Virtual PC It was exactly three weeks ago when Microsoft released a Virtual PC image that had a pre-activated version of Windows XP on it. The reason they posted it was because a lot of people were complaining that they had no way to run Internet Explorer 6 and 7 on the same machine. Microsoft’s solution to the problem doesn’t involve creating a standalone version of Internet Explorer, and instead they think it is more feasible to offer a free Virtual PC image of Windows XP SP2 that has IE 6 installed on it.

It was promptly removed after it had been posted but it is back…and it looks like with some limitations:

A VPC hard disk image containing a pre-activated Windows XP SP2, IE6 and the IE7 Readiness Toolkit

This VPC image will expire on 04/01/2007.

I assume that expiration date was added and that is why Microsoft took down the image initially. According to the Internet Explorer Blog similar Virtual PC images may also be made available:

While we’ve released a VPC image today with Windows XP SP2, we’re also investigating creating other VPC images, for example IE5, IE5.5, IE6 and IE6 SP1, as well as versions of IE on different language operating systems.

I don’t understand why they can’t just create some kind of sandbox environment to run this in because enough people are requesting a solution. If they just keep creating Virtual PC images it will quickly become frustrating because they expire and for all of the different versions of Internet Explorer a user would need to use several different images…therefore taking up a huge amount of space when all they want is a way to test a site in a browser. Or what would be even cooler is if Microsoft made a way for users to remotely connect to different versions of XP that each has a different version of Internet Explorer. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about installing anything!

It’s kinda funny that I am posting this right after I just posted about versions of Internet Explorer that you can just download and run…which I’m not sure on the legality but it is very nice for Web developers.

Direct Download Link For Windows XP Virtual PC Image
Homepage For Windows XP Virtual PC Image

Direct Download Link for Virtual PC 2004
Homepage for Virtual PC 2004