I'm trying to setup a few virtual machines to use for testing websites in the various old versions of IE. I had Microsoft Virtual PC working on an older machine using XP mode and 2 other VHD's from Microsoft that allowed me to test in IE6-IE8. I've recently gotten a new work machine and am trying to set up the VMs again for testing, however nothing seems to be working. Both the old and the new system run Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate with AMD processors.

I downloaded Virtual PC & XP mode from here http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx and go through the installation process. XP mode is installed, but when I try to run it it goes through the initial setup process only to fail when it is almost complete with the error "Cannot Complete Setup". (After googling I see that this might be a conflict with my processor)

I download other VHD's from here http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx in order to get the other versions of IE and try to set those up in Virtual PC as well. I click on them to start the machine and both Windows 7 with IE8 and Windows Vista with IE7 just hang at a black screen.

I try to use Virtual Box instead, and I get Windows XP with IE6 running, but I have no internet connection in the VM. I try all different settings and try to google the correct settings but nothing seems to work. When I load the VM, XP shows that its found new hardware but it needs the drivers. One of these pieces of hardware is the network adapter, but I can't connect to the internet to download the driver in the guest OS. VirtualBox tells me I need to install extensions in order for things to function properly. I go through the installation process in the guest OS and restart the VM, however now XP is asking for validation and I can't access the VM. I try installing the other 2 OS (Vista & 7) but I get a BSOD right after the startup screen appears and the VM restarts itself.

I'm getting so frustrated trying to make this work, I would really appreciate any assistance on getting the VMs up and running or any alternatives for testing websites in Internet Explorer.

  • IE has a function so that you can run it as an older version. I just have no idea how to do this. – cutrightjm May 19 '12 at 20:18
  • Yeah, I'm using that temporarily for now because I need to get testing done on this one site, but I've heard that it is not always accurate. – biggles May 19 '12 at 21:16
  • Have you tried ensuring your firewall is disabled on your host PC? Can you ping your host PC from your guest VM? – Arran May 19 '12 at 23:11
  • @jlego: Rather than continue with the hassle of setting up VM's I would suggest you use IE Tester for your testing instead: my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage. I have found it very useful. – James P Jun 7 '12 at 9:04
  • @James I have read about how inaccurate IETester is. My temporary solution is to use IE9's built-in dev tools that emulate earlier versions of IE pretty well. – biggles Jun 7 '12 at 13:48

This solved it for me: http://timwise.blogspot.com/2012/04/running-ie-application-compatibility.html

For me the image would get half way through booting windows, and then blue-screen (BSOD). I discovered that it was possible to get past this by removing the SATA controller the machine's settings, and instead adding the disk under the IDE controller. After that the machine booted successfully.

Basically you have to remove the SATA image and re-add as IDE.

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    Glad to be of service :-) I figured I wouldn't be alone on that one, and it was a leap of imagination that got me to the answer. Oh and obviously that gets an upvote from me (lol). – Tim Abell Dec 4 '12 at 22:47
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    Dude, how did you find this out? I can't believe this solved my problem. I usually don't post useless "thank you" comments, but man, this one saved me. – Marco Aurélio Deleu Sep 29 '15 at 15:28
  • Wow, this one saved me too. Thank you! Zero indication this was the issue. Ran into this while trying to run VM for IE 11 on Win 7 (x86) with VirtualBox on macOS 10.13.4. – Josh Buchea Apr 12 '18 at 20:21

Set the networking on the VBox VMs to use Bridged or NAT networking. Ensure it is sharing your live adapter from the host.

  • I tried with NAT and with the bridged with the XP VM that I had working, but no dice. The Vista and Seven VMs will not even start up properly, so I can't tell there. – biggles May 19 '12 at 21:18

Check the VirtualBox Networking FAQ: https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/User_HOWTOS

I usually setup 2 virtual NICs in my VMs - one NAT and one host-only. Host-only allows the VM to talk to the host (such as connecting to a local web server running there,) and NAT allows the VM to talk to external networks.

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