Visual Studio 6 on Vista

Why would you want to run Visual Studio 6 on Vista? Two reasons. First, because it includes Visual Basic 6.0, the last version not based on .NET. Second, because Visual C++ 6.0 is still widely used to avoid issues with the C runtime library. There is little point in installing the other products in Visual Studio 6.0.

Visual Basic 6.0 is supported on Vista, but Visual Studio 6 is not. One reason is that it includes the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine which Microsoft promised Sun it would withdraw. This is the stated reason why Visual Studio 6.0 is no longer available for download, even for MSDN Universal subscribers. Fortunately I still have some old MSDN DVDs, so I dug these out and ran setup for the Enterprise edition of Visual Studio 6.0, installing on Vista Professional.

I can’t pretend it went smoothly. First there were compatibility warnings, which I ignored. I deselected applications other then Visual C++ and Visual Basic. Then setup appeared to hang on the screen where it detects installation components, and Vista popped up its “Program not responding” dialog. I believe this is just a matter of patience. My tip is to run task manager and see if the ACMSETUP process is taking up CPU time. If it is, give it more time.

So setup completed, but with an error towards the end:

RegCreateKey failed for \Interface\OLEViewerIViewerCLSID. Access is denied

followed by a DLLREgisterServer failure. I was informed that setup had failed, but nevertheless VB 6 and VC++ were installed and seemed to run OK.

Naturally I wanted to apply the service pack – SP5 or SP6. This is where I had the biggest problems. I could run SETUPSP6.EXE, but the install always failed. If I logged the install, I found this entertaining error:

Do not ship. Error message to log function that detects what VS products are installed in what language unable to function.

Hmmm. I Googled to no avail, though I found this thread where several others report the same problem. Then I tried removing Visual Studio 6.0 for a reinstall, but got the same error from add/remove programs. I finally twigged. The problem was that the first install never completed. Although the product was mostly installed, some part of the Microsoft Installer database had not been updated. The error message actually makes sense: the products were not installed.

Therefore I re-ran the original setup. This time I went into the Tools part of custom setup, clicked Change Option, and deselected the OLE/COM object viewer. Setup now completed without error; so too did SP6. Success.

The apps seem to work OK too – so far so good, though I’m resigned to having to use Run as administrator.

Try this at your own risk; as I mentioned above, Visual C++ 6.0 is not supported on Vista; in fact, I don’t think it is supported at all.


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89 comments to Visual Studio 6 on Vista

  • Hi – what issues does .NET have with the c runtime library?

  • Tim


    This earlier post explains the issues:

    and this article which gives some of the history:

    (read the comment threads as well).


  • Casey

    Tim, thanks for the info. I’m sure this has caused many people many wasted hours.

  • People like me who are in the learning stage and not interested in Windows development, I guess I prefer VC++ for compiling my small programs over Dev C++. However, I can’t seem to get it working at all on Vista. This sucks actually.

    Thanks for the post anyways.

  • Jordy

    Great post! I’ve been struggling to get this to work for hours, now it works like a charm. Thanks!

  • Erik

    Thank you very much, you have spared me a few days of experimenting 🙂

  • Jorge Orozco

    Thanks for your comment about install vs6. But I have another problem now. Im trying to install service pack 5, and I got 2 errors: The first one is a language compatibility issue and the 2nd is: “This service pack requieres MDAC 2.5 or greater, to install MDAC 2.6 is required for SQL 2000 compatibility”
    Ive been trying to install MDAC 2.5, but it seems doesn’t registered right. Some ideas about that?

  • Chris

    Check this link:
    It did help me to solve the MDAC problem.

  • Dong Kim

    How can I install VB 6 only from Visual Studio 6? Anyone let me know please.

  • Tim

    How can I install VB 6 only from Visual Studio 6? Anyone let me know please.

    Can’t you just de-select everything else in the installer?


  • Tim,

    I would bet that Visual Studio 6 will install (and run) fine when UAC is disabled (you can find this setting either in gpedit.msc or in the User Accounts control panel item). I’ve been running Vista without UAC, and it feels a lot better. UAC is a bit annoyingly chatty and just provides a false sense of security anyway. You could download a virus for instance, and since you’re in the habit of clicking ‘allow’ on every dialog that UAC throws at you, you’d just permit the thing anyway. Just as effective as if you were running without it. Disabling UAC is not that bad an idea. It makes Vista less hatable, and makes most incompatible programs run just fine.

    – Steven

  • Vipin

    Dear Sir,
    i m installing Visual Studio 6.0 in Windows Vista then i facing an error that “Incompatible Version of Windows”. Why this error becomes create at installing. This is also Microsoft product as Vista. yet i installed vs 6.0 but when reach on finishing a an error shows that “Visual Studio 6.0” installation was not finished.

