Although not many people today are surfing using older versions of Internet Explorer (like IE 5.01 and IE 5.5), it is not a bad idea to test your web site with these versions too. There are many ways to test your website with older versions of IE like having multiple partitions with different Windows installations, but that is definitely not the best solution. In this article I will show you the best way of testing your sites with IE 5.01 and IE 5.5 under Windows XP, but will also tell you the disadvantages.
How to start?
We do not want multiple partitions with different Windows installations; we just want clean and simple solution. It’s not very difficult in fact once you know what to look. We will download the 5.01 and 5.5 versions of IE from this page (please note: if you wish you can also download IE 3 and IE 4).
After downloading the files, just unzip them in separated directories and start the Internet Explorer of your choice with clicking on iexplore.exe.
Please note: When you open the Explorer you won’t see the difference between them. This is because of the highest IE version you have installed on your system (for Windows XP users this will most certainly be IE 6). In your taskbar there will also be no difference at all, so you should group them on the taskbar (open them in a specific order) to not get confused.
Only real disadvantage I have seen was that multiple browsers do not support conditional comments like this:
<!-- [if IE 5.5] > ... <! [end if] -->
All the conditional comments will render as if all of versions opened are the highest IE version installed on your system (you won’t see a difference when you click on Help > About either, they will all show that the same version is installed).