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How to install and run Internet Explorer on Mac OS X using Oracle VM VirtualBox

Internet Explorer may seem like a forgotten relic for most Mac owners, but for some, old flames die hard. Microsoft’s Web browser quickly faded from popularity on Apple rigs starting in 2003, when Microsoft stopped supporting IE for Mac and Cupertino introduced Safari. Despite that, we think some people and developers would still prefer to use IE in OS X.

Fortunately, VirtualBox, Oracle’s virtualization software, allows you to run more recent builds of IE without requiring you to dual boot Windows and Mac OS X.

Here’s our guide on how to run Internet Explorer on a Mac. Also, feel free to check out our guides on how to block pop up ads in Internet Explorer, our side-by-side comparison of the best browsers, and our handpicked selection of the best Web browsers for the iPhone.

Say hello to Oracle VM VirtualBox for Mac

Although its gone through multiple name changes since launching, Oracle VM VirtualBox has always offered a robust level of simplicity and functionality. The software essentially allows Mac users to run other operating systems while using their Mac as a host, granting them access to OS-exclusive applications not offered on OS X.

The software is freely available through the developer’s website, and though it’s not as extensive as some premium offerings, users and developers are constantly updating and patching the software to include the latest features and security fixes. Moreover, it’s incredibly user-friendly, making it appealing for tech-savvy pros and novice users alike.

How to install Internet Explorer on Mac OS X using Oracle VM VirtualBox

Step 1. Navigate to Oracle’s main VirtualBox download page and click the blue, x86/amd64 link to the right of “VirtualBox 4.3.10 for OS X Hosts.” Once downloaded, run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions.

VirtualBox

Step 2: Next, launch Terminal via the main Applications folder on your Mac, and paste in one of the commands listed in the table below. Each command will grant you a different version of IE. Note that the last command contains all versions of IE, and requires 20GB of free space on your hard drive.

Once you’ve put in the command for the version of IE you’d like to snag, press Return. If you’re rocking an older Mac, we recommend that you download IE 7 or 8, and run the Windows XP virtual machine.

Internet Explorer Build Internet Explorer Command
Internet Explorer 10 curl -s https://raw.github.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | IEVMS_VERSIONS=”10″ bash
Internet Explorer 9 curl -s https://raw.github.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | IEVMS_VERSIONS=”9″ bash
Internet Explorer 8 curl -s https://raw.github.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | IEVMS_VERSIONS=”8″ bash
Internet Explorer 7 curl -s https://raw.github.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | IEVMS_VERSIONS=”7″ bash
All versions curl -s https://raw.github.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | bash

Terminal Download

Step 3: Then, launch VirtualBox and locate the download in the column on the left. To boot the virtual machine, simply click Start, and if prompted for an admin password, enter “Password1″. The catch-all password is used for all IE virtual machines, and also doubles as the password hint, should you ever forget the proper password.

Virtual Box Manager

Once the virtual machine boots up, click the IE icon in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen to launch the browser. IE should pop up momentarily, ready for you to use.

Internet Explorer Desktop Start

 

Tips for using VirtualBox – Downloading Internet Explorer 11

When the Windows virtual machine boots up, you may notice an icon on the desktop labeled “IE Test Drive.” This is a link to the IE 11 download page, which is the newest version of Microsoft’s browser. If you want to upgrade to IE 11, open the shortcut, and open the IE 11 upgrade tab located on the left-hand side of the screen.

Internet Explorer Icons

Using snapshots to avoid the 30-day Microsoft limit

One of VirtualBox’s most beneficial built-in features is its option to revert the desktop back to the original state when you first downloaded it. Since VirtualBox allows you to use test versions of IE, Microsoft attaches a 30-day trial. However, you can avoid the 30-day cutoff if you revert back to the browser’s original download state. 

To pull this off, navigate to the VirtualBox home screen, and highlight the IE virtual machine from the column on the left. Then, click Snapshots in the upper-right corner of the window, and select the original snapshot listed to boot the virtual machine you originally downloaded. There’s no limit on the amount of times you can load a snapshot.

VirtualBox Manager

Setting up automatic updates

Software updates are a crucial component to any application, and thankfully, setting your virtual machine to automatically check and install them isn’t tough. To begin, navigate to the Windows virtual machine Control Panel and click the System and Security option. Afterward, select Windows Update and choose Check for updates to enable automatic updates in the furture. Installing updates in your Windows virtual machine will help ensure the software runs properly and efficiently.

What do you think of our comprehensive guide on how to run Internet Explorer on a Mac? Do you know of a better solution? Let us know in the comments below.

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