  • Tim


    Microsoft does not support VS 6 on Vista, hence the warning.

    As for the other error, did you follow the advice in the post and unselect the object viewer?


  • FSPH

    I successfully installed Visual Basic 6.0 on my Vista Ultimate PC. No success so far with installing VB Service Pack 6.0.

    I tried to right-click downloaded exe file (“Run as Administrator”, I assume that “elevated privileges” go along with the administrator status). I also tried to switch off User Account Control (UAC) when attempting to run exe file. Last but not least, I also tried to mark this exe file “Back compatibility to Windows XP, SP 2”. Nothing works. The dlls are loaded but it stops after a few seconds (the last dll name seen is ComCat.dll). During all this I did not tinker around with VB 6.0 itself, I only tried to click on the Service Pack 6.0 exe file (“vbrun60sp6”).

    Any suggestions how I should proceed?

    Should I try to deselect the OLE/COM object viewer? But, of course, I am reluctant to uninstall a sucessful installation.

  • FSPH

    Hi there,

    small addition to my message above (# 14). I tried to deselect the OLE/COM object viewer, but I didn’t find it under “Custom Setup – Tools – Change Option”. I just found an API Text View and something else ……

    So what do I do now? Do I actually need Service Pack 6……..?

    Thanks for your help.

  • tim


    You may have a different problem to the one I had.

    I don’t think you have the right service pack. That SP is just for the runtime, not the IDE.Try vs6sp6B.exe; or the one for Visual Studio probably works too.

    Generally the way to troubleshoot setup problems is to look at the log.


  • Fr0st

    i have read this cause i was having trouble to but i found that visual basic 6 portable version work like a charm if your just wanting to progame visual basic and not the studio aspect of it just thought i would put that out there cause i spent hours trying to get it to work and all it did was piss me of so hopefully this helps someone out

  • hedgelayer

    This is the correct link to resolve the MDAC 2.5 problem when installing Visual Studio on Windows Vista.

  • Tutorial: How to install Visual Studio 6 With Service Pack 5 on Windows Vista RTM
    – If you use Visual Studio.NET, do not install Visual Studio 2002, 2003, 2005 or 2008 first. If you do, this tutorial will not work. You must install them in this order…
    1. Visual Studio 6.0
    2. Service Pack 5
    3. Visual Studio 2002, 2003, 2005 or 2008
    – Right click on Setup.EXE from the Visual Studio 6 CD (MSVS98) and choose ‘Run As Administrator’ (take note it doesn’t matter if your user is already an administrator you still must ‘Run as Administrator’)
    – You may encounter some strange ‘Yes/No’ questions which you may not know the answers to that have not prompted you during Visual Studio Setup before. I don’t remember what I clicked exactly, but I remember one of them said ‘Do you want to overwrite your ‘blah blah’ settings?’ and I clicked ‘No’.
    – You will need to reboot twice during installation
    – Before running Service pack 5 setup, you must make modifications to the file ‘sp598ent.stf’ here’s how to do that (note some of the spaces have been truncated, try to not remove the extra space in the stf file when modifying it. If you do, this will not work at all, and you’ll get a “Setup Damaged” error)…

    Step 1) Open C:\ServicePack5Dir\sp598ent.stf with ‘Notepad.exe’
    Step 2) Replace the following line

    13 Group 28 36 38 29 30 32 26 27 14 25 16 17 20 18 19 15 39 21 22 24 23 43


    13 Group 28 38 29 30 32 26 27 14 25 16 17 20 18 19 15 39 21 22 24 23 43

    Step 3) Delete the following lines leaving only a carriage return where it was

    36 Depend “27 ? : 37”
    37 IsWin95 CustomAction “sp598ent.dll,CheckForMDAC”

    Step 4) Save and close C:\ServicePack5Dir\sp598ent.stf

    – Once you are done with that, you must run right click ‘setupsp5.exe’ and choose ‘Run as Administrator’ (if you do not run as administrator it will not work)
    – Service Pack 5 Setup should work fine now.
    for more information

  • Louie

    Hi guys, I need your help! I tried to install the Visual Studio version 6.0 to Windows XP (HP Pavilion)many times, since I created several VB projects in the past years. But unfortunately the installations were always fail. Would you mind telling me what will be the correct way to install VB6 and VC++? Thank you in advance! With my best wishes!

  • tim


    Log the install and see what is going wrong.


  • Louie

    Hi Tim, Thank you for your quick response! The error message was “Javasign.dll was unable to register itself in the system registry”. After reinstallation, the message only shows “Visual Studio was not successfully installed”. I tried many times, the results were all the same.

