Aaron Presley

Free IE Testing on Mac OS X March 11, 2014

Testing IE on a Mac is always a pain. Luckily, Microsoft provides free VMs to use for testing. Those, along with VirtualBox, can create a not-horrible way to test your sites in IE.

Download VirtualBox

VirtualBox is an open source virtualizer that works on Mac. It was a little hard to find the DMG, but you can download it here.

Download the Free VMs

Microsoft provides free VMs to use, which you can download here. For this demo, I'm choosing VirtualBox for Mac and will be downloading the IE 9 - Win 7 VM.

To download all the pieces, crack open the terminal and run the following commands:

mkdir ~/VMs && cd ~/VMs
curl -O -L "http://www.modern.ie/vmdownload?platform=mac&virtPlatform=virtualbox&browserOS=IE9-Win7&filename=VirtualBox/IE9_Win7/Mac/IE9.Win7.For.MacVirtualBox.part{1.sfx,2.rar,3.rar,4.rar}"

This will begin downloading 4 files to your new VMs directory (1 .sfx file and 3 .rar files). It will take a while to download, so get comfortable.

Generate an OVA File

We need to generate an OVA file from our 4 files. First we need to ensure that our .sfx file is executable, so run this:

chmod +x IE9.Win7.For.MacVirtualBox.part1.sfx

Now we're ready to generate our OVA file with the following command:


Once this script finished, you should have a new file in your VMs directory called "IE9 - Win7.ova." You can delete the .sfx and .rar files.

Installing on VirtualBox

Double-clicking on the .ova should bring up VirtualBox. Double-click the "RAM" option and update it to 1024 MB.

Clicking Import will import your new virtual machine. Once you boot it up, make sure to install VirtualBox's Guest Additions by going to Devices > Install Guest Additions CD Image (will require reboot).

Take a Snapshot

This VM will "expire" after a trial period. Taking a snapshot of the VM in this current state will allow you to continually start the trial period from day 1.

From in VirtualBox

  1. Select your new VM on the left (IE9 - Win7)
  2. Choose "Snapshots" in the top-right of the VirtualBox window.
  3. "Current Status" should already be selected. Click the blue camera icon to create a snapshot. I named mine "New Install".

Repeat Per Browser

Now you've got a brand new IE9 installation for testing. Go you! Repeat this step for as many IE browsers as you need to test.

Bonus: Install Other Browsers

IE isn't the only browser you'll need to test. Use ninite.com for a quick way to download Chrome, Opera and Firefox on your new Windows VMs. Make sure to do this before you take your Snapshot so you only have to do it once.