Automated installation of the Microsoft IE App Compat virtual machines
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Microsoft provides virtual machine disk images to facilitate website testing in multiple versions of IE, regardless of the host operating system. Unfortunately, setting these virtual machines up without Microsoft's VirtualPC can be extremely difficult. The ievms scripts aim to facilitate that process using VirtualBox on Linux or OS X. With a single command, you can have IE6, IE7, IE8 and IE9 running in separate virtual machines.

Click here to lend your support to ievms and make a donation at!


  • VirtualBox (
  • Curl (Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install curl)
  • Linux Only: unrar (Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install unrar)
  • Patience


  1. Install VirtualBox.

  2. Download and unpack ievms:

  3. Launch Virtual Box.

  4. Choose ievms image from Virtual Box.

  5. Install VirtualBox Guest Additions (pre-mounted as CD image in the VM).

  6. IE6 only - Install network adapter drivers by opening the drivers CD image in the VM.


The IE6 network drivers must be installed upon first boot, or an activation loop will prevent subsequent logins forever. If this happens, restoring to the clean snapshot will reset the activation lock.

The VHD archives are massive and can take hours or tens of minutes to download, depending on the speed of your internet connection. You might want to start the install and then go catch a movie, or maybe dinner, or both.

Once available and started in VirtualBox, the password for ALL VMs is "Password1".

Recovering from a failed installation

Each version is installed into a subdirectory of ~/.ievms/vhd/. If the installation fails for any reason (corrupted download, for instance), delete the version-specific subdirectory and rerun the install.

If nothing else, you can delete ~/.ievms and rerun the install.

Specifying the install path

To specify where the VMs are installed, use the INSTALL_PATH variable:

curl -s | INSTALL_PATH="/Path/to/.ievms" bash

Passing additional options to curl

The curl command is passed any options present in the CURL_OPTS environment variable. For example, you can set a download speed limit:

curl -s | CURL_OPTS="--limit-rate 50k" bash


Clean Snapshot

A snapshot is automatically taken upon install, allowing rollback to the pristine virtual environment configuration. Anything can go wrong in Windows and rather than having to worry about maintaining a stable VM, you can simply revert to the clean snapshot to reset your VM to the initial state.

The VMs provided by Microsoft will not pass the Windows Genuine Advantage and cannot be activated. Unfortunately for us, that means our VMs will lock us out after 30 days of unactivated use. By reverting to the clean snapshot the countdown to the activation apocalypse is reset, effectively allowing your VM to work indefinitely.

Resuming Downloads
If one of the comically large files fails to download, the curl command used will automatically attempt to resume where it left off. Thanks, rcmachado (


None. (To quote Morrissey, "take it, it's yours")