Best way to test a webdesign for IE on a Mac?

I'm currently designing a website on a Mac. The design works fine in Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Now I'm about to test it with different versions of Internet Explorer. The problem is that I don't have access to a Windows machine at the moment. What's the best way to test a webdesign for IE on a Mac?


I use, which is pretty cool. But the debugging tool (Firebug) gets really slow on IE7 and IE8.

So here it is a way to have IE7, 8 and 9 working in your mac:

1) Download & Install VirtualBox

2) Launch the Terminal (located in /Applications/Utilities/)

3) Decide which versions of Internet Explorer you want to download and install – each version of Internet Explorer is contained within a separate virtual machine that runs within VirtualBox. In other words, if you want to run Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9, you will need to download three separate VM’s, which may take a while so keep that in mind. Select the text below and copy it:

3.1) Install ALL versions of Internet Explorer: IE7, IE 8, and IE 9

curl -s | bash

3.2)Install Internet Explorer 7 Only

curl -s | IEVMS_VERSIONS="7" bash

3.3) Install Internet Explorer 8 Only

curl -s | IEVMS_VERSIONS="8" bash

3.4)Install Internet Explorer 9 Only

curl -s | IEVMS_VERSIONS="9" bash

Copy and paste the selected command from above into the Terminal and hit return, this will start the download and conversion process. How long this takes depends on your internet connection and how many versions of Internet Explorer you chose to install Launch VirtualBox and boot Windows & Internet Explorer – select the virtual machine corresponding to the version of Internet Explorer you intend to use: IE7, IE8, IE9, then click on the “Start” button to boot that Windows machine with that version of Internet Explorer. Remember that the default Windows admin password is “Password1″, it’s also the password hint within the VM should you forget it.

That’s really all there is to it. These commands are part of the ievsms script from xdissent and it manages the entire download, conversion, and installation procedure, it doesn’t get much easier.

VM Snapshots Circumvent Microsofts 30 Day Limitation The other great thing about this method is that it circumvents Microsofts 30 day limitation by utilizing snapshots, a feature built into VirtualBox. This preserves the original Windows VM state and allows you to continuously use the IE virtual machine without any time limitation simply by reverting to the original snapshot once the 30 day lock occurs.

To use a snapshot after the 30 day Windows expiration, just open VirtualBox, select the IE VM, and click on the “Snapshots” button. From here you can boot from the original snapshot that was created and use IE again for another 30 days. You can do this indefinitely, effectively having a clean IE test environment forever.


You can use a virtual machine, such as VMWare ( Or you can use Wine (

Both systems also allow you to then test IE7 and lower, possibly using IETester. I find IETester to be excellent.

I've used them both and they worked for my needs.

Crossover sounds interesting.

To get completely deluxe, you can download Firebug Lite (, which lets you inspect the DOM kind of like Firebug. It's not quite as nice, but a good augmenter for Developer Tools in IE.

You could use Adobe BrowserLab.

Your options are basically, in order of quality:

  1. Run Windows under virtualization.
  2. Run browsers remotely using a tool like
  3. Ask a friend running Windows to look at the site for you.
  4. Run Explorer via WINE / Crossover Desktop.

Install Crossover, which will allow you to run IE on your Mac without the overhead of a full VM.

I would try out the trial first, because IE8 is listed as "Bronze" compatibility level which is not the greatest.

If running under Wine, you will want to install each version of IE into its own prefix without other programs, and insure that various pre-requisites are available. Google for details.

It works reasonably well then, though new wine updates often can cause it to crash-- alas.

Oracle VirtualBox works very well. Working with it is pretty basic, and best of all it's free:

  1. Download Oracle VirtualBox
  2. Install Internet Explorer
  3. Open Oracle VirtualBox
  4. Done!

For detailed instructions reference this Internet Explorer mac testing guide. There's no point in reposting everything here it's kind of detailed.

Update October 2012:

I just found which seems to be quite convenient. Basic test are free, for more intensive once there's a subscription.

I used to test with Parallels, but I've grown tired of updating Windows versions (not to mention buying Windoes just for IE is ridiculous) and keeping up with IE version clashes etc. so a subscription based service seems to be a more convenient solution.

I know this is old but for anyone who does this regularly enough a service like is also an option. Of course having an actual install in some sort of virtual machine is the way to go if you're needing it a lot.

The best way to run ie7 - ie10 on a mac that I found is to run oracle virtual machine and install all versions of the browswer. This route is completely free and runs outside the browser like some of these other options.

The only downside to this method is it takes up a lot of space.

Here is the easy to follow tutorial:

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