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. Louie

    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.


  2. 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!


  3. 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!


  4. Louie,

    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.


  5. 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

  6. 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 “ProjectAdd to ProjectComponents 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!

  7. 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?

  8. 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.


  9. 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

  10. 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,


  11. 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?

  12. 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 …CommonMSDev98AddinsDF98 directory”

    Following the steps I get the following message:

    “C:Program FIlesMicrosoft Visual StudioCommonMSDEV98ADDINSDF98CSADDIN.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,


  13. 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?

  14. Help!!!
    Here is the error I received when running a fortran program on compaq visual fortran:

    ——————–Configuration: trial – Win32 Debug——————–
    Compiling Fortran…
    C:Program FilesMicrosoft Visual StudioCommonMSDEV98My Projectstrial.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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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???

  17. 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 FilesMicrosoft Visual StudioCommonMSDEV98My Projectstrial.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!

  18. 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?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *