Microsoft continues to offer free copies of its Windows operating systems, a “tradition” that the company started back in 2006 after the release of Internet Explorer 7. The software giant is attempting to compensate for the shortcomings of the Windows design in older releases of its platforms, in which a single version of Internet Explorer can be installed at a time. This limitation makes it difficult for developers building websites to test their code in different IE versions on Windows Vista and Windows XP.
This is where the Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image comes in. This download offers free, virtualized copies of XP and Vista, each with different versions of Internet Explorer. There are no less than five downloads available, all free of charge.
The VPC Hard Disk Images are time bombed, and only allow usage for a limited period of time. However, for the past few years, Microsoft has updated the Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image downloads without fault, just ahead of their expiration date.
In Windows 7, Internet Explorer 8 can be turned off, a move which is roughly equivalent to having the browser almost completely uninstalled. At the same time, the next generation of IE, Internet Explorer 9 can be deployed alongside older versions of IE on top of Windows 7 and Vista.
“This download page contains different VPC images, depending on what you want to test.
- IE6-on-XP-SP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE6 VHD file. Expires October 1, 2010
- IE7-on-XP-SP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE7 VHD file. Expires October 1, 2010
- IE8-on-XP-SP3.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE8 VHD file. Expires October 1, 2010
- IE7-VIS1.exe+IE7-VIS2.rar+IE7-VIS3.rar contain a Vista Image with IE7 VHD file. Expires 90 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 90 days after first run
For The Vista image, you will need files in that set, downloaded and in the same directory, then run the EXE in the root directory,” Microsoft stated.
The Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image are available for download here.
Download Free Windows XP and Windows Vista Copies Packaged as VHD Files