One of the most common tools used to test and develop web projects is XAMPP. The idea is simple, you run a small web server on your local PC and use it to host a copy of the website you're working on. The problem with this is that it is not that similar to the environment that the site will actually run under, hosting companies very rarely use Windows for starters.
There have been virtual machine images made available for IE testing around for a while now, they're awesome and we love them. But there is one tiny annoyance about using them, the 30 days trials eventually expire and you have to stop what you're doing to restore a snapshot or set up the machine again.