Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Find file History
Latest commit 76f3720 Mar 30, 2014


How to install Visual Studio 6 on Windows 8.1

To install Visual Studio 6 on a computer running Windows 8.1 you need to take several special steps to succeed. Here I describe what I did to install Visual Studio 6 SP6 on Windows 8.1.


  1. Preparation
  2. Install Visual Studio 6
  3. Prevent compatibility check interception
  4. Enable using msdev from the command line
  5. Create a VC6 command prompt
  6. Wrap up
  7. Notes and references

The procedure uses the nice Visual Studio 6.0 Installer by Giorgio Brausi [1][2]. Without using it, the installation didn't finish properly and no uninstall entry was created.

Note: many default actions are omitted from the following description.


  • Download and unzip Visual Studio 6.0 Installer [1][2]
  • Start Visual Studio 6.0 Installer and read its help ?
  • Copy contents of Visual Studio Professional / Enterprise CDs to hard disk under a common folder, for example [3]:
    • .../VS6/EN_VS60SP6
    • .../VS6/MSDN CD1
    • .../VS6/MSDN CD2
    • .../VS6/VSE600ENU1
    • .../VS6/VSE600ENU2
    • .../VS6/VSE600ENU3
  • In the next steps, Visual Studio 6.0 Installer will prepare the folders to perform the installation from.
  • Specify the root folder where to prepare the folders to install from via File > Set Root folder...;
    For me this is D:\Users\Martin\VS6-ROOT
  • Click Step 1: Prepare Visual Studion 6.0 ENT and specify the path to CD #1 of the Visual Studio 6.0 CD you collected above, .../VS6/VSE600ENU1.
  • Click Step 2: Prepare MSDN Library and specify the path to CD #1 of the MSDN Library CD you collected above, .../VS6/MSDN CD1.
  • Click Step 3: Prepare Service Pack 6 and specify the path to the folder (CD)with Service Pack 6 you collected above, .../VS6/EN_VS60SP6.

Further preparation:

  • Create folder C:\Program Files (uac)
    The Visual Studio development environment files will be installed here to prevent the UAC to intervene [4]. That would happen when Visual Studio would be installed to C:\Program Files (x86) [4].
  • Make sure that Microsoft Visual Studio folders from previous Visual Studio 6 installations are removed as well as its registry entries [5].

Install Visual Studio 6

  • Start the Visual Studio 6.0 Installer
  • Note: in section Preparation above we already specified the root folder with prepared installation CDs via File > Set Root folder... (D:\Users\Martin\VS6-ROOT).
  • Select Visual Studio 6.0 Enterprise (or Professional).
  • Click Install Visual Studio 6.0 ENT
    • Choose folder for common files:
      C:\Program Files (uac)\Microsoft Visual Studio\Common
    • Select desired products
      Note: For Windows8.x, from Data Access main option, disable the item: ADO, RDS and OLE DB Providers
    • Restart Windows
    • Deselect Install MSDN, don't install anything further now
    • Deselect Register Now, press Finish
  • Click Install MSDN Library
    • Accept several defaults
    • Press Full button
  • Click Install Service Pack 6
    • Accept several defaults
    • Press Full button

Prevent compatibility check interception

Trying to run MSDEV.EXE now will result in a Microsoft (R) Developer Studio has stopped working dialog. To cure this:

  • Rename MSDEV.EXE to MSDEV8.EXE [5]
    MSDEV.EXE is located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\Common\MSDev98\Bin.

  • On MSDEV8.EXE, change Properties, Compatibility to: Windows 7:

Enable using msdev from the command line

To enable using MSDEV8.EXE under the original name from the command line I created program msdev.cpp.

#include <process.h>

const char* path = "C:\\Program Files (uac)\\Microsoft Visual Studio\\Common\\MSDev98\\Bin\\MSDEV8.EXE";

int main( int argc, char * argv[] )
    return spawnvp( P_WAIT, path, argv );

// cl -nologo -EHsc msdev.cpp

Compile this program with VC6 or higher and copy it to folder C:\Program Files (uac)\Microsoft Visual Studio\Common\MSDev98\Bin.

Create a VC6 command prompt

To enable opening a command prompt for Visual C++ 6, we create a new shortcut.

  • On the desktop, context menu, select New > Shortcut.
  • Location of item: %comspec% /k "C:\Program Files (uac)\Microsoft Visual Studio\VC98\Bin\VCVARS32.bat"
  • Name for this shortcut: VC6 Command Prompt
  • Press Finish

Now move this shortcut to the start menu folder Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0:

  • C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0

As an example, start VC6 command prompt and issue msdev /?:

Setting environment for using Microsoft Visual C++ tools.
prompt>msdev /?
  MSDEV [myprj.dsp|mywksp.dsw]  - load project/workspace
        [<filename>]            - load source file
        /?                      - display usage information
        /EX <macroname>         - execute a VBScript macro
        /OUT <filename>         - redirect command line output to a file
        /USEENV                 - ignore tools.options.directories settings
        /MAKE [<target>] [...]  - build specified target(s)
              [<project> - <platform> <configname>]
              [[<project>|ALL] - [DEBUG|RELEASE|ALL]]
              /CLEAN            - delete intermediate files but don't build
              /REBUILD          - clean and build
              /NORECURSE        - don't build dependent projects


Wrap up

If you want to do the installation all over again and need to remove (part of) the Visual Studio installation by hand, reference [6] may be helpful to see which registry items may need removal.

I also installed WinHlp for Windows 8.1, however you may not need it at all [7].

Notes and references

[1] Giorgio Brausi. Visual Studio 6.0 Installer.

[2] Giorgio Brausi. Visual Studio 6.0 Installer v.2.1 Last update january 18, 2014 . YouTube.

[3] Microsoft. Visual Studio SP6.

[4] Wikipedia. User Account Control (UAC).

[5] Microsoft Community. UAC and one program used very regulary. gbswales, 12/4/2011.

[6] Microsoft. How To Manually Uninstall Visual Studio with MSDN Library

[7] Microsoft. Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) for Windows 8.1