In a sudden urge to test my site in as many browsers as possible, I came across a link to Microsoft’s free distribution of virtual machines with various versions of IE. And there I ran into a roadblock. Remember when I grumbled about their use of cryptic acronyms in one of their announcements? Well, it’s not just their announcements. Even their download links are cryptic.
The web page tells you that you can download Virtual PC images with IE 6 and IE 7. Then it proceeds to list the various files that you can download – by shortened filenames. Take a look at this. What do you make of them?
- IE6_VPC.EXE – okay, I can figure this out. It’s IE 6 in a Virtual PC image. That’s okay so far.
- IE7_VPC.EXE – this must be IE 7 in a Virtual PC image.
- IE7-VIS1.exe – is this IE 7 running on Vista? If so, then what’s the next one?
- IE7-VIS2.rar – IE 7 running on Vista? Again? Or perhaps it’s because it’s packaged in a RAR archive. But wait – there’s more…
- IS7-VIS3.rar – IE 7 running on Vista! Again! In a RAR archive! Again! Will wonders never cease?
- IE8_VPC.EXE – IE 8 (huh?) in a Virtual PC image.
What good are all these filenames to the downloader? Why give the filenames at all? Don’t these wizards at Microsoft realize that you can give a link a different text from the actual filename? Not everyone in the world automatically knows what you mean when you give these cryptic filenames from the MSDOS era. They should at least give a description if they feel compelled to write the filename.
Anyway, if you can tell the difference between those VIS filenames, let me know in the comments. I’m just gonna download the IE6 image for now.
Yeah. And I noticed the IE 8 thing too. I think it’s probably just a beta. I’ll investigate and post again when I find out more. Update: it’s true – IE 8 beta 1 is out. Update 2: I just noticed that it’s not three IE7 links, but 2. The third one is IS7 not IE7. But what is IS7?