How to run IE 7 and IE 6 side by side

Now that Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 7 and the whole web development world is trying to figure out what works in it, and, more importantly, what doesn’t (let’s just not go there right now, ok?), I thought I’d give you some solace to your doubts whether to install it or not on your main Windows machine (most likely you have doubts what will happen to IE 6, which you, unfortunately, still need to test in and cater to, for a long time to come).

Luckily, Position Is Everything’s great article Taming Your Multiple IE Standalones still applies and is updated to be written out of the perspective of a machine with the scenario where IE 7 is the main installed web browser. It offers support for directly seeing in the title bar of each web browser which version it is, and the absolutely necessary support for conditional comments as well. Don’t fret, it takes like five minutes to set it up!

I’ve used this approach myself for a long time and for me it has worked flawlessly. I also haven’t heard any complaints from any other web developer I know. So, as usual, I’m your guinea pig for things before I write about them. 🙂

IE 7 will automatically be download to your Windows machine

As the IE team stated, IE 7 will be automatically distributed through Windows Updates as a high-priority update. There is also a Blocker toolkit that goes with it to make you prevent this from happening. While I like the idea of cleansing every PC out there from the terrible IE 6 (but not necessarily replacing it with IE 7 ;-)), I’m not sure I like this from a web developer perspective. We like controls of our computers, and the more things that are forced upon us for our own good, the more displeased we’ll get…


If you have any experience of the multiple IE standalones, or an opinion you’d like to express about the automatic install of IE 7, don’t be shy; let me hear it!


  • […] velopers) will still have a need to run IE6. If this is your case, read on (reference from Robert Nyman) Technorati Tags: technology, microsoft, web-design, […]

  • Ron says:

    You can run IE6 and lower as standalones. Not sure if it works …

  • Cool, thanks for pointing to this 🙂

  • Nathan Smith says:

    I currently run IE7, with a stand-alone version of IE6 that you can get here…

  • J Phill says:

    Ron, I've tried the app from Tredosoft, and it works really well. So I'd recommend that.

  • Rowan Lewis says:

    To put it simply, I can't let IE7 be installed because downloading it would lock up my internet connections for days…

    That said, I'd also have to download all of the XP Service Packs of which I have none!

  • I installed it manually and is having some strange problems. The Zoom tool at the bottom is missing, it lives in it's menu but thats not where I want it.

    And the Add-ons tool seems to be broken so I can't use windows update… yet… oh and my site is broken .. 😉 but I guess thats my fault. 😛

  • Carl Camera says:

    Robert, the decision to roll IE7 out as a critical update is probably the best of the two options available.

    1. They could offer it as an optional download

    2. They could mark it as a critical update

    Optional downloads will not be downloaded by the typical home computer user. There are millions of these folks out there and Microsoft has learned that if you want to move these folks forward you have to make it mandatory.

    This upsets the corporate I/T folks who never like anything foisted upon them. They'd prefer to run their Windows 95 workstations and NT3.51 servers until the planned upgrade in 2061. 😉 Just a joke — well, their XP workstations and Win2k servers…

    So Microsoft struck a balance when rolling out XP SP2: Forced critical update for the masses — with the blocker for the I/T folks. This gives the I/T folks more time to prepare, but they'll be forced to upgrade after time expires. MS adopted the same policy for the IE7 rollout.

    Keep in mind that Microsoft, with this policy, is practically wiping IE6 on XP, the world's most popular browser ever created, completely off the planet. For this situation, I say the ends justify the means! We will have IE6 on Win2k to deal with, but Win2k as a platform is in decline. I'm in full support of the IE7 upgrade policy.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    I've seen TredoSoft's packaging of it, but i prefer as much manual control as possible myself, so I've never tried it.


    Good, thanks for clarifying it with a link to the standalone versions.


    Are you having IE 7 as the default version, with standalone versions of the rest? I've never experienced any problems like that.


