How to test IE9, IE8 and IE7 from the same computer

in windows

I’m a software developer and I often need to make sure that a web page or site will display correctly in multiple versions of Internet Explorer. Specifically, I need to test a site in Internet Explorer 7 (IE7), Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) and Internet Explorer 9 (IE9).

When I installed IE9, I of course lost IE8. A quick Google search told that I could not have both IE8 and IE9 on the same machine. And many sites tried to push towards tools like IE Tester ( or Browser Sandbox ( BUT, you don’t need to go there.

I’m no Microsoft fan, but apparently they realized that it’s insanely annoying and frustrating to support the various poorly-written versions of their browser, so Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 has a built in developer tool to view a site as an IE7 or IE8 browser! This is actually pretty cool.

To check out how a page displays on different versions of Internet Explorer, just press F12 and then select the browser mode that you want to use to view the page. Problem solved! And no need to install funky toolbars and plugins, and no need to jump through any hoops :-)

Screenshot of how to view IE8 or IE7 from Internet Explorer 9

If you have installed IE9 and you want to view a page as it would display in IE7 or IE8, just press F12 and then choose your browser mode.

Vipin Bothra December 13, 2011 at 6:52 am

Good tip on -
“Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 has a built in developer tool to view a site as an IE7 or IE8 browser!”


Frank April 21, 2012 at 6:17 am

Just what I’ve been looking for – and it was right there all the time.


Sietse May 11, 2012 at 5:34 am


I was originally searching for a way to run IE7, 8 and 9 from Ubuntu / Fedora without using 3 virtual machines. But the way you show is not the way IE8 really shows the page. There are still some differences between the real browsers and the developer tools. For example the JavaScript engine doesn’t change to a previous version. Still a nice trick, which is unknown to many people. But this is just for simple testing purposes.

SntsDev June 19, 2012 at 7:09 am

Hi there,
It’s not exactly true. The DOM and browser might behave like and old version but, for instance, the javascript compiler, don’t. So you might think something works ok with your js code but it’s not true. It’s not a reliable test.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: