Microsoft continues to offer free copies of its Windows Vista and Windows XP operating systems for download, in a tradition that started approximately a couple of years back. Earlier this week, the Redmond company has updated the range of offerings that provide users with free copies of the two supported Windows clients preceding Windows 7. The lineup of downloads delivers three copies of XP and two of Vista for a total of five free Windows downloads packaged as VHD images.
Following the release of Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft began offering web developers the necessary resources to streamline content testing on IE6 and IE7, at that time. With the advent of Internet Explorer 8, the software giant added yet another browser to the list. Web developers come across various problems when it comes down to building websites that will work seamlessly across IE6, IE7 and IE8, especially because of the way Microsoft understood to tailor each browser to web standards.
So in a way, the Redmond company is redeeming its web standards-non compliant ways by offering the Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image. The downloads offer “VPC Hard Disk Images for testing websites with different Internet Explorer versions on Windows XP and Windows Vista,” according to Microsoft. Specifically fully functional copies of Vista and XP, preloaded with different versions of Internet Explorer, designed to be run in Virtual PC 2007 or in Windows Virtual PC, and streamline testing.
As was the case with previous Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image releases from Microsoft, the latest offerings are time bombed. Microsoft informed that copies of Windows XP were set to expire at the start of 2010, and Vista could be used for no more than four months.
Microsoft enumerated the following downloads:
- IE6-XPSP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE6 VHD file. Expires January 1, 2010
- IE7-XPSP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE7 VHD file. Expires January 1, 2010
- IE8-XPSP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE8 VHD file. Expires January 1, 2010
- IE7-VIS1.exe+IE7-VIS2.rar+IE7-VIS3.rar contain a Vista Image with IE7 VHD file. Expires 120 days after first run
- IE8-VIS1.exe+IE8-VIS2.rar+IE8-VIS3.rar+IE8-VIS4.rar contain a Vista Image with IE8 VHD file. Expires 120 days after first run.
Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images are available for download here.