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. Hello Guys / Tim,

    I know it’s been a while since this thread was active but I truly someone’s still out there…

    I just installed Visual Studio 6 (SP5) on a Vista Enterprise machine. Had some problems but I think it’s set up alright.

    The problem is my VC++ 6 application fails when trying to host an ActiveX.
    I was able to compile it ok, though got a warning message from Vista about the rc.exe (“This program has known compatibility issues” ).

    When I debugged it I saw that my class that derives from CAxDialogImpl fails on its Create() method.
    It worked just fine on XP!

    Is there a known compatibility issue there?

    Some tech info:
    I saw that CAxDialogImpl::Create() (I pass NULL here) calls AtlAxCreateDialogA, which in turn calls CreateDialogIndirectParamA which throws an exception.
    (I cannot catch it – it’s not _com_error)

    Thanks a lot,

  2. Visual studio 6.0 C++ does not work effciently on vista and sometimes shows unknown responses…
    the project settings and links varies…..

  3. Dear Mr. Tim Andreson

    Thank you for the wonderful tips about this VB 6 bug.

    It help me a lot!
    Thank you!

  4. To install Visual Studio 6.0 correctly on an operating system such as Vista do the following:

    1. Uninstall any previous Visual Studio 6.0 IDE from your system.

    2. Using a registry editor program make sure to remove all Visual Studio 6.0 key folders.
    Note: Just remove any KEY FOLDERS nothing else.

    NOTE: DO NOT install the Visual Studio 6.0 older editions, such as the 98 editions.
    Install only the 2000 Visual Studio 6.0 version, because this version has
    NT/XP support and will run better on Vista once installed correctly.

    3. Insert the Visual Studio 6.0 CD and when asked do not run the setup, just close it.

    4. Click my computer and open the CD directory.
    5. Navigate to the folder “Visual Studio 2000” or the folder containing the second
    “Setup.exe” file.

    6. Right-Click on the “Setup.exe” file and select properties -> Compatibility TAB.
    7. Select the “Run this program in compatibility mode” Check box and select run as
    Windows 2000. Now select the Check box “Run this program as administrator” and
    click OK button. Now Double click the ICON Setup.exe program.

    8. When a dialog box pops up just click run program.

    9. Follow the instructions to install Visual Studio 6.0, such as CD key and company BLAH!
    10. On the setup option screen click the custom setup radio button.
    11. Select the default program installation directory.

    12. If a dialog box pops up stating “ACMBOOT.EXE” BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! wait for 30 seconds
    to see if you get a message box stating Visual Studio 6.0 BLAH! BLAH! as failed.
    When you get the message box, Click OK button, if not continue to next step.

    13. Click the “Run the program” button on the dialog box.

    14. If you get a message box about Visual Sourcesafe found just click the YES button.

    15. Unselect all applications and components, EXCEPT ‘Microsoft C++, Visual basic,
    ActiveX, Data Access and Tools. You can if you want, select the graphics package as well’
    NOTE: DO NOT modify any of the above selected default components.

    16. Click Continue button and when a dialog box pops up stating Register Environment
    variables click the check box and the OK button.

    17. Let setup run and install Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0.

    18. Do not even bother to install the NT DEBUG symbols they will not work with Vista.

    For those of you who have not installed Visual Studio 6.0 prior to this installation,
    will be asked to install the Java Virtual Runtime, Just select yes and let it reboot
    your machine. Then perform steps 8 – 18.

    Now we are all most done, we need to install the Visual Studio 6.0 service pack 6.

    19. Extract the Vs6sp6.exe CAB file onto your desktop.
    20. You will need the latest Visual Studio 6.0 Redistribute files.
    This “vc++ redist_x86.exe” CAB file can be found by googling it.
    When you do get it Right-Click on it and select properties -> Details TAB
    to see if it says “Product version 6.00.

    21. Now extract the “vc++ redist_x86.exe” 6.0 Redistribute file, onto your desktop.
    22. Head into the “vc++ redist_x86” folder and rename it to “vcredist.exe”.
    23. Now Cut/Copy and paste the file to the “Vs6sp6” service pack 6 folder and when
    asked just overwrite the original.

    24. Now within the “Vs6sp6” folder find the “setupsp6.exe” file and Perform
    steps 6 – 7 to install.

    You now should have a good installation of the Visual Studio 6.0 on Vista 32bit
    operating system.

    If this is your first time running Visual Studio 6.0 on your machine you may get a
    dialog box stating that this program is not compatible with Vista, just click the
    DO NOT remind me check box.

    I performed soooo many different types of Visual Studio 6.0 installations on Vista
    and the above steps were the best choice. I have created tons of examples and programs
    with Visual Studio 6.0 using the above steps and had NO problems what so ever.

    Although I do like Visual Studio 6.0, the truth is I use it to program my C++ applications
    and then I use DEV C++ to create the final release.


  5. I have been using Visual C++ 6.0 on Vista since Vista came out and had no “real” problems until recently. Now fairly often it hangs when trying to save a file. Usually I hit F7 or F5, but I have taking to just hitting Ctrl-S (Save) and it hangs. Any ideas? Could this be because of some new update to Vista/Java?

    I accidentially purchased 64-bit Vista and anytime there is a bug in my program while debugging, Stop Debugging does not stop the process, so after fixing the bug I can’t link because the EXE file is still open. Exiting the devleopment environment and reentering fixes the problem. I can live with this.

  6. ———
    PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!!!!
    —–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!

