If you create web pages, for fun or professionally, it's imperative that you test in Internet Explorer 6 -- a Windows-only (thankfully!) browser, of course. And if you're on the road, and you don't want to carry an extra PC around (or you don't own one at all), your only solution to this problem is to run IE6 on Virtual PC (VPC). Of course, VPC runs slowly -- so you search and search and search to find tips and tricks and advice on which OS to install, how to tweak it for better performance, etc. I've been down that road, and it wasn't much fun. So, in the interest of saving everyone a ton of time, here are some non-geek-centric "real world/real life" tips and tricks:
- When it comes to running an OS in VPC, XP outruns them all. Yes, even Windows98. It doesn't seem right, but trust me, it's true. I installed them all, and XP either outperformed or tied them all. XP, at least when testing websites in IE6, outperformed every other OS. Bizarre but true. However, there is a method to this madness. But luckily, it only requires one app to tweak XP -- a piece of trialware called TuneUp 2004. And given it's trialware, and you only need to run it once, it's basically free. And once XP has been tweaked with this utility, it zooms (well, as much as anything in VPC zooms).
- You can build sites locally on your Mac and test them in XP -- just like on your Mac. Same address, same everything. If this isn't a shock to you, then you've never tried it before. Normally, this does not work. VPC doesn't normally play nice with your Personal Web Server. But once you install Apple's Rendezvous for Windows XP [5.3MB download] -- bam! A miracle occurs. Everything works -- no crazy coding required. And Rendezvous for Windows doesn't even install on Win98. But that's okay, because it doesn't run any faster than XP anyway.