In my previous post I described cross-browser compatibility testing using online services. This time I will focus on cross-browser testing using virtual machines.
To be sure that your application will work as expected, you will need to test it in every supported browser/operating system (this means different versions of different browsers and different versions of operating systems installed)
To install different versions of browsers on different versions of operating systems you will need many virtual machines.
The disadvantage of having virtual machines locally is that you should have an advanced configuration, where you can run these virtual machines.

The advantages are that there is no time-limit for testing and no monthly fee for service.
First step is to choose the proper virtualization software. There are a couple of software for virtualization (Oracle Vm Virtualbox, Microsoft Virtual PC, VMware….). I prefer Vmware Workstation.
You can set/install virtual machines by yourself or just download it from the internet. There are many sites/forums where you can find and download the proper operating system image, just google it.
Setup of the operating system for the first time may take more time, but if you configure the image well and snapshots are made from different OS states with different versions of browsers installed, working with virtual machines will be very easy.
It is important to create a clean snapshot after every installation of a new browser. It’s the only way you can guarantee that you use a clean machine without having any trace of tested application/software, what can interfere at testing the new application version.
When the OS from image is successfully started, create the first Snapshot of your system immediately.
To take a snapshot click on VM – Snapshot – Take Snapshot.
If the selected image was Windows 7, you will have the Windows 7 operating system with only the Internet Explorer 8 installed.
Once opened, image will be displayed in the Library at the left side. You can quickly open/close the library with F9 function button.

After the snapshot was successfully created, download the installers for the needed browsers.
Install the browsers(Firefox, Chrome…) and after that take new snapshots after every install.
Repeat the snapshot creation/browser install steps for every operating system.
In my testing I use the next operating systems: Mac OS X 10.8.2, Ubuntu 12.10, XP, Vista, Win7, Win8
Returning to a created snapshot is very easy and quick, just click on VM – Snapshot and choose the correct snapshot from the list.
When preparing of the images is finished, you can start with testing your application.
To take screenshots just hit CTRL+ALT+PrtScrn buttons and the screenshot of the virtual machine will be saved on your real machines desktop.

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