How to open IE from a Mac

Hi Guys,
We are going to start using a web application that only runs on IE.
Oddly enough we have around 30 users that use Mac computers.

So I have been tasked with a project to come up with a solution to solve this puzzle.

I have a couple of ideas but I want to hear some from you.

How can I have a user in a Mac running IE?

Who is Participating?
Tom GrellConnect With a Mentor COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALISTCommented:
You can make Safari on the Mac appear to be Internet Explorer to the web app. (I'm still running OSX 10.8, so this may have changed in later versions.) In Safari, open Preferences, go to the Advanced tab, and check the box for Show Develop menu in the menu bar. Close Preferences and the Develop menu will appear. Under the Develop menu, go to User Agent and select the version of Internet Explorer you want to use. Not guaranteed to work, but a free alternative worth trying.
JohnConnect With a Mentor Business Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Easy but not simple.

Install VMware Fusion, set up a Windows 7 or Windows 10 virtual machine sporting IE 11.

Now run the VM in Unity Mode and you can start IE 11 from the MAC start menu. So long as Unity Mode is running (so the machine is running), you can put an IE 11 Icon on your MAC desktop and use it.

I have done the above with Windows 10 Host, VMware Workstation, Windows 7 guest and Unity Mode.
strungConnect With a Mentor Commented:
IE won't run directly on the Mac OS. Your only real alternative is to run Windows on the Mac, either by running Windows directly from BootCamp, running it in a Virtual Machine from VMWare, Parallels or Virtual Box, or perhaps using Codeweavers Crossover.

Why do you need use IE in the first place? Does your web application use Activex? If not, it would seem to me to make more sense to try to find a more universal web application.
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Martin LissConnect With a Mentor Older than dirtCommented:
I use Parallels to seamlessly run XP (yes XP) including IE side by side with my iMac.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Martin posts a good method, but XP is limited to IE 8 so use a newer guest machine.
Justin Pierce, CEH, CNDANASA Cybersecurity EngineerCommented:
Hi Cargex,

I use VMware Fusion Pro 8  to run nearly any OS that I need on my Mac. One of the best reasons to run Fusion is that it has a feature called "Unity". Unity essentially hides the VM window that's running the OS (maybe WIn 7 or 10) while placing the application that you're running (in this case IE) on your Dock (as if you were running it natively on the Mac). This may be perfect for your users since it runs the app they need while hiding the stuff they don't, or care to know about.

Here is the link to VMware Fusion Pro 8: Link
Hope this helps.
Martin LissOlder than dirtCommented:
Parallels does the same with a view called Coherence.
Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
If you've 30 Macs who all need to have access to Internet Explorer you don't say what version but that's a lot of VMware Fusion or Parallels software licenses plus 30 Windows licenses!!!

To save $$ you could look at the FREE alternative to these two Virtual Box which is perfectly capable of running IE

Also I'd not install either on a Mac with < 4 Gb and preferably minimum 8GB RAM and 100GB free space.

If those criteria are not met you might have to look at either
1. Setup a Windows Server and let macs use Remote Desktop application to connect to it and use Windows on a networked server
2. Alternative remote connect tools to 3rd party PCs such as Teamviewer, GoToPC, Citrix etc.
cargexAuthor Commented:
Good Morning Guys,
So VMware Fusion or parallels is an option, although it seems to be an expensive one.

I would like to explore the last idea from eoinosullivan.

Setup a Windows Server and let macs use Remote Desktop application to connect to it and use Windows on a networked server.

Are you referring to Windows terminal server?
Can this solution be achieved with VMware but using VMs running on the server, for instance I could set up 10 VMs with Windows 10, and let the users connect to the server, obviously only 10 users will be able to connect at the same time.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If you have many MAC's, you also might wish to explore an option where IE is not needed. That would be simpler in the long run.

