ies4osx: Run Internet Explorer 5/6/7 Natively in OS X

ies4osxWithout using Parallels, Crossover or Bootcamp, or even having a Windows Partition! Today we’ll be using Wine to emulate Windows and run all version of Internet Exlorer, which will make for a much lighter overall system footprint. It will also integrate perfectly into OS X.

I get asked this one a lot by web developers so I thought I would throw this up here for posterity. Not everyone wants to taint their Mac by running full blown Windows on it (am I right?), but if you’re a web developer it’s pretty critical that you build pages that render properly in Internet Explorer. If you have done this type of work on *nix you might remember using a great tool named ies4linux. Well you guessed it, ies4osx was recently ported to the Mac by Mike Kronenberg.

Note: This only works on Intel based processors. Sorry PPC users.

  1. Tiger users will need to install X11 on their Macs. Leopard comes with X11 pre-installed so carry on to step 2 if you are running OS X 10.5.x.
  2. Download and open Darwin 0.9.49_2.
  3. Copy Darwin to your Applications folder.
  4. Copy Darwin to the Apps folder

  5. Download and install ies4osx.
  6. Choose your browser and language and click the play button. If you click the log icon you will see ies4osx is downloading all of the needed components for the browsers. Depending on your connection this may take a while, so grab a soda or something.
  7. ies4osx3.jpg

  8. In your Applications folder you should now see the available browsers. Ahhh web developer bliss.

All the IE you can handle!

The browsers will install the components necessary to run Flash, and everything should work nearly identically as it would under Windows, except the system fonts will be pulled from your Mac. Most importantly IE will render as it would under Windows. In my case I have been hacking CSS bugs via this method for a few weeks, and I can say it is a great deal better for me than attempting to do this under Parallels or another virtual machine. Another bonus is that an X11 virtual machine running IE uses only about 25mb of system memory on my system, a heckuva lot less than any other solution.

Oh and as far as I know you can’t do this under Windows quite nearly as easily as this – which I suppose is more than a little ironic.

ies4osx is free and licensed under the GPL. Be sure to check out Mike’s blog for updates.


93 Responses to “ies4osx: Run Internet Explorer 5/6/7 Natively in OS X”

  1. Tanc on November 29th, 2007 2:37 am

    Dear MacApper, this is the very first truly useful thing you guys have ever posted. I was considering deleting your RSS feed but I think I’ll hang onto it for a bit now.

  2. Luhmann on November 29th, 2007 2:41 am

    Will this allow me to use Active X websites. The only reason I’m currently running Parallels is because some websites I use require Active X on MSIE.

  3. henry on November 29th, 2007 2:42 am

    found this a few hours ago on some other site (cant remember which). I couldnt get it working at first (something about couldnt create display driver). if you get this error, simply make sure that you run software update to update x11 after install (if on 10.4). Everything worked fine after that.

    there are a few drawbacks:
    It’s obviously not EXACTLY the same as if you had windows running on a separate partition.
    The javascript ran a fair bit slower than it would natively
    The page would flicker a lot of javascript as doing anything, which was really annoying
    Takes a little while to start (heaps quicker than booting up the parallels or vmware partition of course tho :P

  4. Instalar Internet Explorer en Mac OS X on November 29th, 2007 3:31 am

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  5. Chad Crowell on November 29th, 2007 3:44 am

    The biggest problem beyond what some commenters above have noted, is that IE7 beta DOES NOT perform the same way as the public build of IE7. I had the beta installed on Parallels and was seeing different rendering than my client. Once I installed the public release of IE7, the differences went away.

    I’d say, if you use this method, plan to use it mainly for IE5 and 6, and don’t rely on the version of 7 it includes.

    I think, for the space it requires and few extra minutes to load it, running a true VM can give you the most accurate representation of how your sites will look to your users. If your job depends on it, why skimp?

  6. romzzz on November 29th, 2007 4:41 am

    This can actually be easily performed under Windows (not Vista) as well, with MultipleIE (
    This can be really useful when developing websites, so thank you for this post.

  7. shmack on November 29th, 2007 6:58 am

    this is nothing but blog spam. the author of ies4osx already has a walkthrough on his website and this is just adding some unnecessary jokes to his compact tutorial:

    credit where credit is due. but you deserve none.

    “this is the very first truly useful thing you guys have ever posted”

    yes, because it’s not their own work.

  8. Brushy on November 29th, 2007 7:06 am

    @shmack: I would hardly call this blog spam as the author clearly links to the article you gallantly reference, along with links on how to install X11 in Tiger (which Mike doesn’t) along with his opinion on how the app performs, memory usage etc.

    I had never heard of ie4osx so I for one am grateful for the post. Lighten up people.

  9. theo on November 29th, 2007 10:10 am

    You guys are being a little harsh no?! i’ve been reading this site for a while and can’t say that I have any real complaints.

  10. de vakantie is » Blog Archive » Internet Explorer op je MAC. on November 29th, 2007 10:52 am

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  11. Terry on November 29th, 2007 12:39 pm

    “Dear MacApper, this is the very first truly useful thing you guys have ever posted. I was considering deleting your RSS feed but I think I'll hang onto it for a bit now.”

