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Is there any safe and practical way to have both IE6 and IE7 installed on the same PC?
I am estimating that it will take at least 18 months for IE7 to be installed by most users. During that time developers will want to develop sites that are both forwards and backwards compatible in that the sites will incorporate the functions available in IE7 but still offer a good browsing experience for users on IE6.
It would be helpful if both versions could be installed within the same test environment.
For the benefit of the Forum and to close this thread I eventually received a response from Microsoft. There answer is an emphatic NO NO NO!! Should not even be attempted.
They did provide a "solution". Set up a dual boot system. Hmmm....
I did have a link for a good emulation site, but have misplaced it now. Perhaps someone could suggest one. Obviously, it means uploading to some server space for testing, but you may well tend to do that anyway. I like to look at a site remotely at the earliest opportunity and send the link to a few "guinea pigs".
I have Win XP Pro and IE6 running on one drive, and the latest Technical Release beta of Vista and IE7 on another.
Everything's OK on the Vista/IE7 front, but I'm not going to run IE7 in a mission-critical environment yet.
I accept that having Beta software separated from a production environment is the wise option. I usually evaluate Beta or untested software on a spare laptop which is expendable.
However, once the software is live things change and in some respects IE is a unique example for a number of reasons: -
* it is still the dominant browser
* users seldom seem to upgrade quickly to the next major version - historically it seems that users will continue using the old version for some considerable time, perhaps as long as 18 months
* user attitude is different with Firefox and Opera, for the most part, as far as I have been able to determine, users will update Firefox and Opera as soon as the next release is available.
From a website developer's testing perspective this creates a problem, because you know that there are a lot of users out there who will still be using IE6 a year after IE7 is released. So you will endeavour to provide a satisfactory experience for both user groups by vigorous testing in both versions.
Because Firefox and Opera are not tightly bound to the OS, there is no problem in having several versions in the same environment.
The problem with IE is that it is an integral part of the OS and as such there can only be one version of it in the same environment.
It just adds another layer of complexity to the testing process.
it will obviously be included in all OEM Windows versions, and consequently installed on every new computer that leaves a factory - there'll be no question of those users waiting for up to 18 months.
Existing IE6 users will do as you suggest - they'll gradually filter into the IE7 userbase over a period of time, not because of any reticence on their part, they simply won't know about the new version until it's offered to them on a Windows update session, or they hear about it from someone. People like us, who populate web forums know all about these upcoming events, but we're in a minority; the vast majority of computer users haven't any idea about what's coming.
For that reason I'll be testing work in progress in both IE versions for some time to come. I don't find a dual-boot situation unduly taxing, and will probably end up with the two versions on separate machines in the office anyway.
Would Virtual PC be any use?
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