I have Windows XP Professional installed. I want to use 2 virtual machines for testing Internet Explorer 7 & 8. Being a web designer, I need to test my site in all browsers.

I installed Microsoft Virtual PC 7 but after starting it all I see is a DOS like window, asking me to "Reboot and select proper boot device".

I want to know how to install a different operating system for each and every virtual machine, or is there a way to run software in virtual machines without additional operating systems, as I have Windows XP already installed.


Microsoft allow to download directly from their site some virtual machines that allow you to test IE6, IE7 and IE8 at this page:

Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image

You download virtual machines in VHD format that can be used without modification directly with Microsoft Virtual PC that is also free and you can found here:


  • 1
    Hmm, I didn't know they were providing "ready to use" VMs for such tests, that fits exactly the need. – Gnoupi Feb 17 '10 at 10:59
  • Alas, the second link of this answer does not give Microsoft Virtual PC, it deals with "Win XP Mode", which I don't want. – Nicolas Barbulesco Dec 6 '13 at 11:45

Microsoft is now offering virtual machines at Modern.IE. You can even choose images for different virtualization platforms.


A virtual machine, like the name suggests, is like another machine, emulated (well, at least in this case. I'm ruling out VMs used by some programming languages, which are something else). As such, you will need to install one system per virtual machine, like if you were installing on a physical one.

There can be easier ways for you to try different browsers, however, like for example on this other question, about several versions of Internet Explorer on the same machine.


The virtual machines provided by Microsoft at the link(Internet Explorer Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image) expired at 17 November, 2011. But hopefully they will update them soon.

But there is an even better way of doing this, if your using Windows 7 (Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate) you could use there "Windows XP Mode". An easy article of how to set this up can be found over here: Using Windows 7’s Windows XP Mode to Run Multiple Versions of Internet Explorer

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