    Your opinion as to what is useful differs from mine. I have found many useful tips and alerts to new software here.

  12. Bittennails on November 29th, 2007 2:42 pm

    The author is clearly credited, spreading the word is a good thing…

    Good info to have, that I for one, was unaware of.

  13. zensmile on November 29th, 2007 4:31 pm

    I had very good luck with this, at least with IE 6. I found IE 7 very very slow. It is GREAT for IE 6 though.

  14. Run Internet Explorer on Your Mac with ies4osx [Featured Mac Download] at SoftSaurus on November 29th, 2007 4:33 pm

    [...] Mac OS X only: Install and run Internet Explorer for Windows 5, 6, or 7 on your Mac with free, open source application ies4osx. Getting ies4osx up and running takes a little effort on your part and an installation of previously mentioned Darwine, but the download site has detailed step-by-step instructions for getting it up and running (it’s not that hard). Once installed, you can run Internet Explorer on your Mac to satisfy all of your web development needs or just your weird curiosity. ies4osx is free, Mac OS X only. ies4osx [via MacApper] [...]

  15. Run Internet Explorer on Your Mac with ies4osx [Featured Mac Download] · TechBlogger on November 29th, 2007 4:41 pm

    [...] Mac OS X only: Install and run Internet Explorer for Windows 5, 6, or 7 on your Mac with free, open source application ies4osx. Getting ies4osx up and running takes a little effort on your part and an installation of previously mentioned Darwine, but the download site has detailed step-by-step instructions for getting it up and running (it’s not that hard). Once installed, you can run Internet Explorer on your Mac to satisfy all of your web development needs or just your weird curiosity. ies4osx is free, Mac OS X only. ies4osx [via MacApper] [...]

  16. Sebastian Werner on November 29th, 2007 5:29 pm

    The whole interface is flickering and not as solid as under a native Windows. If you need a real Internet Explorer this is no option. But for a quick test it may be ok. The rendering may be nearly identically (except font rendering), but as WINE do not use the original windows libraries the whole UI does not function as stable as normally. Rendering even normally news paper like pages makes problem because it seems that the browser is completely refreshing each block multiple times while loading. Maybe an issue regarding dubble buffering.

  17. links for 2007-11-30 « Mike Does Tech on November 29th, 2007 8:28 pm

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  18. Austen on November 29th, 2007 9:57 pm

    Great, except there’s a lack of screenshot here!

  19. Aaron on November 30th, 2007 1:46 am

    This is great for Mac based web developers or anyone else who needs to occasionally access a site that is foolishly created to work solely with IE.

    I do have one question though. As stated by one poster above, how would one update IE7 to the public release? I did check the ie4osx site but didn’t see anything on this or a help/forum area.

  20. Doc Logic on November 30th, 2007 4:53 am

    I am going to concur with zensmile above. IE7 is veeerrrry slow for me while IE 5.5/6 are really quite usable for fixing CSS bugs etc. Sorry I hadn’t really given IE7 beta much of a go until I saw your comment.

  21. Hans on November 30th, 2007 5:09 am

    IE6 with doesn’t seem to work, although it works on WinXP, IE6

  22. Andrew on November 30th, 2007 11:53 am

    Will I be able to install Citrix MetaFrame Presentation? I need this to login to my company’s BST server apps.

  23. feed me apple snacks » Run IE on your Intel Mac, if you absolutely have to on November 30th, 2007 12:48 pm

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  24. Nic on November 30th, 2007 1:56 pm

    @ 17 – slightly off topic but there is a native ICA client for OSX and if your company is using Web Interface simply make sure they allow the java client, no need to run IE on OSX to get a proper Citrix session

  25. andrew on November 30th, 2007 2:00 pm

    Nic, Can you email me about this ICA, I dont think the Java is working? Not sure who I would ask about that.

  26. You can now access the MLS on your Mac on November 30th, 2007 4:01 pm

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  27.   Internet Explorer for Mac OS X still here? — on November 30th, 2007 4:14 pm

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  28. links for 2007-11-30 :: jason brown on November 30th, 2007 5:12 pm

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  29. jesse on November 30th, 2007 6:24 pm

    link doesn’t work :(

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  32. Chris on February 22nd, 2008 9:23 am

    I was running Panther so needed to update my OS which I have done. I have just bought Leopard. So then I tried to download and install this solution. I just get a message saying installation aborted, so this seems to have been a waste of time so far.

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  41. hairygorrillaass on May 24th, 2008 12:14 am

    just installed this a few hours ago. IE 5 and 6 fire up pretty fast, although I cannot vouch for their accuracy. Biggest problem seems to be IE 7, which doesn’t seem to work at all.

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  46. anonymous on June 12th, 2008 2:22 pm

    I have leopard and I’ve followed the instructions but my ies4osx has been “creating wine prefixes” for over an hour. I was unable to install all 4 and am currently just trying to load ie6. Has anyone had similar problems?

  47. Greg Healy on June 12th, 2008 8:49 pm

    I was able to install and get up and running with no problems at all on Leopard.

