How to test your website on Internet Explorer on a Mac using VirtualBox

If you are developing/testing an application on a mac and want to check how your application looks on internet explorer, there is no easy way since internet explorer is native to windows operating system and hence not available on mac.

However, to achieve this, one not so easy way is to use a virtual machine on the mac that runs windows with internet explorer.

For this specific use case, Microsoft is providing VMs that you can use to Test IE11 and Microsoft Edge Legacy using free Windows 10 virtual machines you download and manage locally.

Steps

Here are the steps to setup the virtual machine.

  1. Download & install Oracle VM VirtualBox
  1. Download and unzip windows virtual machine
  1. Open MSEdge - Win10.ova from your Downloads folder & import
  1. Start the VM
  1. The Windows VM is up
  1. Now, login. The default password is Passw0rd!

Voila! Open Edge/Internet Explorer and test away.


Full Screen

When you maximize the VM window/enter full screen mode, this is how it looks.

To fix this, you need to install VirtualBox Guest Additions on the Windows OS. Here are the steps.

  1. Power off the VM
  1. Open VM settings
  1. Go to Display tab. Increase Video Memory to 128MB and Enable 3D Acceleration
  1. Go to Storage tab. Add optical drive
  1. Choose VBoxGuestAdditions.iso
  1. Start VM again
  2. Login and open windows explorer
  3. Go to This PC > CD Drive (D:) VirtualBox Guest Additions
  4. Install VBoxWindowsAdditions-amd64.exe
  1. The VM will reboot. Now login and maximize the window. Fullscreen mode works and this is how it looks.
  1. Open Display Settings & set scaling as required

Copy & Paste

By default, copy & paste are disabled between the host (mac) and guest (windows). To enable these, go to menu bar and change Devices > Shared Clipboard to Bidirectional


Drag & Drop

By default, drag & drop are disabled between the host (mac) and guest (windows). To enable these, go to menu bar and change Devices > Drag and Drop to Bidirectional


Localhost

If you want to test an application that is running locally on your host (mac) at localhost, browsing for http://localhost on the guest (windows) will not work.

To access localhost, you have to browse http://10.0.2.2


Internet Explorer 11, 10,9, 8, 7, 5

To test the application on older versions of Internet Explorer, open Internet Explorer.

Open Developer Tools and use the Emulation tab to select the appropriate IE version.


Conclusion

This is not the only way to test an application on Internet Explorer on a mac. There are other ways such as online cross browser testing tools or accessing the application from a physical windows machine that is on the same network.

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