Standalone Browsers: Testing Your Site In IE 5.x

When working with CSS based, web standards compliant web design, making your site work in Internet Explorer can be a pain. Even more so when trying to support older versions of IE. This, not only due to glaring lack of support for web standards, but also because getting access to an obsolete browser can be difficult.

Not anymore. Clever gents have made so-called standalone browsers available. This means you can download obsolete browsers, and run them side by side on your Windows system, without having it as your primary browser. I’ve tested it, and it works perfectly. Some of the systems available are: Internet Explorer 5.5, 5.0, 4.0, 3.0 and 2.0 for both Mac and Windows.

Now get your standalone browsers and go test your sites!

19 thoughts on “Standalone Browsers: Testing Your Site In IE 5.x”

  1. Christopher says:

    Now, if only there was a way to download a PC. I just finished my image gallery and I just know that somehow IE Win is rendering it wrong. Amazingly IE Mac renders it fine. So, of course that means its hideous in IE Win. 🙂

  2. Joen says:

    For the record, I’m a Windows user. Not a happy Windows user, but not ripe for switching either.

    However, I do believe that as a mac user you can “download a PC”. Or atleast.. a virtual PC.

    The same goes for Windows users—both a Mac 68k emulator (MacOS Classic), and a PowerPC emulator (OSX) is available.

    All the emulators do, of course, require you have the operating system handy…

  3. Anders Rask says:

    Genius. Just what I have been looking for. Thanks for the link.

  4. Christopher says:

    Trust me when I say Virtual PC is not as helpful as it could be. 🙂 Not that I hate Windows or something. I think XP is actually pretty stable compared to past editions of Windows. It’s not very secure but it is stable. Just that VPC is very tough to run on an 800 mhz machine. Perhaps VPC 7 will be better.

  5. Joen says:

    Genius indeed.

    As for Virtual PC—all emulators are, by definition, slower. But if you just need to test your website, then surely VPC will do, right ?

  6. Tristan says:

    I found these a while back as well, and they have been extremely useful in testing all my designs. Especially useful when the IT folks tell you that 2% (a “significant number”) of their thousands of monthly hits are from IE4, and therefore the site should support it. So having a copy of IE4 to test in was invaluable.

  7. Joen says:

    Ack, glad nobody tells me what to support on this site! It barely works in IE5 & 5.5—”barely works” meaning all text and navigation is readible. No comment about the layout.

  8. carsten888 says:

    scrollbar does not work on this page in firefox.

  9. Joen says:

    scrollbar does not work on this page in firefox.

    Care to elaborate? I have heard of other people having trouble with scrolling, but it’s hard to pinpoint… what version browser are you using? How does scrollbars not work, and where?

  10. ?ivind says:

    Scrolling works perfectly fine in firefox1.0 (linux) here. Mousewheel, scrollbar, middle-click, you name it.

  11. John says:

    Scrollbar works fine for both middle wheel, arrow keys on keyboard, clicking on the scroll and going up/down as well as using the up/down arrows… Using Firefox v.1 on a Windows XP Box setup.

  12. Ade says:

    Hey Folks,

    What will really bake your noddle is when you download those stand-alone browsers test and tweak them to the fullest – then test them on the validator bobby http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp you will find that the tweaking is far far from done.

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  14. Midori says:

    I had begun to learn a web design, but was useful very much.

    Thx for the link.

  15. iain says:

    Hi,

    thanks for the link, but when i download ie 5.5 it says a newer version is detected and quits the install…

    am i missing something?

    cheers…

  16. Joen says:

    iain said:

    Hi,

    thanks for the link, but when i download ie 5.5 it says a newer version is detected and quits the install…

    am i missing something?

    cheers…

    Yep. You’re not supposed to “install” IE 5.5. It’s standalone. Just open IEXPLORE.EXE.

  17. ben says:

    Yep. You’re not supposed to “install” IE 5.5. It’s standalone. Just open IEXPLORE.EXE.

    The only problem is that there is no IEXPLORE.EXE in the file available to be downloaded. All of the executables in there want to install something.

    Is there something special that needs to be done to get it to work? I’ve never been able to get the files here to work, but I did manage to find a working standalone version elsewhere (and which I’m currently unable to find).

  18. Mark says:

    Ben, I don’t know if you’ve solved this problem now, but I think you’re downloading the wrong thing – further down the page, there is a “folder” called standalone – click into that and download the zip file you want. Once it’s downloaded, extract the files and double click the IEXPLORE.EXE file

  19. Ben says:

    Wow, I can’t believe I missed that. Thanks!

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