Cross-browser testing and virtualization

_Update: The latest images from Microsoft now ONLY work under MS Virtual PC ! Not so useful if you are a Mac developer or you want to run under VMware like we are. Microsoft is aware of the problem, hopefully they fix it soon.


I’ve been setting up a bunch of VMware images for testing various browser and OS combinations. This has worked out very nicely and the best thing is you can do it all for free !

In my travels I came across these very useful images from Microsoft, basically XP and Vista installs with various flavours of Internet Explorer ( 6, 7 and 8 ) installed.

These are free for download (but they do expire) and can be easily run using Microsoft’s free Virtual PC.

To get these images to run under VMware, you first need to set up the images to run under Virtual PC (to create a .vmc file) and then you can converted the images to the VMware format using the VMware vCenter Converter. This tool is also free.

The VMware Converter is also able to create an image of your locally installed OS, I haven’t tried this but it could be useful for backups and the like.

All up its taken about 2 days to set up XP, Vista & Ubuntu images running combinations of IE 6, IE 7, IE 8, Firefox 3, Opera 9, Safari 4 and Chrome.

Now the fun really starts….