Otherwise, any virtualizing software can work. The simpler ones may require you to go to the machine and open IE.
Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
Both Windows Terminal Server and multiple VMWare instances on a Windows Server would be viable options
cargexAuthor Commented:
Mr. Eoinosullivan,
Would you care to elaborate?
Which one would you recommend.

By the way, IE is needed, otherwise I wouldn't be making the question.
Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
I guess the answer is "it depends" .. if you've got a server which can handle multiple VMWare instances and already have VMWare running then this is probably the easier, on the other hand if you have a Windows Terminal Server already in place again that is easier.

If you have neither then its a combination of cost and expertise.
How familiar are you with both?

To add another optiob to the equation maybe XenApp would meet your needs as it should allow IE to run on the citrix OSX app
Justin Pierce, CEH, CNDANASA Cybersecurity EngineerCommented:
Good morning Cargex,

To help with expenses, I talked with VMware about their discounts for bulk purchasing. In short, they said that they could give you a 25% discount for 30 licenses (Fusion Pro). That puts the total around $1,800, including taxes. You'll have to talk with a sales person at the time of purchase (They have chat sales links that you click on).

I like eoinosullivan's idea about the server, but depending on your network it could strain it (if all users jump on at the same time, which isn't too likely, unless it's a department you're working with that will be connecting daily at the same time). That said, a server's going to cost close to $2,000, throw in licensing and taxes, you'll be just a bit over.

With Fusion (or Parallels ;) That's for you Martin) , you'll be able to have each Mac run IE without taxing the network. The only other problem with the server is that it's a single point of failure, which in today's time isn't too common with the quality of servers being put out, but still possible.

In short, all of the options given here are viable, but you'll have to weigh the cost, performance, and maintenance issues.

Side note: I'm sure Parallels can give you a hefty discount too, but I had to start my work day at some time, so that's why I just reached out to VMware (maybe Martin can hit the Parallels team up for a discount).

Take care Cargex.
Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
Justin .. don't forget the minimum specs for Fusion/Parallels and the FUN of supporting 30 new windows instances on your network compared to managing one server.

It will boil down to what hardware/software cargex has in place at present, the specs of the servers and macs and the level of support/roll-out that he's willing to tolerate as installing 30 instances of Fusion and the associated VMs and managing them is no small feat either.

Personally if all this is for 1 application .. Internet Explorer .. I'd be going the single point of maintenance route every time.  IF there were several Windows apps required then Fusion would be a stronger contender for the flexibility and load of each Mac managing its own instance and not affecting others.

The other issue is if your Internet Explorer version has to be maintained, customised with plugins etc again there are roll-out issues.
Martin LissOlder than dirtCommented:
To contact Parallels start here.
The only reason I can think of to use an IE only website would be to use ActiveX and ActiveX will not run directly on the Mac OS.
@ strung  
Point well taken.
What kind of Web application is it?  A lot of them actually don't need IE with Active X, some Windows programmers just force IE because they don't want to deal with the standards.  Is it an old application?  Is it a newer one?

Everyone above has already suggested the 3 VM systems (Parallels, VMWare, Virtualbox) to run Windows and run IE.  You can also install Windows on Bootcamp and run IE from there.  Those are the best options to allow it to run well.

If you don't need Active X, since that really isn't used for very much, you can do as tgrell suggested and have your browser change its user agent.  All 3 major browsers can do this.  Firefox and Chrome just needs a plugin.

There's a 3rd way, if the IE you wish to run is IE 8 or older, you can use wine, installable through Fink, MacPorts, or Homebrew and run that directly on your mac system.  You can pay for CrossOver by CodeWeavers to give your users a simpler Mac GUI to run it.

I initially ran a VM, because my predecessor, before I took over, ran a VM.  I stopped because it used too much resources or I needed to reboot.  I generally do the other 2 methods first, because it works for me the majority of the time and it starts and runs much faster.
cargexAuthor Commented:
Thank you Guys.
Your comments have been really helpful.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You are very welcome and I was pleased to help.
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