Not all users will follow the footsteps of Microsoft in advancement of both Windows operating system and IE (Internet Explorer) web browser to newer version. Despite Windows 7 and IE8 has been available for a while, with Windows 8 and IE9 in active development, many people around the world especially businesses and corporations still stick with Windows XP and IE6 or IE7.

As such, it’s important for web developers to test and verify the websites, web pages and web apps compatible or work and display properly in various versions (including earlier or older versions) of web browser running on various flavors of operating system. Microsoft is releasing the new Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images, which comes in fully activated Windows operating system for free download.

The VPC (Virtual PC) image contains pre-installed and pre-activated virtualized and fully patched clean installed Windows operating system packaged in VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) format, which can be mounted to Microsoft’s virtualization solutions such as Microsoft Virtual PC, Windows Virtual PC and Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 to run as a virtual machine.

The IE Application Compatibility VPC Images comes in different version of Internet Explorer running on different platforms of either Windows XP SP3 or Windows Vista SP1. There are a total of five different images that available free of charge. All images are time-bombed for 90 days after first run (for Windows Vista) or will expire on January 11th, 2011 (for Windows XP).

  • Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP SP3
  • Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP SP3
  • Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP SP3
  • Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista SP1
  • Internet Explorer 8 on Windows Vista SP1

Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Images are available for free download on Microsoft Download Center.

Official Direct Download Links for IE Application Compatibility VPC Images

Note that the VHD images are specifically designed to run on Microsoft Virtual PC, and may or may not work in other hosting environments. In other hosting environments, user may be required to activate the OS as the product key has been deactivated and will not pass genuine validation.

The username and password for these images is contained in the read me that is packaged along with the VHD.

Update: Windows 7, Vista and XP with IE6, IE7, IE8 or IE9 VHD

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