Testing IE Conditional Comments in development

CSS rendering inconsistencies in the various versions of IE are a well known problem. IE’s proprietary Conditional Comments are really the best practice solution for addressing CSS issues in IE. Which makes the so called “stand alone” versions of IE an invaluable tool for testing CSS layouts. evolt provides a great collection of stand alone IE versions going back to version 3 (that’s further back than I care to think about). And with the release of IE7 looming in the not so distant future, it’s important to have a stand alone IE7 version in the arsenal as well.

The problem with all of these stand alone versions is that when they are installed along side a primary installation of IE6… they report their version as 6 and break the use of CC.

Today I was again dealing with the madness that is IE + CSS and decided to go looking around to see if there was anything new that others are doing to deal with IE sniffing. Amongst the new debates popping up around some slipping back into the taboo practices of javascript sniffers… I happened upon a comment in the IE7beta3 post that explains a simple way to fix IE CC for multiple “stand alone” versions with a quick registry key edit.

Open Regedit
Start -> Run -> Regedit

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Version Vector

Rename the key there named IE to something like xIE

All stand alone versions now report their correct version, and IE Conditional Comments are restored to functionality! If nothing else, this makes Conditional Comments a little easier to work with. Though they are still cluttering up the top of my html pages. If only MicroSoft would have had the insight to implement this proprietary feature so the CC could live in the external style sheet instead of the html

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