Internet Explorer debug on OSX

Alas traveller, read our tale of woe, and find yee solution at the bottom. 

Virtual machines & the hardware setup

We've tried almost everything on the market. From VMWare Fusion, to Parallels, till we dusted off our old file server, and turned it in a lean, mean fighting testing machine. It runs Windows 7 with IE9 and we can access it through remote desktop on our macs. That, my friends, was one of the best ideas we had for this problem! It really works smooth, even over VPN. One downside is that it can only be used by one person at the time.


As you may know, IE9 is equiped with developer tools, which makes it finally easy to debug your DOM and javascript. And a fine addition is that you can emulate IE 7 & 8.

But wait, you mean that IE 7 & 8 is INSIDE IE 9?

Yes! Of course, our friends at Microsoft did their best to give every webdeveloper the best debug experience possible. They had great examples like Firebug for Firefox and the build in inspector for Webkit based browsers.


facepalmBut is it necessary to say that they blew up one thing? The javascript engine in these emulated versions... wait for it... IS NOT THE ORIGINAL!


Re: debugging IE 7 & 8

So, our search began again until we found this Github page which provides an easy way to setup Microsoft's free Virtual PC images in Virtual Box (and it's also free btw!). Just follow the setup guide on the Github page, and update your virtual machine settings as follows:

  • System - Base memory: 512mb
  • System - Acceleration - Uncheck "Enable VT-x/AMD-V"
  • Display - Video memory: 128mb
  • Display - Enable 3D acceleration
  • Display - Enable 2D acceleration


and you are ready to go!



PS: The first time you fire up these virtual machines, it can take a while. But once setup, you can debug like a baws!
PPS: Everybody should support browsehappy.com 

This article was written on Jan 19, 2012 (freezing our nuts off). The ever ever after story about how to debug your website in Internet Explorer on a mac.


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