Run Internet Explorer 6 & 7 together on the same machine.

Web designers need to test their sites on a number of different browsers and one of the big gripes about IE7 is that it doesn’t allow you to leave IE6 on your machine when you install it. The same is true for IE6 and IE5.5, IE5 etc…

Well, here’s how you do it.

UPDATE: After writing this post I realised that the method below is fraught with problems not least of which is the fact that whilst it looks like IE6 I think it is actually using the gubbins from IE7 and it is really slow and buggy anyway. I have since discovered a standalone version of IE6 that is definitely IE6 and actually works… Download it here. I have left my original post below for posterity. Apologies to those of you that wasted your time dicking around with my original instructions…

ANOTHER UPDATE:  Yousif has got an installer that ‘installs’ all previous versions of IE back to 3 as standalone applications. He also gives a couple of registry edits that affect things like conditional comments etc.

Before installing IE7 make a copy of the installation directory of IE6 which is usually at C:/Program Files/Internet Explorer. Leave the copy in your Program Files directory and name it Internet Explorer 6 or for that matter whatever you fancy, “Dennis” for example.

After installing IE7 if you run iexplore.exe from your Internet Explorer 6 directory it will just start IE7, unless that is you follow these steps.

Create a new text file called iexplore.exe.local in your Internet Explorer 6 directory. Make sure that you have renamed it correctly and not iexplore.exe.local.txt as this, funnily enough, doesn’t work. (disable “Hide extensions for known file types” in Tools/Folder Options/View if you haven’t already.) The iexpore.exe in your v6 directory will now open up IE6…


This is old news but I thought I’d resurrect it in light of the new release of Internet Explorer and the fact that people on the beta forums were still complaining about the lack of support for mulitple versions. It obviously isn’t old news to them.

There are a number of sites detailing how to run IE7 in standalone mode leaving IE6 as it is but I think that is a bit arse about face. You want to install IE7 and have the old version(s) in buggy standalone mode surely…

This works with previous versions of IE which Peter-Paul Koch has kindly hosted for you here along with a list of issues when using this technique.

21 Responses to “Run Internet Explorer 6 & 7 together on the same machine.”

  1. 1 Graham Pengelly October 23, 2006 at 8:32 pm

    Apologies but I have accidentally deleted the original comments from this post… The gist of them was that Terri at has been testing this out and discovered an interesting issue that casts doubt on whether it is IE6 that you end up with.

    I have done a couple of tests of my own and I’m pretty convinced it is IE6. Visiting with the standalone IE6 detects the browser as IE6. Also the CSS min-height attribute that is supported in 7 and not 6 again works, or doesn’t work as expected.

    So, I reckon it is IE6.

  2. 2 cbcrocker November 11, 2006 at 4:47 am

    My queston is this … if I do reinstall ie6 in this fashion will it reinstll oe6 if I’ve previously changed the eg entry so that the system thinks it’s not loaded? Due to some difficulties I’ve experienced with oe6 (corrupted address book for example) several sites have recommended that I reinstall ie6. The only problem is tht I’ve already installed the public ie7 release. I’ve heard many horror stories about uninstalling ie7 as well as many who said it was uneventful.

  3. 3 Graham Pengelly November 11, 2006 at 9:28 am

    Firstly, using this technique won’t reinstall OE6 as it doesn’t actually ‘install’ anything. The standalone IE6 simply runs from the directory in which it resides.
    As for uninstalling IE7 I have done it without any problems using ‘Add/Remove Programs’ in the ‘Control Panel’. If this is the only solution to fixing your OE6 issues it is possible to run IE7 in standalone mode. I don’t see this as a good idea though and I’d be suprised if reinstalling IE6 was the only way to fix it.
    You could always switch to Thunderbird 🙂

  4. 4 Houssam June 5, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    I want to run IE6.0 on my windows Vista
    please help me

  5. 5 Shoes January 24, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    I know I am trying to get an ie6 standalone on vista, but most won’t work on vista.

    I have searched around for sometime and not really found any solutions.
    Many people recommend downloading virtual pc with ie6, which is a very good idea. Though I am having a lot of trouble getting the networking properly configured on it.

    So it least for the mean time grab virtual pc from microsoft for free with ie6.

    Hope that helps everyone.

  6. 6 Ian February 28, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Just use

    You can run older version of IE in Vista and Windows 7 🙂

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