution can do that. – William Hilsum Nov 28 '09 at 2:15

Yeah, as Wil said the VHDs are meant for VirtualPC only. Whilst newer versions of VirtualBox can work with VirtualPC's VHD format instead of native VDI, it's not a very comfortable solution.

You're getting an activation warning because the hardware emulated by VirtualBox is different to that emulated by VirtualPC, so XP thinks that its installation has been copied to a different machine (which, of course, it really has). (TBH I'm impressed you got that far, as XP installations commonly don't cope very well with being moved over different basic chipsets.)


  1. Install VirtualPC as Microsoft intend you to and use the VHDs from there, re-downloading them every few months as they expire, or

  2. Install your own fresh, unlimited copy of Windows XP on your VirtualBox virtual machine, activate, take a copy of its VDI, then install IE7 on the copy. So you'll have two disk images you can swap between to run IE6 and IE7.

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is there anyway to fix the activation warnings? I am happy for it to expire after 3 months, but I could do without the 3-day activation limit and the concomitant restarting every hour or whatever – frankster Nov 17 '10 at 18:30
@frankster: only via the usual circumvention tools used to run unauthorised copies of Windows in general. Your legality may vary. – bobince Nov 18 '10 at 18:43

There is a "Shared folder" feature of VirtualBox. You can also map a shared network drive from your host into the guest OS and use the files from there.

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@fviktor: I think he meant that the vhd (which is specifically virtual pc - i guess) he is trying to extract data from it and use it in virtualbox. AFAIK there is no support for vhd to be used in virtualbox. Correct me if I am wrong? – t0mm13b Nov 28 '09 at 1:01
Actually it can now read VHD and (VMware) VMDK images. I wouldn't really recommend it though. – bobince Nov 28 '09 at 2:14

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