How to Get Internet Explorer on Mac for Testing

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While developing web applications you want to test your application across browsers especially Internet Explorer/Edge. I have always been a fan of grabbing a spare PC and having IE tester or Install latest IE version and toggle between the modes.

After switching to Mac back in 2011 I don’t have a spare PC available so I evaluated the latest web-based options including BrowserStack and Sauce.

Both have a wide variety of platforms and browsers from which web applications can be tested. However, I was unable to reproduce some reported bugs and saw other bugs which weren’t reported. Both are fairly slow to boot up and navigate in the browser. In order to test them locally, you need to set up a web tunnel either through command line tools or through each of their interfaces.

After exhausting the web options, I decided to explore Virtual Machines (VMs) as browser testing environments. Setting up a VM was a pretty simple three step process:

  1. Download Virtualbox and install.
  2. Install the IEVMs you need- More Instructions
  3. Wait for some time. Depending on your internet connection it can take a while.

The install script sets up every version of IE back to v6, which hopefully I’ll never have to use. Each VM is pretty quick to start up (e.g. X seconds) and easy for local testing. Overall, VMs have been a pleasant surprise, compared to hosted solutions and the extra PC.

Time to smash those CSS bugs in IE.