Microsoft has made pre-packaged Virtual Machine images available for purposes of testing different versions of IE via the modern.ie web site. This blog post describes how you can get these VM images loaded into the free VirtualBox software and talking to an IIS Express web site running on your local PC.
Warning: These instructions were tested on VirtualBox 4.3.12, the latest version as of May 22, 2014. By default, this is set up to make your VM get Internet access via your PC using a virtual NAT. The VM will be assigned an IP address by a built-in DHCP server that runs on the VirtualBox Host-Only NIC. Unless you start changing things, this should all remain on your local PC and your VM won’t accidentally get an IP address from your network’s real DHCP server – but your mileage may vary and you should confirm that! The author of these instructions makes no warranty that these settings may not cause a problem on your particular network, so you should proceed with caution and at your own risk. Do not follow these instructions if you are not comfortable with the concepts of IP addresses, network cards, virtualization, or web servers – or what havoc a rogue DHCP server could cause.
- Download and install Virtual Box: http://www.virtualbox.org (yes I know it’s Oracle, but it is gratis and it works even on some older Core2 processors that Hyper-V doesn’t support)
- Be sure that Virtual Box is fully installed before starting the next step because installing the drivers will temporarily disable your physical NIC.
- Open this page: http://modern.ie/en-us/virtualization-tools#downloads
- Select "VirtualBox on Windows".
- Download part1.exe and all of the .rar files for the particular VM you want. Save these to a temporary "downloads" folder.
- When all of the files are downloaded, run the EXE and allow it to extract the .OVA file. Once you have the .OVA file, you can then delete the corresponding .EXE and .RAR files.
- Move the .OVA file to a “special place”. This is the file you have to run to set up a new VM of that variety.
- Run the .OVA file by double-clicking on it. You will get an "import" screen in Virtual Box.
- The first VM you launch should have an IPv4 address like 10.0.2.15 which was served by the virtual DHCP server on 10.0.2.2.
- Find the web site that you want to set up for the VM to use and add an extra entry to the bindings tag to allow IIS Express to listen on the internal VirtualBox IP address (in my example, the site was set up on port 59707 – you can use whatever port you wish) and save the config file:
Have fun getting your new site working with old IE!