    Really it works
    when you are creating a new project – just save it not into the default folder,
    but to the location you want for example to ‘My documents’
    And it will work fine))) ………..or I hope so

  7. Dear Sir,

    I am using Compaq Visual Fortran 6.0 under Windows Vista and when I run it trying to create a new file to write my code then I get the message “The application ‘Microsoft (R) Developer Studio’ has stopped working.
    Can you please help me and tell me what to do to make it work?
    sincerely yours,
    Bill Papadakis

  8. @Bill

    I’d be inclined to use a virtual machine running Windows XP if it is problematic.


  9. Dear Tim,
    Thank you very much for your advice.
    I have tried to run it using a virtual machine Windows XP (service pack 3) but I am still having the same problem.
    Do you have anything else to suggest?
    Thank you

  10. @Bill

    Well, if you get the same issue in XP you’ve eliminated Vista as the problem. I don’t know the product so I guess you need to find some assistance from others who do.

    Always check the event viewer – may be some clues there.


  11. In Vista: I ran the installer as administrator, chose Custominstall and checked off OLE Viever under tools. It works.

  12. Bad Mouth, Thanks for the info on how to install it on Vista 32.
    I have Vista 64, is the install the same as Vista 32?

    Thanks, John

  13. To John!
    Yes! It is the same, be sure you select the Compatibility Mode
    as 2000. I installed Visual Studio 6.0 on an Xp 64-bit and the
    install ran the same as in the 32-bit operating system.
    However, like all Window operating systems they are unpredictable
    and depends on a lot of factors like CPU, RAM, Security Settings and so on, therefore you may get some other type of errors not listed in my post.
    If you do, do not give up just try another method, this is how I accomplished installing VS on Vista 32-bit by trial and error.


  14. How do I Uninstall Visual studio 6.0 from my computer. I have windows vista and am also get errors from it during start up. I just want to remove it all together but it won’t let me uninstall. 🙁

  15. We have an error on Vista in our app so wanted to put VB6 IDE on vista to debug the error…. we only have the original VB6 Cd which has only the 98 folders. I found an SP5 cd and it only has the 98 folders too…

    I have my key though…is there any way to get the version with NT support as I get an error trying to isntall this version.

  16. Update on installing Visual Studios 6.0

    You peeps will be glad that on Windows 7 Visual studio 6.0 installation is a breeze.
    I did not have any trouble what so ever (with the exception of the popup box stating it has compatibility issues) installing Visual Studios in Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. Therefore, if you have Vista, get rid of it and install Windows 7, because Windows 7 rocks the house 🙂


  17. Bad Mouth, I have Windows 7 64-bit, and I can’t install Visual Studio 6. I have the same error related to OLE just like in this article. When I try to follow the suggestion to disable OLE object viewer, I can not find it. The Options only has: Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0, Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0, Microsoft Visual InterDev 6.0, ActiveX, Data access, Professional Tools, Grpahics, and Tools. I don’t see any option for OLE as mentioned in the article.

  18. Phil:
    On a 64-bit operating system, you will get errors not normally found in a 32-bit operating system.
    As for my posts let me clarify that most of the installations were done on my 32-bit XP/Vista/ Win7 Ultimate operating systems. Two other installations were done on XPVista 64-bit operating systems and not on Win7 64-bit operating system.

    However, you can safely skip many 32-bit installation problems on a 64-bit operating system by following these steps:

    1). Right-click the setup execution file and select [Properties].

    2). Click on the [Compatibility] TAB and check the box then select a compatibility mode to run the installation e.g. Windows XP service pack 2.

    3). Check the box [Run this program as administrator] and click the [Apply] button.

    4). Run setup.

    If you experience installation troubles with the selected compatibility mode, retry again and choose another until it runs with no or less errors.

    Please note that you are running a 64-bit operating system and applying patches such as service packs on a 64-bit operating system can hinder your 32-bit installation. When I installed Visual Studios 6.0 on a XP/Vista 64-bit operating system, I did not have the service packs installed prior to me installing Visual Studios. It was after I installed Visual Studios that I installed all operating system patches.

    Good Luck!

  19. Update for Phil:
    I do not have that option to turn off OLE on all my installations as well. However, I do have OLE/COM object viewer in the Visual Studios 6.0 and runs correctly on all my installations on the operating systems. Therefore, either you have a bad installation of Visual Studio’s 6.0, or you are installing Visual Studio’s incorrectly, or if you do not have FULL administrator rights, which in turn prevent some ActiveX/DLL/COM components from being correctly registered in your operating system. And when I say FULL administrator rights I mean complete full control, since you can have administrator rights but with some restrictions.

    Other than that, either you may have patches in your operating system that prevents Visual Studio’s 6.0 to be installed correctly or you may have a newer Visual Studio’s installation installed on your operating system, which also hinders the old Visual Studio’s 6.0 installation. When installing Visual Studio’s 6.0 with a newer version, be sure to install the oldest version first, then the new one.

    I do not have anything else to say about Visual Studio 6.0 installation, but if it still does not install right for you then you should think about getting a new installation from a co-worker or friend. This ends my posting for this thread.

    Good Luck ALL!

  20. I got rid of the javasign.dll error when I installed Visual Studio 6 on Vista by de-selecting the “InterDev” box in the customized list of options. Well, of course I first as was outlined here, disabled under Tools, the OLE viewer. After those two changes everything installed OK. The reboot request popped up after the install, the machine rebooted and gave the option to install the MSDN libraries, and the software install completed. SP6 installed without a hitch as well. Fixed!

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