Can we run different or multiple versions of IE in Windows?

There may be reasons, you may want to run multiple or different versions of Windows Internet Explorer web browser on your Windows operating system. You may need to do so, to test how a website looks in the different IE versions, or you may be a web developer or you may want to check how a newer IE version performs on your system, before you decide to upgrade it, in an enterprise environment. Sure, one can use F12, but still there are many who have this preference.run multiple versions of IE

Run multiple versions of Internet Explorer

In any case, if you need to run multiple version of IE, here are a few options available to you.

1] Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool is a part of the Application Compatibility Toolkit. It contains the necessary tools and documentation to evaluate and mitigate application compatibility issues before deploying a new version of Windows Internet Explorer in your environment.

2] You can run multiple versions of Internet Explorer on one PC using Windows XP Mode. The Windows XP Mode lets you run older software right on your Windows 7 desktop. However, as of April 8, 2014, technical support for Windows XP Mode is no longer available. Thus if you do decide to use Windows XP Mode on a Windows 7 PC after support ends, your PC might become more vulnerable to security risks.

3] Microsoft has released a white paper titled Solutions for Virtualizing Internet Explorer. It provides information to help you select the Internet Explorer virtualization alternative that is appropriate for your organization. It links to resources describing solutions for virtualizing Internet Explorer.

4] Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image lets you use Windows Virtual PC VHDs for testing websites with different Internet Explorer versions.

5] Utilu IE Collection contains multiple stand-alone versions of Internet Explorer, which can be used at the same time. It supports Windows 98 to Windows  8.1 – but currently supports only Internet Explorer 1.0 to Internet Explorer 8.0. More on this here.

6] IETester is a free WebBrowser that allows you to have the rendering and JavaScript engines of IE10, IE9, IE8, IE7 IE 6 and IE5.5 on Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP, as well as the installed IE in the same process. Visit its home page for details.

Does Microsoft support running multiple IE versions?

Running multiple versions of Windows Internet Explorer, or portions of Windows Internet Explorer, on a single instance of Windows is an unlicensed and unsupported solution. We strongly discourage using any solution or service (hosted or on-premises) that repackages the executable components of Internet Explorer, or portions of those components, into a separate installation. If you try to reconfigure Windows so that it runs multiple versions of Internet Explorer from these kinds of packages on a single instance of Windows, your configuration will not be supported by Microsoft Customer Support Services, states KB2020599.

This means that only one instance of Internet Explorer is supported per operating system. However Microsoft does support solutions that enables virtualized use of multiple versions of Internet Explorer through a separate operating system installation. It also supports solutions that try to incorporate application-level virtualization to run multiple repackaged versions of Internet Explorer on a single operating system instance.

This post takes a look at how to run multiple instances of applications in Windows.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

9 Comments

  1. Hadrian Embalsado

    I prefer using the latest IE anyway.

  2. dude, i’m using linux. if i’m a web developer, when people get to use my website, i’ll simply just tell them the website is not compatible with IE. please use a better browser 😛

  3. That is absolutely fine with me. 🙂
    Enjoy Linux!

  4. Andrey

    Great tips! Utilu and IETester seem the most practical options!

  5. Carroll MacDonald

    Aside from comparing web site work on IE to other web browsers, it’s never ran on purpose on any computer I use. IE is a good way for people like myself to make money… repairing the computer issues they give the end user. So yeah, if you wanna run IE just give me a call and I’ll be right over to fix it… again and again. I have FireFox, ComodoDragon, Safari, Chrome, Opera and the fore mentioned IE web browsers installed, but the one I use is Chrome.

  6. Carsonic

    I do some testing for IE and just found this solution: you can install VirtualBox from Oracle for free and install Virtual Machines
    from Modern IE for free also.

  7. patroy75

    Microsoft is totaly sht

  8. berniexk

    I used to access a remote computer using internet explorer , however now I get an error message trying the same thing I get the message ” this site says…Terminal ServicesACtive X requires Internet Explorer” even though I am running IE. What is up???

  9. Rick Bishop

    I have a new machine with windows 10 with ie Edge, but I need to use ie 10 to access a payroll site at work- does this mean i have to purchase another windows license for a virtual machine? Not to mention that Edge cannot use java.

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