IE6 on a Mac?
December 2, 2010 7:12 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to run IE6, 7, 8, and 9 on a 2010 iMac for web design and testing purposes?

I'm designing websites and I had been using a screencap service (litmus) to see how the sites looked in IE, but this is getting too expensive, and the free screencap services too slow. Plus I want to ensure consistent functionality, not just appearance.

At this point, I can't afford buying a PC to test sites, and I don't really want an extra computer around anyway, so I was thinking from preliminary research that my best bet would be Parallels + Windows 7, and I would only be using Parallels to run different versions of IE.

1. Are there any web designers / developers using this solution to test sites in IE that can offer some feedback?
2. Is there a better way to achieve my aims? Bootcamp?
3. Once I have the setup I described, will it run the earlier versions of IE just as IE6 would run on an older pre-windows 7 machine?

Anything else I should be considering for this kind of testing?

posted by bonsai forest to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you're going to do Parallels + Windows 7, you can probably use IEtester. Technically it's Windows-only, but Mac users in their forums have said they've gotten it to work using Parallels. (I love IEtester. It's so much easier than trying to install multiple browser versions.)
posted by Gator at 7:20 AM on December 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Have you tried loading wine with the browsers?
posted by TheBones at 7:26 AM on December 2, 2010

Seconding Parallels + IEtester, I use that pretty much every day. I've tried wine, and it just doesn't work as well as necessary to debug stuff.
posted by hobgadling at 7:36 AM on December 2, 2010

Leave the heavy lifting to someone else. Check out Adobe's Browserlab, it does what you are looking for.
posted by geekyguy at 7:39 AM on December 2, 2010

you could run a small windows instance configured with browsers of your choice on EC2 for $0.12/hr, be aware that the only available windows OS's are server 2003 & 2008.
posted by askmehow at 7:55 AM on December 2, 2010

I run Parallels, Windows 7 and IEtester too. Just a minor note; IEtester has been relatively unstable for me in this environment -- basically the 7 and 8 windows tend to crash after a few minutes (I'm not doing any testing of 9 at this point).

On the up side, IEtester seems relatively stable for IE6, and you can use the debug menu in IE8 to switch it back and forth between IE7 and IE8 emulation.

Last but not least, where I can get away with using it, ie8.js has vastly reduced the amount of time I have to spend in Windows beating IE into working more or less like a modern browser.
posted by nonliteral at 8:34 AM on December 2, 2010

IEs4OSX will run IE 5, 5.5, 6 and 7 on an Intel Mac. Uses Darwine to handle Wine emulation. A bit faster than booting up Parallels.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:58 AM on December 2, 2010

Personally, I run Parallels with XP for IE 7-8 (using MultipleIE) and FF Win. I also have a Vista laptop (which renders text the same way Win7 does) for IE 7-9 and FF Win. When I'm too lazy to boot up parallels (which is most of the time), I use Adobe Browserlab. I do not test for IE6 at all and say so in my contracts, your milage may vary.

The issue is that while Vista and Win7 render text the same way, XP is completely different. So I test IE and Firefox for XP as completely different browsers. Mind you, my designs tend to be completely type-based (with almost no graphics), so you may not need to take care of your typography as much as I do.

For more info:
Type Rendering: operating systems
Font rendering in web browsers
posted by thebestsophist at 12:01 PM on December 2, 2010

I have access to a license for WinXP, so I just installed a couple copies of it with various versions of IE in different VirtualBox instances. this solution eats a ton of hard drive, but works reasonably well.
posted by contrarian at 2:31 PM on December 2, 2010

Better than Browserlab is which has virtual machines running Windows (with various flavours of IE), Linux, Android, iOS etc., which you control through your own browser. It's not free but if you're doing development work it's well worth it in my opinion.
posted by cbrody at 5:15 AM on December 3, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everybody, I really appreciate the additional information and options!
posted by bonsai forest at 7:05 AM on December 3, 2010

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