Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Virtual PC

As a web designer, I want to make my web pages look pretty in any browser people may use. And, one of the hardest browsers to test for is Internet Explorer 6 (IE6). Unfortunately, my Google Analytics show that a little under half of all IE users use version 6. A slight majority have switched it IE7. But not enough to forget about IE6 users.

To really be certain that my page will look right in nearly every visitor's browser, I test in Firefox, IE7, Safari and IE6. I figure this will cover 95% of my visitors, plus if it works in these there is a good chance it will work in the others (e.g., Opera, Mozilla, etc.).

The problem I ran into is being able to test a site in IE6 and IE7. You can't have both versions installed on your PC at the same time: Microsoft forbids it. To help us designers out, Microsoft has virtual hard drives (VHDs) available with IE6 installed. So, if you download Virtual PC (free) and the install the VHD for IE6 at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=70868, you can easily test your design with IE6 on the same computer that has IE7 installed.

There you go. But, this would all be a lot easier if everyone just upgraded to IE7! What are they waiting for?

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