Is it possible to have multiple versions of Internet Explorer on the same computer?


10 Answers 10


Microsoft now provides free virtual machine images with a number of different versions of Internet Explorer preinstalled. You can grab a copy of the images on the modern.ie website, which currently includes the following combinations:

  • IE6 on Windows XP
  • IE7 on Windows Vista
  • IE8 on Windows XP
  • IE8 on Windows 7
  • IE9 on Windows 7
  • IE10 on Windows 7
  • IE10 on Windows 8
  • IE11 on Windows 8.1
  • IE11 on Windows 7
  • IE11 on Windows 10

The images are designed for the following virtualization platforms:

  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Microsoft VirtualPC
  • Oracle VirtualBox
  • Parallels
  • VMware

The images expire after a fixed amount of time, so snapshots are recommended to simplify the process of "resetting" them after they expire.


IE6 on Windows XP IE8 on Windows 7


Try IETester.

IETester is a free (both for personal and professional usage) WebBrowser that allows you to have the rendering and javascript engines of IE10 preview, IE9, IE8, IE7 IE 6 and IE5.5 on Windows 7, Vista and XP, as well as the installed IE in the same process.

enter image description here


I assume you want this to test your website in a different browser version.

However a much safer and better solution would be to use Virtual PCs to install different versions.

This would mean you could use Internet Explorer 8 as your normal OS browser and run Internet Explorer 6 & 7 without any of the versions interfering with each other.

Quoted from the solution below, a possible alternative:

The method described below still works -- but there's now an alternate method suitable for web developers simply wanting to test their sites in IE6. Check out IETester, which allows you to install a standalone web browser in Vista or Windows 7 that allows you to view sites rendered using the IE6 rendering engine. It's not exactly a functional, standalone version of IE6 though, so if you are looking for that, use the method below.

Here's a nice article about it:

Got a work intranet application that works fine in IE6 but doesn't like IE7? Amazingly, Microsoft has provided a way to install the non-Vista-compatible IE6 on Vista and Windows 7. Well, maybe not quite, but near enough...

Internet Explorer 7 has been out for quite a while now, yet there are still plenty of sites out there that can’t cope with it, and demand that users connect using IE6. Unfortunately, most people (certainly the vast majority of home users) are running IE7 -- or even IE8 beta -- having received it as part of a Windows XP update, or they’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7 which uses IE7 or IE8 respectively by default.

If you’re running Windows XP, you can roll back to IE6, but this seems rather a shame to do. If you’re running Windows Vista, there’s no rollback option since IE6 was never released for Vista.

What you can do instead is make use of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image. These are two virtual PC hard drive images (downloadable here) which contain a full, pre-activated copy of Windows XP SP2 – one contains IE6 and the other IE7. The idea is to make users able to test either application, and to this end each image contains the IE7 Readiness Toolkit, the Script Debugger and the IE Developer Toolbar.

The individual downloads are fairly chunky (443 MB and 491 MB respectively) and expand out to 1.48 GB and 1.58 GB VHD files. To use the files, you need to install Virtual PC 2007, create a new machine using the default settings, and then go into each virtual machine and point the hard drive to the VHD file you just downloaded. Make sure the other settings are correct (especially networking) and then start the machines from the console.

  • 1
    One of my coworkers had a method of doing multiple IE versions at once but I forgot how. It definitely didn't involve virtual machines, which honestly seems completely overkill for a request like this (although it is likely to give the most accurate results).
    – TheTXI
    Aug 3, 2009 at 16:21
  • I'm sure they can make it possible, but that would probably only be useful to get IE6 running. If you have to test, a Virtual PC is both the safest and most reliable way. But I agree on the overkill
    – Ivo Flipse
    Aug 3, 2009 at 16:29
  • According to the MS site, those vhd images expired on August 31st, 2009, that's less than a month away. I guess after that we are out of luck?
    – user4450
    Aug 3, 2009 at 17:28
  • The images are refreshed. They are designed to only run for 90 days IIRC but you can boot them and run them for up to an hour after they expire. I highly recommend the images if you are doing testing. Any other method usually involves hacks that don't really give you a real world IE6 or IE7 install that users will actually have.
    – chauncey
    Aug 3, 2009 at 17:56