  • tim

    Is that error in the log? Or just a dialog.

    Take a look here, looks relevant:

    Another tip: do you need all of VS 6.0? If not, de-select anything you don’t need.


  • Louie

    Hi Tim, Thanks again! I will try it again, and let you know the result. Louie

  • Louie

    Hi Tim,

    After cleaned up all the installed files as well as the registered files (By using RegEdit), I installed the VB6sp5,then I reinstalled only VB6, but still couldn’t make it. The error message is “AppName: vb6.exe AppVer: ModName: vb6.exe ModVer: Offset: 0015a8ea”. Please kindly let me know how to solve this problem.

    Thanks again!


  • tim


    You are still not telling me whether you are logging the install, and what the log says. This is the best way to troubleshoot installatiion issues. Further, I don’t advise RegEdit unless you know exactly what you are looking for.


  • Louie

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the help! The problem has been solved in my 2 Windows XP machines. After I reinstalled Windows XP, Visual Studio 6.0 has been successfully installed. So Visual Studio 6.0 has no problem for Windows XP. Since I created several VB projects after 2000, I still have to maintian them. Then I moved on to my New Windows Vista machine. I followed your suggestions: deselected the OLE/COM object viewer, so the setup was completed without error. Also, I successfully installed the VB6sp6B. The only error I got so far is: When I run VB6, I got error message which shows :”Automation error accessing the OLE registry”, and I don’t know how to fix this one! Please kindly let me the solution!

    Thanks a lot!


  • tim

    Try this link:;en-us;269383

    There is probably a COM component that is not registered properly. You need to register it with admin rights.


  • Louie

    Hi Tim,

    I checked the link and tried several times, but still got the same error message (I did use the adminstrator’s position to reinstall the VB6). Is there any other good suggestions? Thanks!


  • tim


    I’m giving up. I believe the info in the links I gave should be sufficient. Just as a friendly aside, I suggest that when you ask for help, be very precise about what steps you take and what errors you see, otherwise it is hard for others to help.


  • Louie

    Hi Tim,

    It’s okay! Thanks anyway!


  • I was able to get it to install First time with no issues Using Vista Ultimate with SP1.

    I ran it in Compatability Mode as Windows XP SP2, and Run as administrator

  • Bob Stermon

    I have one problem in running Visual C++ 6.0 on Vista:

    When I bring up a project in the IDE and want to add an ActiveX control to the project (click “Project\Add to Project\Components and Controls”), I get the normal Components and Gallery window with the “Registered ActiveX Controls” directory created (and “Visual C++ Components” directory).

    I can click on the “Registered ActiveX Controls” directory and get a list of the ActiveX controls from this directory.

    I then click on an ActiveX control (for example, one called “ADot Control”), and it fills in the File Name and Path to Control boxes with all the normal information.

    When I click on the “Insert” button, I get the following window that pops up:

    Heading: “Components and Controls Gallery”
    Text: “ADot Control
    No such interface supported”

    instead of the normal window to “Insert this component?”

    I just can not add ActiveX controls to a project.

    Any idea what is causing this?

    I run the Visual C++ IDE as Administrator, and even have the Priviledge Level set to do so as well.

    I can compile and run applications (atleast the ones I have tested), so a lot of the C++ compiler is working.

    I have Vista Home Premium as the OS.

    I do have McAfee Security Suite running, but I have disabled many features in it while running and when installing Visual C++ 6.0.

    Thanks for any help!

  • ultrAslan

    “Deselecting the OLE/COM object viewer” helped me to install vs6 on vista.thanks 😉

  • arwa

    This was very helpful. I have been able to successfully install VC 6 SP5 onto Vista.


  • Matthew

    Very enlighting article. I did not encounter any of the decribed problems (thank You, thank You!). As to the question of someone: “How do I only install VB6?”: just deselected anything you do not want during setup phase (be sure to select progra install option).

    M problem is that anything that I design on a form (textbox, lable and so on) moves very, very slowly when moving around. Selecting all objects on the screen and move them together is almost not possible. I never have seen this running VB6 under XP and itprobably has to do with my video driver, though my HP S3330 with VVsta HP rund perfectly. Any thoughts on this one?

  • Robert Webb

    Thanks Tim. I wanted to find something about Vista support before deciding whether to get Vista when I get a new machine.

    Some other reasons not to upgrade from VC++ 6.0:

    – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I have an old copy of VC++ 6.0, but they charge a small fortune for this thing, so there’s no way I’d upgrade.

    – I believe VC++ 6.0 was the last one to support creation of code that would run on Win95, which I think some of my customers still use.