    Yeah, I know, it's a tricky question. In the end, as web developers, we'll probably be grateful for it; I still hate Microsoft's stance of always knowing what's best for you, though…

  • Lachlan Hunt says:

    I'm going to leave IE6 on XP for now and run Windows Vista RC1 in Virtual PC with IE7. My experience with running standalone versions on the same OS have not been good. Eventually I'll drop IE6 completely, but we'll have to wait and see how long before IE6 usage drops significantly. Considering it took several years for IE5.x to be dropped, who knows how long it could take for IE6.

  • Duluoz says:

    I am running IE7 with the SA version of IE6. I have followed positoiniseverything's reference to a T with MANY problems. The registry enteries are rediculous because they do not address the issue at all and if you read the version from Help > About, 6 will still read as 7, the options in your 6 are optons for 7, and conditonal comments are ignored for 6 even with the registry and code modifications. I have found many other people having the same issues. Virtual PC is a good alternative.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    My take is that the forced update through Windows update will see to that the adaption will go muchn faster than the transition from IE 5 to IE 6.

    Lachlan, Duluoz,

    Personally, I have never encountered any problems whatsoever with standalone versions and conditional comments have worked like a charm. I've also used this on a number of machines, So, I'm sorry to hear that the experience hasn't been as good to you.

  • niklas says:

    what do you recommend? to install ie7 and then install a standalone version of ie6 or keep ie6 and install a standalone version of ie7.

    anyone who have tried both ways?

  • Robert Nyman says:


    My recommendation would be to install IE 7 and run IE 6 as standalone. I think it's better for your system and its security, and besides, it seems to work fine that way.

  • neojp says:

    I've try the official IE7 and the Multiple IE thingy.

    First install IE7 and then install the Multiple IE, it will really work, even conditional comments work! This is awesome and guys if you are web developers you should really try it out.

    Multiple IE:

  • niklas says:

    i’ve installet ie7 and then ie6 standalone ( the problem is that i can’t log in anywhere… gmail and so on… why is that? am i the only one with this problem?

  • […] ide till inställningar för att köra flera versioner av Internet Explorer samtidigt (via […]

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Glad it works for you!


    Don't know about other web sites, but I've tried GMail with my PC with IE 7 and IE 6, and it worked fine with IE 7 to log in. It might be that you can't use IE 6, though, depending on cookies and such. But I'm sorry, I don't know why it doesn't work.

  • niklas says:


    ther's no problem with ie7, it's ie6 that can't handle cookies and sessions… this makes it kind of hard to test sites with login-features. anyone who knows about a solution?

  • Bravo. I'm having some javascript issues, but was able to install the ie6 standalone in order to do some CSS testing. While I'm greatly excited for the move towards some semblance of standards compliance, I hadn't anticipated how much of a problem supporting IE6 and IE7 are going to be in the short term!!

  • Robert Nyman says:


    No problem, I hope it helps you!

  • […] his is your case, read Taming Your Multiple IE Standalones (reference from Robert Nyman) [tags]technology, microsoft, web-design, css, inte […]

  • Olivier says:

    Has anyone tried Tredosoft's Multiple_IE on Windows Vista? There's a comment on their web site saying it doesn't work with Vista! I guess that means we only have one option left: Virtual PC?

  • JR says:

    If you don't want Microsoft to be able to push automatic updates (such as forcing an upgrade to IE7), just turn the automatic updates feature off.

    Go into Control PanelSecurity Center and turn it off in there.

    If you are using a company computer and the options are greyed out, then your server group has denied you access. But, more then likely, your server group already has automatic updates turned off.

  • vitto says:


    has anyone managed to solve the cookies and session problem with ie6 standalone? I had the same problem of Niklas but found no solution yet.

  • […] most promising solution I found came up in the comments of a post over on Robert Nyman’s site: go ahead with a full install of 7.0, and then add in a […]

  • rutger says:


    Read this page to solve the problems the standalone IE6 version is producing.

    It helped me a lot and made my life more joyful 😀

  • M.S. Babaei says:

    can we run ie6 & ie7 side by side in vista?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    As far as I know, multiple versions of IE won't work in Vista.

  • neojp says:

    It doesn't work on Vista, hopefully you can use a Virtual Machine. But that's pretty heavy for an all day use.

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