Set up Your Machine for Virtual Testing

Brother Nathan from eLearning Brothers checking in with tips on how to set up your machine for virtual testing.

No matter how hard you follow best practices of web design it’s always broken in another browser. When I first learned web design it was aggravating to get a site working perfectly in Firefox and Safari, than opening up in Internet Explorer 6. I hate IE 6. A little of my inner web designer would die each time it broke a web page. Thank goodness, April 2014 Microsoft will FINALLY stop supporting this browser, and the world can focus on modern web browsers.

Unless you work for a client who still has these old machines, you can too. I have upgraded long ago, and don’t have any old machines. But, what do you do if you HAVE to make sure your design still works or degrade gracefully to older browsers?  Then what?

Welcome to Microsoft feels your pain, and has provided this site to help you test your web sites in a virtual machine. There are other programs out there that will test your websites in older browsers. Like IE Tester, or websites that will send you screenshots like But, is better for more thorough testing.

We recently had a client that needed their courses to work in IE 8. Some of us brought in old machines with IE 8. Others used Modern.IE. Below is how to set up your machine for virtual testing:

  1. Head on over to
  2. In, click on Get free tools.
  3. Click on Get free VMs. (Choose either link. I don’t know why they have two.)
  4. A drop down will appear. Select Desired Testing OS: Mac or Windows or Linux.
  5. Select Virtual Box. The reason is it’s less to download.
  6. Under IE8 – XP there is one file to download. If you are downloading other ones there could be up to 6 parts to download. Each being about a gig each. So, download the link under IE8 – XP.
  7. Don’t forget to download Virtual Box too.
  8. After downloading, install Virtual Box and Run the exe file for Virtual Box to extract the OVF/OVA/SFX file. OVF for Windows. On Mac (OVA) or Linux (SFX) it’s not compressed.
  9. Open up Virtual Box and go to File > Import appliance and navigate to the OVF, OVA or SFX file.
  10. After installing the VM, right click on the machine and go to settings.
  11. Make sure Enable Network Adapter is checked, and that Cable is connected. Even though you may be using wifi, the virtual machine may not have the drivers for it. It just needs to think it’s connected via cable. Close window when finished playing with settings.
  12. Run IE8. If you have played with the settings after you have run it. Close it and restart.

You should now be able to test your site in IE 8. Good luck.

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