    – Smaller redistributable DLLs, and they’re on almost all machines already.


  • Kent

    After researching on the internet for help installing VS6 on Vista including writing an email to Microsoft Research Dept your article saved me.

    Now, What is the risk involved in this kind of approach?

    THANKS THANKS THANKS TIM – Keep up the good job

  • Ravi

    Hello All,

    I was able to install Visual studio 6.0 and service pack 6 but on exit from visual basic IDE Vista Ultimate always throws and error message
    that is “Visual basic has stopped working”

    A problem caused the program to stop working correctly, windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.

    and try to find from its solutions but no success.

    Can anyone please help me about?

    Many Thanks,


  • Scott

    I just finished installing Visual Studio 6 on Vista Ultimate SP1 with no problem. I didn’t run in compatibility mode, just ran it as administrator, and I installed all components. I didn’t try to install it first without using “run as administrator,” that may have worked as well. The one other person who said they had no problem also installed it on SP1, do those of you that are having problems have SP1 installed?

  • Scott

    Forgot to mention, SP6 installed perfectly as well.

  • problem was caused by a compatibility issue between this version of Windows Vista SP1 and the version of Visual C++ 6.0

  • Stefano

    Hello everybody,

    After installing Visual Fortran on Windows Vista I am told there is a .dll library missing and I get the necessary instruction to follow. I quote from Compaq Visual Fortran:

    “The Fortran COM Server Wizard Addin is not loaded into Developer Studio. Please load the Addin before running this AppWizard. Select Tools -> Customize -> Add-ins and Macro Files and load the Addin if present in the list. Otherwise use the Browse… button to find the addin (CSAddin.dll). It should be in the …\Common\MSDev98\Addins\DF98 directory”

    Following the steps I get the following message:

    “C:\Program FIles\Microsoft Visual Studio\Common\MSDEV98\ADDINS\DF98\CSADDIN.DD
    Unable to register this add-in because its DllRegisterServer returns an error.”

    And here I stuck. I really hope someone could help me as I need to compile for my final thesis. Thank you very much,


  • Bill the loser

    Got a new computer with Vista SP1. Installed Visual C++ 6. It had a couple of hissy fits saying something about a compatability problem. I tried to build a program (an mfc app to which no code was added) and got the following

    LINK : fatal error LNK1104: cannot open file “Debug/DeleteSoon.exe”
    Error executing link.exe.

    Any ideas what I can do?

  • Cedric

    Thanks very much, it helped me also…

  • Bobby

    Here is the error I received when running a fortran program on compaq visual fortran:

    ——————–Configuration: trial – Win32 Debug——————–
    Compiling Fortran…
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\Common\MSDEV98\My Projects\trial.f90
    LINK : fatal error LNK1104: cannot open file “Debug/trial.exe”
    Error executing link.exe.

    trial.exe – 1 error(s), 0 warning(s)

    how can i link it!

  • Triston

    Microsoft’s mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential. A key part of delivering on our mission is achieving a broad customer connection: understanding customers’ needs and how they use our technology, and providing value through information and support.

    If Microsoft is “never” wrong, why did they cease support for a product so many people are interested in? I think somebody just wanted to use the Visual Studio Tag line with their project and wound up pulling a full tank rush against visual c and visual basic. If Microsoft knows what’s good for ’em they will bring these products back without the .NOT dependencies.

    Why would they want to do that? DUH. COM. LOL com blows .NET out of the waters any day. HAPPY CODING!

  • Carlos

    I’ve just installed vb6 part of vs6 on vista sp1…
    however none of the menu options in vb6, eg. file/save as, etc. etc… work… it hangs out and all I can do is to go to task manager and kill the vb6…
    can anyone help??? any ideas???

  • Salih

    Hi Bobby,
    At first I was also getting the same error. I have set up a new project folder at a location I know other than the never found location “C:\Program Files\ Microsoft Visual Studio\ My Projects” then compiled and executed. It worked fine.

    Why not trying to change the project folder other than the default location?

    Hope it helps…

    Here is the error I received when running a fortran program on compaq visual fortran:

    ——————–Configuration: trial – Win32 Debug——————–
    Compiling Fortran…
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\Common\MSDEV98\My Projects\trial.f90
    LINK : fatal error LNK1104: cannot open file “Debug/trial.exe”
    Error executing link.exe.

    trial.exe – 1 error(s), 0 warning(s)

    how can i link it!

  • andwan0

    Visual Studio/C++ 6.0 rules. Yes, the last version to run on Windows 9x and last version before the .NET stuff.

    Thanks very much man for the advice on installing SP6.

    Btw, how can we get an alternative install of COM/OLE Viewer?