Installing Microsoft's free VMs for IE testing on Arch Linux

I'd heard about http://modern.ie and tried it out a few months back. It seemed to be a lot more reliable than using IETester via Wine and generally a lot easier to set up.

I'd got this all set up on my PC in the office running Arch Linux, but didn't set it up on my laptop back then, as to get all of the versions of IE set up uses nearly 50GB of space and I didn't want to use up the space on my SSD for something I'd use so rarely. This weekend however I did have a need to do some browser testing with IE and so decided to set it up on the laptop but on a spare USB drive I never use.

The USB drive was the drive which originally shipped with this System76 laptop I purchased in August 2012. I bought the laptop with the minimum amount of memory and the most standard of hard drives (quite a nice 768GB drive) to keep the price (and hence the import duty) down and the immediately upgraded it to 16GB of RAM and a 240GB SSD (both from Crucial). This specific System76 laptop is a re-badged Clevo laptop. Clevo are a Taiwanese company who manufactures quite good quality laptops under their own label, but also for OEMs like System76. So far, the value System76 seems to have added to it is three stickers and Ubuntu preinstalled. The stickers are: an Ubuntu Sticker on the keyboard over the Windows icon, the System76 logo on the back of the display, and an Avery label with System76's serial number covering the original Clevo model and serial number. I reformatted the drive and installed Arch Linux on the first day of use.

Clevo do good laptops, so next time I'll simply get a Clevo from PC Specialist, as you have an option to purchase without the Windows tax.

I digress.

In the time that's passed since installing the IE VMs on my desktop machine in the office, the installation process has changed a bit, so I had to search around for other instructions. For some reason Microsoft don't provide the full instructions at this site, or if they do, they've hidden them very well. Microsoft DO recommend you read Rey Bango's blog page for instructions, but I didn't find them particularly helpful. He does provide a link on that page which was what I used in the end - https://github.com/xdissent/ievms.

As I'd had the experience of using these VMs previously, I raced straight to the installation instructions without looking at the requirements. You will want to ensure you have unar installed and the easiest way I found as an Arch Linux user to get it was from aur/unarchiver. My preferred method is yaourt -S unarchiver. I have presumed you realised that you need to have Virtualbox installed?

I recommend that you have a bit of a read through xdissent's readme file in a bit more detail than I did as you might find some more useful things. For example, when you simply copy and paste the curl command, as I did you might not notice that you're installing all this stuff in ~/.ievms. Fortunately I did and managed to stop it and set up a symlink from the spare drive where I wanted to store this ~50GB of data to ~/.ievms. Instead of doing this symlink, I could have specified the installation path.

Another recommendation is that you install Virtualbox's guest additions - pacman -S virtualbox-guest-iso, which comes from the community repo. It looks like the script will do the installation of the guest additions - very useful thing to have in each of the guests.

All of the web development and testing I do is on the local machine, whether on the laptop, or my desktop in the office - also an Arch Linux machine.

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