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.


89 thoughts on “Visual Studio 6 on Vista”

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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?


  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. @Vipin

    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?


  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. @FSPH

    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.


  10. 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

  11. 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:ServicePack5Dirsp598ent.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:ServicePack5Dirsp598ent.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

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!


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