No, unfortunately you cannot use App-V to virtualise Internet Explorer today. Other application virtualisation solutions such as VMware ThinApp, Symantec Workspace Virtualization, and InstallFree Bridge can virtualise Internet Explorer, so why can’t App-V?
There’s no technical reason why App-V can’t virtualise Internet Explorer; however at this time Microsoft’s stance on running multiple versions of Internet Explorer on a single operating system is preventing this from becoming a reality - Running Multiple Versions of Internet Explorer On Single Operating System is Unsupported.
Microsoft’s recommend solutions
Microsoft does offer several solutions for running older versions of Internet Explorer on current operating systems. These are outlined in the white paper Solutions for Virtualizing Internet Explorer and include:
- Terminal Services – using Terminal Services built into Windows Server 2003, Internet Explorer 6 or 7 can be delivered centrally. Citrix XenApp or Quest vWorkspace would required to deliver Internet Explorer as a seamless window. An overview video of this method is available on TechNet Edge.
- MED-V – Windows XP running in a virtual machine managed with MED-V can be used to deliver Internet Explorer locally. MED-V offers URL redirection so that you can control which sites are directed to the older versions of IE. MED-V is only available as a component of MDOP. An overview video of this method is available on TechNet Edge:
- Windows Virtual PC – teamed with Windows XP Mode, available to customers with Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode are available to Windows customers at no additional cost, but may require a little more management overhead that the previous solutions.
A overview video of all of the Microsoft solutions is available here:
Microsoft does provide developers with tools for running the Internet Explorer 6 and 7 render engines on Windows 7 with Expression Web. Although the full Expression Web is a paid product, a free version is available: Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview for Windows Internet Explorer. If you are looking to provide developers a method of viewing sites in the older render engines, Expression Web is the recommend solution.
Other methods of delivering Internet Explorer
There are some other ways that you could consider for delivering older versions of Internet Explorer:
- RemoteApp – Internet Explorer can be published from Windows XP or Windows Vista using RemoteApp. The older operating systems could be running in a local or remote virtual machine.
- VMware Workstation – Unity mode can be used to provide a seamless Internet Explorer on the host operating system.
- Oracle VirtualBox – VirtualBox also offers a seamless window mode.
Microsoft would only extend the life of older versions of IE it they were to provide them as App-V packages. Microsoft wants to see the end of Internet Explorer 6 and apart from some hold outs (home users who don’t know any better and businesses who have web applications that rely on IE6 – they have had since October 2006 to start their migrations) most of us have moved on.
Although you cannot deliver older versions of Internet Explorer with App-V, Microsoft does offer alternate methods; however many of these do require additional infrastructure which may remove them from consideration. If you absolutely must be able to deliver Internet Explorer with App-V, have a chat with your Microsoft TAM. The more customers that do, the more likely that Microsoft may consider providing this functionality.