MarineNet Access Using A Macbook

Getting MarineNet To Work On A Macbook Computer

Anyone who has tried to access MarineNet using a Macbook computer knows that it can be a real headache. Why? BECAUSE IT DOESN”T WORK! Trying to get through all of the pre-TBS courses can be a lot more frustrating than it should be.

MarineNet is a very picky web application that requires lots of security certificates, and what not, to work properly. For the most part, MarineNet is only going to work in Internet Explorer. If you own a Macbook then you have probably discovered that Microsoft stopped supporting OSX as far as IE goes. This is a real pain. If Google, Mozilla, and Apple all managed to develop cross-platform browsers then why couldn’t Microsoft do the same? Simply put, they just didn’t want to. The last version of IE to work on OSX was like version 5.

This little trick doesn’t technically get MarineNet working in OSX, rather it uses emulation to create a Windows environment on top of the host. Doing this you can then run IE. The great thing is that Microsoft actually developed virtual machines specifically for this purpose. So everything outlined here is legal and doesn’t require any questionable special software.

Overview

In a nut shell this is what you have to do:

  1. Install VirtualBox
  2. Open VirtualBox
  3. Close VirtualBox (yes, you have to open it and then close it)
  4. Run a script in the terminal
  5. Launch Windows using VirtualBox

The amount of effort required to do this is minimal, but it will take about an hour when you include download and install time.

Install VirtualBox

You can either download VirtualBox directly by clicking here, or by going to the VirtualBox Downloads page.

It will take a bit of time to download the application.

Run the application and follow the steps to setup the virtual machine. You don’t need to allocate a huge amount of resources to the machine, since the goal is to just run IE.

The defaults should suffice, and lowering the amount of space used to something less than 8GB should be fine (although not tested).

Getting Windows XP With Internet Explorer 8

There are a few options for getting IE. You can choose which version you want to download and install.

I would NOT suggest getting anything greater than version 8 as it will take up a lot more system resources. MarineNet was tested with IE 8 and XP so there shouldn’t be any problems. IE 7 might even be a better option if someone wants to confirm it works with MarineNet.

  1. Open Finder
  2. Select Applications
  3. Search for Terminal
  4. Launch Terminal
  5. Run the following command (one line):

curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/xdissent/ievms/master/ievms.sh | IEVMS_VERSIONS="8" bash

The IEVMS_VERSIONS option allows you to select 7, 8, 9, or you can remove it to install all 3 versions.

This may take a while to run.

The script downloads the Windows OS from Microsoft and then sets up everything automatically with VirtualBox. Therefore, you aren’t downloading some shady Microsoft version. In fact, I looked through the script code and found the exact location where the download is coming from

http://download.microsoft.com/download/C/C/0/CC0BD555-33DD-411E-936B-73AC6F95AE11/IE8-WindowsXP-x86-ENU.exe

Sometimes people are very weary about these sorts of “hacks,” but this is legitimate. You could even even download XP from Microsoft directly and then install it into VirtualBox manually. It isn’t too difficult, but why go through the extra trouble? Just run the script.

Run The Virtual Machine

You now have Windows XP installed along with Internet Explorer 8. To start the new OS just open VirtualBox and launch it from the side panel.

You will see Windows XP starting as if it were running on your own computer. Once it is up you can start using IE to access MarineNet.

30 Day Expiration

Since the VM was developed by Microsoft it should come as no surprise that it’s on a timer. To be exact, there is a 30 day trial period. All you have to do is create a snapshot using the VirtualBox application. Every time you start XP use the snapshot and it’s as if you are just restarting the trial.

If this doesn’t work, you could delete XP from within VirtualBox, and then run the script from earlier to do a fresh reinstall of IE.

Conclusion

This isn’t necessarily an “easy” thing to do, but it’s also not hard. If you can save yourself some time and headache from using the base computers then you might as well go for it.

If there are any questions, post them in the comments section and we can try and work through them.