You could try Expression Web SuperPreview or Multiple_IE

  • Last I checked Multiple IE doesn't include IE7. Aug 4, 2009 at 5:46
  • @musicfreak, I think it assumes you have IE7 and want to run IE6
    – hasen
    Aug 4, 2009 at 6:18
  • Multiple IE does strange things with DLLs and dosn't work how you would like it too. Aug 4, 2009 at 8:30
  • @hasen j: But if you want IE7 and IE8 on the same machine, it won't work. Just a little heads-up. Aug 6, 2009 at 5:24
  • See also "Multiple IEs, including IE8!" at civicactions.com/blog/2009/may/18/multiple_ies_including_ie8
    – Arjan
    Oct 26, 2009 at 16:45

There are ways to run multiple versions of Internet Explorer on the same system, as @tjrobinson mentioned, but I wouldn't trust those during testing. Internet Explorer's "interesting" rendering habits can be very subtle, and these ways of running multiple versions of Internet Explorer do some weird tricks with some of the shared libraries and the registry, and I fear they might either introduce more subtle rendering anomalies, or hide some that would otherwise be there.

For the same reason, I don't trust the techniques for running Internet Explorer on Linux or Mac OS X, using Wine.

So, I would definitely go with virtualizing Windows. You can download Virtual PC images from Microsoft for this purpose, and not have to pay additional licensing fees. These images do expire, so I wouldn't recommend installing any other software on them, but when they expire, you can download new ones from Microsoft. They make them expire since they are free, and Microsoft doesn't want people using them as real systems.

  • 1
    The expired images do run for up to an hour, I think, before shutting down so you can still do some quick testing until you get the images re-downloaded. The nice thing about the VPC images is that MS provides Vista and XP images. And yes, the Vista images have saved me a time or two when I assumed IE7 had the same behavior but didn't based on security.
    – chauncey
    Aug 3, 2009 at 17:59
  • Yes, good point. The images are not useless after they expire. That hour is also put on hold if you suspend the VM, so you can test for 20 minutes, fix your bug, suspend, and repeat 3 times before it blue-screens.
    – pkaeding
    Aug 4, 2009 at 17:07

I haven't seen this mentioned, but works like a charm: http://utilu.com/IECollection/

Basically it offers standalone installs of all versions of IE from version 1 to 8, super simple installation and does the job perfectly!


For Windows XP, use Multiple IE.

Unfortunately though, Multiple IE doesn't work on Windows Vista.

So an alternative solution is IETester, which seems to have some issues/bugs sometimes, but it's good enough.

Another solution is to use a program like Virtual PC or VirtualBox and install a Windows XP with Internet Explorer 6 in it.

Microsoft releases Virtual PC Images for testing on Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7, but they expire every once in a while.

You can grab them from here: Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image

DISCLAIMER for the following section: I'm not a lawyer, you could very well be breaking the law by doing this, consult your local lawyers or whatever. If you don't own a Windows license then you're most likely breaking the law.


If you search torrent sites, there are torrents for VirtualBox images with TinyXP pre-installed, and it ships with Internet Explorer 6 by default. (TinyXP) is a hacked/stripped down version of Windows XP which is very light-weight, though it's most likely illegal; consult your lawyer(s)).

If you're on Linux, there's also Internet Explorer's for Linux), which attempts to run Internet Explorer 6 (and Internet Explorer 7) on Linux using Wine. However, I found that it sucks at rendering Arabic text.


On the same physical machine, I don't think its possible. You can virtualize using software like VirtualBox/Virtual PC/VMWare and try out different browsers.

If you want to know how a webpage will look at different browsers at different resolutions, try http://browsershots.org

  • 1
    Browsershots.org definitely good for quick, one-off checks, but virtualisation is definitely the way to go for anything more. Aug 3, 2009 at 16:58

I use the Spoon browser sandbox plugin for Firefox. The best part is that you don't have to install anything on your machine other than the plugin. It opens up a full version of 11 different browsers as needed.

Se also http://spoon.net/browsers/


There's no good way to do this; my recommendation would be to use virtual machines. You might also look into IETester - I can't speak for it firsthand but I've heard mixed reviews.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .