Getting Visual Basic 6 To Work In Windows 7

Why You Want VB6 To Work In The Windows 7 64 Bit Environment?

If you can't develop with Visual Basic 6 in the 64 bit Windows 7 environment, you probably will not be able to use VB 6 for development in future versions of 64-bit Windows. If you can't develop a 64-bit Windows environment, you will be stuck in the quirky XP Mode environment. There are rumors of a 32-bit Windows 8 environment that might accommodate programs that can't move to the 64 bit environment. Do you really want to use a 32-bit Windows 8 (compatibility) operating system when you can use a state-of-the-art 64-bit Windows 8 operating system for software development?

What Are The 64-bit, 32-bit and 16-bit Problems?

With some modifications, you should be able develop with VB6 in the newer Windows 64-bit operating systems. In general, the problems getting to a 64-bit operating system with VB 6 are 16-bit issues. Basically, Visual Basic 6 is a 32-bit system that can be used to develop 32-bit programs. 32-bit programs run in the Windows 64-bit environment and are rumored to have the capability of working with future Microsoft 64-bit operating systems.

Here are some of the issues that you will face migrating Visual Basic 6 to a Windows 7 64-bit system:

  • Installing VB 6. This is not trivial, but you will see that this can be fairly easily done.

  • Getting your third-party ActiveX components installed and properly licensed. We found this to be a nightmare. A large number of the third-party ActiveX control developers are out of business. Some of these third-party ActiveX developers have merged into other companies that really don't care whether a 1998 component works or not.

If you can't develop with VB 6 in Windows 7, you may be looking at either rewriting the application to work with VB.Net or abandoning the application entirely. Either alternative may prove too expensive to consider.

The Third Party ActiveX Component Nightmare

Your installation CD might not work! This is an easy test to see if you're in trouble. Put the third-party ActiveX component CD into your CD drive. If it works, your problem is probably solved. This is what you do not want to see: Unsupported 16 Bit Application – The program or feature "<probably setup.exe something>" cannot start or run due to incompatibility with 64-bit versions of Windows. Please contact the software vendor to ask if a 64-bit Windows compatible version is available.

Other than your screwed, what does this mean? In plain English, this means that the install routine is a 16 bit application. This is not unusual, since the third-party vendor was distributing both 16-bit and 32-bit controls.

We ran into this problem with VideoSoft vsFlex3, VideoSoft vsOcx6, Videosoft vsFlexGrid7, Sheridan ActiveThreed (threed20.ocx) and Sheridan Data Widgets 3.0. (VideoSoft has been taken over by ComponentOne, but they couldn't or wouldn't support the old versions). We overcame this problem by creating our own install routine for the 32-bit ActiveX controls.  The steps to solve the problem are as follows:

  1. Determine what files need to be installed.  This is not particularly difficult. Once you have saw this part of the problem solved, you are able to use the ActiveX components. Unfortunately, you probably will only be able to create demo versions if you have not included the appropriate license or CD key information.

  2. Enter the license or CD key information into your system. It is our experience that this may be a difficult step.

If you would like to talk to us about preparing a custom install routine for your third-party ActiveX components, please ask for Dave at 1-800-326-6686 or email us at dmkaufmann@DTSdenvertax.com (Remove the "DTS" from the email address. That was added to confuse spammers!)

To provide a custom install routine we would need your license number or CD key.

Installing Visual Basic 6

There are a couple problems to overcome when installing VB 6 on a Windows 7 64-bit system.

  • You do not want the install routine to check for or install MDAC (Microsoft Data Access Components). For the VB6 Service Pack 5 install routine, replace the existing "sp598ent.stf" install file with this version of the file which has references to MDAC removed. Be sure to backup your system before you try this!

  • Create a MSJAVA.DLL (take any small file and rename it as MSJAVA.DLL) copy your new MSJAVA.DLL to the Windows folder. After the VB6 install is done, delete MSJAVA.DLL, since it is not needed.  If you don't delete it, Windows update will try to update it.

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