What's more Microsoft provides a VPC (Virtual PC) Hard Disk Image or a .VHD file for testing websites with different IE versions on Windows XP SP2, Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista. The VPC Hard Disk Image for IE 8 Beta 2 is currently only available on Windows XP SP3.
Virtual PC 2007
runs on a wide variety of Windows operating systems. However the VPC Hard Disk Image for IE 8 Beta 2 (IE8B2-XPSP3_VPC.EXE) will run only on Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP.
Here is a step by step account of how to get started with IE 8 Beta 2 on Virtual PC 2007:
1) Download and install Microsoft Virtual PC 2007
(Download file size: 30.4 MB)
2) Download the compressed VPC Hard Disk Image, IE8B2-XPSP3_VPC.exe
which contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE8 Beta 2 VHD file
3) Once you have completed the download, double-click file to expand the VHD file. Save it to a folder, let's say D:\IE8B2.
4) Start Virtual PC and click the "New..." button to start the New Virtual Machine Wizard.
5) Choose the second option, "Use default settings to create a virtual machine" and click "Next". As indicated, the resulting Virtual Machine will not have a VHD associated with it and we will provide the path of the file we downloaded and extracted earlier.
6) As Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 allows us to run multiple operating systems at the same time on the same physical computer and switch between virtual machines, we need to identify each of them with a name. Type a meaningful name to remember the IE 8 Beta 2 VHD by. I named mine as "IE8B2". Click "Next" to finish the process of created a new Virtual Machine.
7) In the concluding step, the wizard informs us that a virtual hard disk needs to be added. Hit the "Finish" button keeping the default checkbox option & a Settings dialog box will open up.
8) In the "Settings" dialog box, click on Hard Disk 1 and in the panel next to it, select the "Virtual hard disk file:" radio button. Click on the Browse button to select the VHD file extracted earlier (into D:\IE8B2). Press 'OK' to complete the process of adding a Virtual hard disk file.
9) In the main window of Virtual PC 2007, the newly added Virtual hard disk will be listed (along with any existing ones. I had dabbled briefly with IE8 B1 and that's listed in the image as "IE8"). Select the IE 8 Beta 2 VHD that we named "IE8B2" and click on the Start button to invoke a Windows XP 3 OS Virtual Machine with IE 8 Beta 2 inside your host OS.
You can choose to increase the Memory to a larger size in the Settings dialog box.
Now you are all set to surf with IE 8 Beta 2. Happy Internet Exploring!