  48. anonymous on June 13th, 2008 4:13 am

    hmm, how long should the process take? I’m going to assume that it should not be creating a wine prefix for over 5 hours.

  49. anonymous on June 13th, 2008 4:36 am

    which version of darwine should I have?

  50. anonymous on June 13th, 2008 1:58 pm

    I just noticed on the ies3osx website it mentions problems with darwine prefixes and suggests that it might have to do with X11. I also know that I’ve been having trouble with other X11 related apps, and that I’ve read about some sub par X11 related to leopard. What version of X11 do other leopard users have?

  51. hanjones on June 18th, 2008 4:51 am

    i have Leopard 10.5.3 and i waited for 2 hour for “creating wine prefixes”… i don’t know what im doning wrong. all my other programms were closed…
    can anybody help me?! thx!

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  53. frycu on December 5th, 2008 9:01 am

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  54. install internet explorer on a mac | All About iWeb on December 13th, 2008 9:29 pm

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  55. Squarenine [Sq]9 » ies4osx: Run Internet Explorer 5/6/7 Natively in OS X | MacApper on February 3rd, 2009 3:39 am

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  56. Ryan Bollenbach on February 24th, 2009 10:41 pm

    Grrr.. I did everything that this article said, but it won’t work for me.

    OS: darwin9.0
    Version: ies4osx 3.0.1
    Path: /Users/ryanbollenbach/Desktop/

    Executing sh /tmp/ies4osx/winetricks winver=win98
    /Users/ryanbollenbach/Desktop/ line 211: cd: /tmp/ies4osx/ No such file or directory
    ln: system: File exists
    Executing curl -s -L -o ADVAUTH.CAB -C – –header Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
    Note: command ‘curl -s -L -o ADVAUTH.CAB -C – –header Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate‘ returned status 7. Aborting.

    ^ that’s the error that I got…


    I installed the X11 and darwin… is there something else I have to do?

  57. karen on March 28th, 2009 11:29 am

    I followed your instructions (even though some of the links didn’t work, I found the files elsewhere)… installed x11, moved Darwin to apps folder, and downloaded ies4osx. I can’t open ies4osx, I get a message “you cannot open the application because it is not supported on this system.” What should I do?

  58. Ben on May 5th, 2009 5:50 am

    I dragged Darwine into the Application Folder. I download ies4osx from the website.
    The IE 6.0 and X11 icons showed up on my desktop.
    When I lauched IE 6.0, it tried to load Wine but crashed everytime.
    The error message ” The IE experienced serious problem due to problem with the program or defficiency in WIne”
    Can somebody help me understand the problem and fix it.
    I am running on OSX 10.5.6. I am trying to run a program that is supported by IE 6.0.

  59. N on May 17th, 2009 6:41 am

    Try using a stable build of darwine (1.0.1).. Worked for me.

  60. Ben on June 19th, 2009 1:54 pm

    I still have problems installing and running darwine and ies4osx.
    I dragged darwine into the application folder but when I run ies40sx it told me that it could not find darwine. Would somebody let me know the what darwine and ies4osu versions I need to download and their links. I am running Safaris 4.0.1 and OSX 10.5.7. I follow Logic’s website instructions, but it does not work for me.

  61. barbara on July 29th, 2009 8:57 pm

    I am having the same problem as Ben. I have Darwine -X86-1.1.21.dmg that I downloaded from another site (your link doesn’t work) but I get the error stating darwine can not be located. When I double click Darwine, TRIX unzips. When open TRIX, I get the opportunity to choose Adobe Flash Player ActiveX along with over 50 other downloads. When I try to load the ActiveX (because the error I get at the page I am trying to use in IE says Active X is not available), I get the error message: “Terminal got an error: AppleEvent handler failed.(-10000)” No Quotes.

    Any ideas?

  62. Ricardo on September 23rd, 2009 9:16 pm

    ies4osx wont show me the Install Window (with all the versions to choose). The only window it shows says: Internet Explorer for OSX. From here it installs only IE6 (wich works great), but i need at least IE7. Any ideas on this?

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  64. Amy on December 21st, 2009 7:55 pm

    Will I be able to install Active X?

  65. Alejandro Irazoque on December 30th, 2009 2:07 pm

    plz can u Update the manual to install the ie4osx ??? cuz the actual link goes to a diferent page but i cant install what i want (ie4osx) plz help me i really need the F*** program but i cant space in my hard drive to install a parallel or use bootcamp

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  67. Peter on March 12th, 2010 6:54 am

    Sounds like it involves a bit of work, but I might give it a try when I get some free time (LOL). It’s amazing just how many people still us IE6.

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  71. Johnny on June 30th, 2010 3:18 am

    Having Mac OS X 10.6.4 and not knowing anything much about computers I tried starting at step 2,

    1. Tiger users will need to install X11 on their Macs. Leopard comes with X11 pre-installed so carry on to step 2 if you are running OS X 10.5.x.
    2. Download and open Darwin 0.9.49_2.

    That returned,

    The following error occurred:
    The requested URL was not found on this server.
    Please check the URL or contact the Webmaster.

    So, what now?

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