You may not have used Internet Explorer for a long time. And if so, it was almost certainly not an old version like Internet Explorer 6 or Internet Explorer 8.
In the rare event that you need to download an old version of Internet Explorer, however, you have a few options. Let's take a look at why you want to do this and where to download the browser.
Why do you need the old Internet Explorer today?
If you've ever used Internet Explorer 6 or other old versions, you're probably wondering why users would willingly use these browsers. IE6 is known for its security problems and poor web standards compliance. Later versions were better, but not exactly outstanding.
Nowadays, most Internet Explorer users do this due to older business software. Many companies developed internal web apps decades ago that were only developed for IE. Internet Explorer was the dominant browser at the time, so it made sense to create tools that met its standards.
If you're still forced to use one of these old web tools for business purposes, it won't work in modern browsers. In these cases, you need to get your hands on an old copy of Internet Explorer.
Windows 10 still includes Internet Explorer 11 (the final version) for compatibility reasons. This should be enough for some web apps, but not for outdated tools.
How to download old versions of Internet Explorer
What options are available if you need to install IE6, IE8, or another old version on your computer? Let's take a look.
1. Use the Compatibility View in IE11
Did you know that IE11 has a built-in mode that can be used to repair older version websites? This is a good first step if you need to open a website formatted for an old version of IE, as it only takes a second to try.
To use the Compatibility View, click Tools Click the button (that looks like a gear) in the top right of the browser and select Compatibility view settings. This will open a new dialog box with the name of your current page in the Add this website Box. click Add To switch the website to the compatibility view, click on Conclude and reload.
This only helps with display problems, not with incompatibilities of the entire version. If you need a full copy of an old browser, try one of the following methods.
2. Download IE6 from the Internet archive
Microsoft has offered IE6 on its website, but has since removed it. Fortunately, a copy of IE6 with Service Pack 1 is available for download from the Internet Archive, which is dedicated to keeping your Internet history.
It is available either as a torrent download or as a ZIP file with a weight of approx. 78 MB. This is the easiest option to get a copy of IE6 if you need it because the internet archive is a trusted source.
3. Get IE8 or other versions from OldApps.com
Since IE8 was the browser that came with Windows 7, some older apps require this version instead of IE6. And since it's a bit newer, you'll find IE8 from more sources than IE6.
For example, Microsoft continues to offer downloads of IE8 on its website. You will find IE8 for Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 and IE8 for Windows Server 2003.
Since you are unlikely to be using any of these operating systems, you should get a copy from OldApps.com. As the name suggests, this resource offers downloads of old software. From retro games to old audio apps to unsupported system utilities, it offers pretty much everything.
Go to the OldApps Internet Explorer page to download the required version. However, you will find versions that go back to Internet Explorer 3. However, keep an eye on the supported platforms for each version. You can't run anything less than IE11 natively on Windows 10, so you'll need a virtual machine (as explained below).
Note that this is not an official source. Therefore, you should handle each file you download from here with care. Check this with an online virus scanner
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before you run the installer.
4. Access old versions of IE with a virtual machine
If you can't install the older version of IE you need on a real computer, virtual machines are a viable option. With these you can run another operating system in an app on your current computer.
This is safer because you can isolate the old browser from your actual system. If you install an older operating system, the original version of Internet Explorer is also included.
Follow our full guide to VirtualBox
Using VirtualBox: User Guide
to learn how to start with it. If you are interested in Windows XP, we showed how you can easily install Windows XP in a VM
How to get a free Windows XP download from Microsoft
When you install Windows XP, you have immediate access to IE6. Windows 7 is delivered with IE8. Just make sure you don't install operating system updates if you want to keep those old versions.
5. Try the browser test tools
Because old versions of Internet Explorer such as IE6 and IE8 are so old and no longer receive security updates, it is recommended that you run them in an isolated and secure environment. If you are not familiar with IE on a real computer or cannot install it, you can use a test solution in your browser.
With websites like BrowserStack and Browserling, you can test websites with a variety of browsers while staying in your own browser. You don't have to download an app or set up remote access, so working at your end is easy.
They use hundreds of virtual machines, each configured to run different versions of different operating systems. Each of these services supports a wide range of browsers, including most versions of Internet Explorer.
Since these are professional testing tools, they are unfortunately not free. BrowserStack offers a limited free trial, while Browserling limits you to some categories unless you sign in. This means you will likely have to pay to access IE6 or IE8 this way.
6. Buy the IE tab
If you have to open websites in old versions of Internet Explorer frequently, but none of the above functions work for you, IE Tab is a good solution. This is a Chrome extension that allows you to render certain pages as if they were running in Internet Explorer.
Practical features include the option to choose which version of the IE standards you want to apply, and to create a list of websites that always run in IE mode. This way, you can only open websites for Internet Explorer without ever leaving Chrome.
Since this tool is for business use, it is not free. A lifetime license costs $ 19, which isn't terrible compared to the time invested in some of the other solutions.
Note that this doesn't just change your browser agent
How to change your browser's user agent and trick websites
to IE. It is only pretending to be using Internet Explorer while using the correct rendering agent.
Use Internet Explorer only if you have to
We showed you how to access old versions of Internet Explorer today. However, it is important to know that these should only be used as compatibility solutions. Running decade-old browsers on unsupported operating systems is a workaround that hopefully few people will experience.
There's no reason to use Internet Explorer as your primary browser these days. If you don't need it to access a particular website, you're better off with everything else. If you need to use Internet Explorer, check out our Internet Explorer troubleshooting tips if you're having trouble. Otherwise, you should consider a Chromium-based browser
The 10 best Chromium browser alternatives better than Chrome
if you are looking for something else.
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