Web designers and webmasters need to check their designs and websites not only in web browsers from various web browser developers but also in different versions of a web browser. Microsoft's Internet Explorer for example has a distribution rate that is still divided among the versions 6, 7 and 8 of Internet Explorer making it a necessity to test the website in all three of these versions (unless you are a huge site and have decided to cut off Internet Explorer 6 completely).
There are various options to test a website in different versions of Internet Explorer. Some, like IETester, make it possible to install multiple versions of Internet Explorer on the same computer system. Others, like Browsershots, are online tools that can test a website in various web browsers as well.
A third possibility is now offered by Microsoft directly in the form of virtual PC images. Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8 are provided as virtual PC images. It is possible to download a virtual PC image for each web browser running under Windows XP or Internet Explorer 7 or Internet Explorer 8 images running under Windows Vista.
The Windows XP images have a size of around 600 Megabytes each while the Windows Vista images triple that size. The only limitation is an expiration date for the virtual PC images. The Windows XP images will expire in January 2010 while the Vista images will expire 120 days after their first execution. These expiration dates make the virtual PC images a less than favorable solution but its probably better than not testing the various editions of Internet Explorer at all.
Users who are interested in the virtual PC images can download them directly from the Microsoft website.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.