Thursday, 13 February 2014

Introducing Virtualbox Turnkey Virtual Machines for Web Testing

My install of VirtualBox prompted me to update today. And I realised that I hadn't written much about VirtualBox, and I find any videos I had created about it.

Which surprised me since I use Virtual Machines. A lot.

No Matter, since I created the above video today.

In it, I show the basic install process for VirtualBox. A free Virtualisation platform from Oracle which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Also, Modern.IE, which I know I have mentioned before. The Microsoft site where you can download virtual machines for each version of MS Windows - XP through to Windows 8, with a variety of IE versions.

Perfect for 'compatibility' testing - the main use case I think Microsoft envisioned for the site. Or for creating sandbox environments and for running automation against different browsers, which I often use it to do.

I even mention TurnkeyLinux, where you can find pre-built virtual machines for numerous open source tools.

In fact the version of RedMine that I used on the Black Ops Testing Workshops to demonstrate the quick automation I created. I installed via a TurnkeyLinux virtual machine.

Oracle, even host a set of pre-built virtual machines.

A New Feature in VirtualBox (that I only noticed today)

I noticed some functionality had crept in to VirtualBox today.

The cool 'Seamless Mode' which I had previously noticed in Parallels on the Mac (as 'Coherence' mode) and on VM Fusion on the Mac called ('Unity' mode). This allows 'windows' on the virtual machine to run as though they were 'normal' windows on your machine - so not contrained within the virtual machine window.

I love this feature. It means I no longer have to keep switching in and out of a VM Window and can run the virtualised apps alongside native apps. And with shared clipboard and drag and drop, it seems too easy to forget that I ran the app from a VM.

If you haven't tried this yet. Download VirtualBox, install the Win XP with IE6 VM, and then run it in 'Seamless' Mode so you have IE6 running on the desktop of your shiny whiz bang monster desktop. Try it. Testing with IE6 becomes a fun thing to do - how often do you hear that?


  1. IE 6 - Are you serious? Is it still available?

    1. Yes, and still installed by default on some company machines. The joy of locked down secure environments. :)

  2. I get an error following this tutorial. I have VirtualBox version 4.3.14 and the IE10-Win7 VM from Modern.IE. The VM imports into VirtualBox just fine, but attempting to start it results in: "Error relaunching VirtualBox VM process: 5...". When I hit "Abort", I receive "The virtual machine 'IE10 - Win7' has terminated unexpectedly during startup with exit code 1. Result Code: E_FAIL (0x80004005)...". Any ideas what may be wrong?

    1. Yes

      A bug in virtualbox means you need to switch off your antivirus.

  3. Awesome blog post! Modern.IE is great to use when testing web apps. In addition to your post: is a good script to pull down the VM's and set them up in VirtualBox! Cheers / Viktor

    1. Thanks Viktor. I haven't tried that script yet, but now that I know about it I might use it next time.