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My experience is that about 90% of the time, the compatibility mode in IE9 or IE10 will give you an accurate prediction of behavior in IE7 or IE8. It's that last 10% of the time, generally related to JavaScript issues in the original browser engines or obscure CSS bugs. So it works for basic stuff, but if you have anything complex going on you should test in a VM running the actual browser version you want to test.

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