Because of that, we need to go the long way. We’ll download the “officially sanctioned” VirtualPC images containing a time-limited version of Windows XP SP3 and Internet Explorer 6.0, and then we’ll convert these images to the kind that work with VMware Fusion (which works on Mac OS X). This should only need to be done every 3 or 4 months when the images expire. These instructions are loosely based on the ones found at Running IE6, IE7 and IE8 on your Mac.
Update: Microsoft’s images are broken, and don’t work on anything except VirtualPC now. Mac and Linux users are out of luck for the time being. More information on the subject can be found at Running The IE VPC’s on other VPC Hosts?.
You need to have VMware Fusion installed on your Mac.
You need to have access to a Windows XP machine, as this is where the converting will happen.
Installing Qemu (FIRST-TIME ONLY)
Download a small application to our Windows machine called Qemu. At the time of this writing, you want to download the regular version 0.9.1. Once it’s done, unzip it someplace that’s easy to get to via the command line (e.g.,
Go into the Qemu folder, then into the
binfolder and copy all of the files in the
binfolder back to the original Qemu folder (you can simply copy-paste).
Downloading and Preparing stuff
On Microsoft’s website, they have a page entitled Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image where you can download various time-limited images that allow you to test combinations of Windows XP SP3 or Vista, along with Internet Explorer 6.0, 7.0, and the 8.0 betas. In this example, we’re going to install the IE6/XP image but you can do whatever you need to do.
We’ll need to unpack this download in Windows, so if you haven’t already, make sure you’re doing this part in Windows.
Double-click it (in Windows) to begin unpacking it. It will warn you that it has an expiration date. On that date, we’ll have to download a fresh VPC image from Microsoft and do this all over again.
Converting the image
You’ll want to copy the
XP SP3 with IE6.vhdfile into the Qemu folder. This will allow us to use simpler, more consistent commands to convert the image.
In your Windows VM go to Start Menu → Run, type the
cmdcommand, and click OK.
Using your deftly intimate knowledge of MS-DOS, use commands like
cdto navigate to where you unpacked Qemu.
If you don’t know MS-DOS commands from a hole in the wall, you can download Open Command Window Here from Microsoft, install it, find the Qemu folder in the normal Windows Explorer, right-click, and choose “Open Command Window Here”. One method is shorter and harder, while the other is easier and slower. Take your pick.
Type the following command in your MS-DOS window:
qemu-img.exe convert -f vpc "XP SP3 with IE6.vhd" -O vmdk IE6-XP.vmdk
XP SP3 with IE6.vhdis the path to the IE6 VPC file you downloaded, while
IE6-XP.vmdkis the new file that VMWare Fusion will use.
Wait. This will probably take 5–10 minutes.
Configuring the VM
Move the new
.vmdkfile to your Mac.
Open VMWare Fusion (or shutdown the Windows VM you may already have running) and click File → New.
Go through the wizard and when you get to the “Virtual Hard Disk” page, expand “Advanced disk options”, check “Use an existing virtual disk” and use the dropdown to find the new
.vmdkimage you just copied back to your Mac.
Finish the wizard and start it! If prompted to upgrade the virtual hard drive, click “Yes.”
Installing the drivers and VMWare Tools
With VMWare Fusion running, download and decompress vmware_xpsp3_drivers.tar.gz. Copy all of the resulting files to
c:\windows\system32\drivers. Make sure you install these BEFORE the VMware tools!
Download vmware_mouse.reg and double-click it to load its settings into the Windows registry. VMware doesn’t correctly overwrite these setting upon install of the VMware tools, and the mouse can start doing wonky things. These registry settings fix it.
In VMware, click Virtual Machine → Install VMWare Tools.
Follow the instructions. If Windows asks for additional drivers, point it to
Make sure that you shutdown the VM and configure your memory (etc.) settings appropriately.