Activate Internet Explorer Compatibility VPC Images in VirtualBox

Posted 7 years ago by Rick Harris

If you've ever tried to use these images from Microsoft for testing in older versions of Internet Explorer with VirtualBox, then you've probably followed these instructions by Jeff at 10 Volt Media. Lately, these images are requiring activation, which is not covered in Jeff's instructions. But it is possible. Here's how.


  1. Download this ethernet card driver and unzip.
  2. In a terminal, use the command
    hdiutil makehybrid -o <foldername>.iso <foldername>
    to make an ISO of the driver.
  3. In your VM, go to "Devices > CD/DVD Devices > Choose a Virtual CD/DVD Disk file..." and find the ISO you made in the previous step.
  4. Once the driver ISO is mounted, click "Start" and then right click on "My Computer" and choose "Properties". Click on the "Hardware" tab, then open "Device Manager". Find your non-functioning ethernet card and right click on it and choose "Update driver..."
  5. In the window that pops up, choose "No, not this time", then "Install from a list or specific location", then "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install." You will then be asked to select the network adapter. There should only be one in the list, so just click "Next" to start the installation.
  6. When the installation is interrupted with an "Insert Disk" nag window, click "Ok", then "Browse". Navigate to D:\V451 or wherever your driver ISO mounted to. Then, go into the WinXP_SignedDriver folder and choose the PCNTPCI5 file. Click "Open" and then "Ok". Repeat for each "Insert Disk" window that pops up. When the installation finishes, you should be connected to the internet.
  7. Click the key icon in the task bar to start activation. Choose "Yes, let's active Windows over the internet now", then "Hell no, I don't want to register now; let's just activate Windows" and it should be successful.
  8. Click the blue star in the task bar and choose "Validation Failure Details (online)" to start the genuine verification process. It will open up a browser window and ask you if you want to install something. Click "Install". In a few moments, you'll see a webpage with a green banner that says something like "Welcome to Windows"

You're done! You can now install VirtualBox Guest Additions and restart the VM.


Alain O'Dea ~ 7 years ago

On Linux (I tried this on Linux Mint 10) you can do step 2 with 'mkisofs -o WinXP_SignedDriver.iso -J --rock WinXP_SignedDriver/'

Alain O'Dea ~ 7 years ago

If you want to run all of the compatibility images together, convert them to VDI and in the process they will get unique UUIDs:

VBoxManage clonehd --format VDI `pwd`/IE6Compat.vhd `pwd`/IE6Compat.vdi

Alain O'Dea ~ 7 years ago

By the way Rick, you saved my week. I've been hacking at these compatibility images for two days trying to get them to run. I need to test a web application on IE6, IE7, IE8, Firefox and Chrome. Fun times... but you've made it much much easier. Thank you :)

Alain O'Dea ~ 7 years ago

The current IE8 image seems to be busted.

It bring up a crash dialog titled services.exe - Bad image with content The application or DLL C:\WINDOWS\system32\MSVCP60.dll is not a valid Windows image. Please check this against your installation diskette. even in Safe Mode.

The net result is that the VM doesn't seem to respond to the keyboard or mouse.

If I find a solution I'll post it :)

Alain O'Dea ~ 7 years ago

The solution I found to the broken IE8 image was to VBoxManage clonehd the IE7 VHD, install and activate it and then upgrade IE7 to IE8 within it.

Gene ~ 7 years ago

This is the only solution I've found for this on the internet. I've been searching everywhere for a workaround. Thanks for posting!

Gene ~ 7 years ago

Also, big thanks to Alain. I've pretty much had to use all your tips from the comments as well.

xenakis ~ 7 years ago

I can install one image, but when I try to install a second image and change the uuid, or use Alain's trick and clone to vdi, I get the following message when Windows is loading, not permitting me to continue:

- The procedure entry point Unknown_AddRef_Proxy could not be located in the dynamic link library RPCRT4.dll -

I have to be honest, I don't test for IE for my personal projects. I gave up on Internet Explorer a long time. Only, this is for a client and he wants the site to work for IE6, IE7, and IE8. I only managed to install IE7.

It's really sad that Microsoft made a browser that purposely disrespected the web standards, and don't offer an easy alternative for people to test their code. These images shouldn't expire.

Anyhow, if anyone knows how to solve my error, that would be greatly appreciated. For now, I'm stumped.

Visitor ~ 6 years ago

Thank You so much for instruction!! It helped me a lot

Matt ~ 6 years ago

Sorry to resurrect an old thread! I wound up here looking for a solution to this activation problem and while Rick's didn't work, I did find a way to make those darn error messages go away.

First up, I used xdissent's excellent script to install my IE VMs: I'd advise following xdissent's instructions... You'll wind up with the clean, working VMs of your choice. This method I describe below might work with Jeff's instructions at 10 Volt or the other similar methods that are floating around out there. However, I had no problems with the Windows VMs recognizing any of my hardware like it seems other people have had - not sure if this is by virtue of the hardware I'm running OS X on, xdissent's scripts, new MS VHDs, or a new version of VirtualBox. YMMV.

Boot up your chosen Windows 7 VM clean. Open the command prompt as an admin (right click, choose Open as Administrator). Type "slmgr –rearm". Don't restart now. Install your Guest Additions. Restart now. You won't get any activation errors but you will get a Security Essentials Error - click the button that says something like Activate Online, you'll be sent online with IE and asked to install something. Install it. You'll get the green Welcome to Windows message. Shut down your VM. Now, make a snapshot! Periodically, your VM will stop working due to activation errors and you can use slmgr -rearm one or two times to reactivate for another 30-ish days. When that stops working, just restore the snapshot you made and begin the process again.

For some reason I hadn't closely read MS's VHD page. They kind of explain how to fix this problem there:
"You may be required to activate the OS as the product key has been deactivated. This is the expected behavior. The VHDs will not pass genuine validation. Immediately after you start the Windows 7 or Windows Vista images they will request to be activated. You can cancel the request and it will login to the desktop. You can activate up to two “rearms” (type slmgr –rearm at the command prompt) which will extend the trial for another 30 days each time OR simply shutdown the VPC image and discard the changes you’ve made from undo disks to reset the image back to its initial state. By doing either of these methods, you can technically have a base image which never expires although you will never be able to permanently save any changes on these images for longer than 90 days."

I hope this helps someone!

hugh ~ 6 years ago

I downloaded IE 6. It's windows XP. Under MyComputer I found devices with removable storate / drivers. I clicked drivers and it ran an Intel network installer that allowed my machine to connect to the internet. Then I was able to install guest additions. From there, activation was as simple as rebooting, clicking I want to activate over the internet, then clicking I don't want to register, and then clicking activate anyway. it worked..

Anyway, perhaps you don't need to have three or four different copies of Windows for each version of IE. You could just have one copy of Windows XP and use IE Tester which gives you the rendering engines of all the different browsers. Basically, if you bought aWindows computer, this is what you would probably end up doing, unless you want to own four or five Windows machines. I don't !

Visitor ~ 5 years ago

Thanks for posting this, worked like a charm!

MiB ~ 5 years ago

This may be old but but seem very useful, even if there are paid for alternatives that may work. Point 5: "You will then be asked to select the network adapter. There should only be one in the list, so just click "Next" to start the installation."

Why should there only be one? I have Acer to NEC listed, many cards for each. The "Intel Pro / 1000 MT Desktop (82540EM)" that Virtual Box states is not among these. Please, what is the name of the adapter type you should use?

Kelvin ~ 5 years ago

Thank you!

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