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Still there are companies who believe Windows is the only OS and IE is the only browser around. This prompts them to make sites which can be accessed only in IE. Though I have dual-boot system I boot into Windows only once in several days. I don't want to boot into Windows just to check my internet usage(yes, it is my ISP's site - http://selfcare.sdc.bsnl.co.in/). The site does not allow me to enter my username and password in Firefox/Chrome in Ubuntu. When I take my mouse pointer over it, it just keeps circling! And now it has started showing Bad Gateway. The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server. Ironically it seems to use Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat) Server. So there they need Linux! Is there any way out for such issues other than installing Windows on a Virtual PC?

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Man, I really and truly hate websites that enforce this. The FAFSA is one such lovely site. –  Reid May 29 '11 at 4:09
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Wait, so the site literally has a server-side check to enforce the use of a certain browser? Reading this question, I assumed that they simply relied on the broken web standards present in old versions of IE. –  crazy2be May 29 '11 at 4:55
    
in many sites. they are not English. –  Minimus Heximus Mar 26 '13 at 22:05
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6 Answers 6

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Well you have several ways:

FIREFOX Addon - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/user-agent-switcher/

CHROME Addon - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/aafciojnlamllgpkpdkbamkfgbofhgcj?hl=en-US

MANUALLY

  • FIREFOX 4.0 - In Firefox type in the URL Address: about:config. A webpage will appear saying a warning about the use of the Config. Click on the button about you being careful. In the search bar in the Config type agent and look for the variable general.useragent.override. Double click on it and overwrite the value it has with one of the following (For the default leave the value EMPTY):

    IE6 - Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)
    IE7 - Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)
    IE8 - Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1)

  • CHROME - Chrome has an about page to CHECK if you have changed your User Agent about: and other options like about:labs, about:memory, about:hang, about:plugins and many others that depending on your version they could be available or not. But for the question at hand this option is not yet in any of the about pages i have found. To have it manually in chrome you need to start chrome with the option user-agent. For example google-chrome --user-agent="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)" which will open Chrome like it were IE6. The IE User Agents are from the Firefox option above.

  • OPERA - In Opera type in the URL Address: about:config. A list will appear and a search address in the upper part of the list. Type in the search address user agent. The option for User Agen will appear below the search address. Click on it and depending on the Browser you want you have several options that change depending on version. For example:

    1 - Opera (this is the default user agent string used by Opera)
    2 - Mozilla (With the Opera String in it)
    3 - Internet Explorer (With the Opera String in it)
    4 - Mozilla (Without the Opera String in it. 100% Mozilla)
    5 - Internet Explorer (Without the Opera String in it. 100% IE)

    But this values could change so you would need to test each one to know what User Agent value it has.

UPDATE - The list for most (Maybe all) User Agents can be found in this page (There are other pages actually but this is the best i found): http://www.useragentstring.com/pages/Browserlist/

UPDATE 2 - Also please make sure the site works with IE or any other browser that you want to compare with. Web pages like http://browsershots.org and http://www.webpagetest.org can test out the compatibility with the site with each browser and show a small screenshot of how the looked.

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Sorry took some time but added the user agent webpage and Opera. Opera however changes the user agent value they have. It is not always the same. So in the example 2 is Mozilla 3.x but if you use another version of Opera it might be IE. –  Luis Alvarado May 29 '11 at 6:07
    
The methods that allow you to change the user agent will certainly work in some cases, but be aware that some websites are IE-only because they use ActiveX components. In which case you have no option but to use IE, AFAIK. –  scottishwildcat May 29 '11 at 10:57
    
What Calum said is 100% right. Certain sites will be 100% IE beause they use some tools only found in IE. –  Luis Alvarado May 29 '11 at 15:26
    
Unfortunately none of the methods work for the particular site. In Firefox 4 the same problem continues and in Chrome it says "This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below." and shows the document tree. For the moment I have unchecked accepted answer but if no other ideas come as answers I will check it again since it is the issue with only one site and this appears to be the only way to access such sites. –  Chethan S. May 30 '11 at 0:14
    
Give me a day to test it out. I will post an update when i find it. –  Luis Alvarado May 30 '11 at 1:04
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You can try to install the user-agent-switcher extension for firefox.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/user-agent-switcher/

Then, you can try to change the user-agent to Internet Explorer. The author states that it's not guaranteed to work at all sites as there are many different methods of detecting the browser type.

I've used it in a few sites myself where i was facing this kind of problem and it helped me.

As for the second part of the problem, the message:

Bad Gateway. The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server.

could be a temporary problem on your ISP's site.

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"User Agent Switcher" for Firefox got me onto the "FAFSA" website finally! THANK YOU! –  Rob Jun 1 '11 at 17:30
    
Good to hear that! ;-) –  Pavlos G. Jun 1 '11 at 19:13
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Install Opera.It allows logging into BSNL portal. Regards.

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I had a similar requirement and I had used PlayOnLinux and IE. My problem was that site had JScript code that was not compatible on Chrome/Firefox/Opera. Once I installed PlayOnLinux and IE on top of it, I could run the site without any problems

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I am not aware of any way to actually emulate another browser, but you can install extensions for your browser that will pretend like as if it's the other browser (even though the browser's internals do not change).

Most websites check the browser by what is known as a "User Agent String". This string (or text) provides many details about the browser, renderer (the thing that displays the website), OS, and the versions of them. For example, here are a few user agent strings:

  • Firefox 16, 32-bit build running under a 64-bit processor, on windows 8:

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64; rv:16.0.1) Gecko/20121011 Firefox/16.0.1

  • Internet Explorer 10, on windows 7:

    Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 10.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/6.0)

Most websites either "parse" the strings (i.e. convert the strings into code) or just use pre-parsed versions of the strings given by the browser.

So if the User Agent String is edited (like the extensions I mentioned above do), the browser can trick the website to pretend like as if it's actually another browser, or running on another OS.

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How do that addons works? –  Lucio Mar 26 '13 at 22:05
    
@Lucio, do you mean how to use them? Or how do the work internally? –  MiJyn Mar 26 '13 at 22:06
    
Mmm... What change using they from the website perspective? Is like an emulator, isn't? –  Lucio Mar 26 '13 at 22:08
    
@Lucio, no, it just pretends like as if it's another browser –  MiJyn Mar 26 '13 at 22:12
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Try installing PlayonLinux from playonlinux.org and install IE via PlayonLinux. and use IE only for those pesky sites :)

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And enjoying the risks of IE? No thanks -1 –  Lekensteyn Jun 1 '11 at 17:25
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