Multiple Versions of Internet Explorer

Wednesday, November 12, 2003 at 12:06 am | Comments off

Contrary to popular opinion, it can be done - and it's a web developers dream, as we can now easily test our pages on multiple versions of IE. I'm going to explain the process I used to get multiple versions of IE running simultaneously on one computer, with one operating system (Windows XP Home, in my case).

First, I went to and download the versions of IE that I wanted to use. When prompted to open or save the file, I chose to save it to disk. When the file had finished downloading, I extracted it with WinRAR. Once I had extracted the files, I opened the directory and extracted the following files to a new directory:


With that done, I extracted the files below to another new directory, named something like IE 5.0 or IE 5.5, depending on which version I was working on.


Now, that directory contained the files needed to run IE, but it didn't work just yet. I needed to do a few more things first. The first thing I did was I created a new, blank text document named IEXPLORE.exe.local, and tried running IE. It still didn't work like that, so I began testing to see which files were causing this to not run. I came to the conclusion that in IE 5 and 5.5 it was the following file.


I deleted that file, and much to my delight, it worked fine, with only minor bugs. The about box still reads as IE 6, but it is indeed running as IE 5.0/5.5 as I saw when I alerted the navigator.userAgent, and tried visiting a page that has a known IE 5.x rendering bug, such as this page:

Happy debugging!

Original idea by Joe Maddalone.


November 13th, 2003
6:34 AM | #

Worked like a charm! I am viewing your site on ie5 right now! Thanks for the setup help. I am using windows xp pro.

December 10th, 2003
11:13 PM | #

I found another site too that accomplishes the same thing:

The bottom of the page has links to download standalone versions of IE. The ZIP files are already pre-prepared. Just extract them to a new directory, doubl-click Iexplore.exe and you're set. The person who prepared the ZIP files alreay deleted SHLWAPI.DLL.

It's just a little less work.

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