Monday, February 13, 2012

6 on 8? Will VB6 be supported on Windows 8? Yep (mostly)!

MSDN Magazine - Visual Basic 6: Old Soldiers Never Die…

"General Douglas MacArthur famously said during his 1951 farewell address to the U.S. Congress that “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” A half century later, MacArthur’s statement could just as easily apply to programming languages. Specifically, Visual Basic.

Microsoft last month announced that it was extending “It Just Works” compatibility for Visual Basic 6 applications for the full lifetime of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and (most importantly) Windows 8. As described on the Visual Basic 6.0 Resource Center, “the core Visual Basic 6.0 runtime will be supported for the full lifetime” of these operating systems. The commitment comprises five years of mainstream support followed by five years of extended support.

Karl Peterson is a VB6 programmer and formerly a longtime columnist at Visual Studio Magazine and Visual Basic Programming Journal (where he wrote the popular VB Corner column, among others, until 2010). Peterson notes that this announcement officially puts the lifetime of the VB6 runtime past his projected retirement. And that fact may have implications for enterprises sitting on large amounts of working VB6 code, which Peterson calls “the COBOL of the 2020s.”


Visual Basic 6.0 - Support Statement for Visual Basic 6.0 on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows 8

Executive Summary

The Visual Basic team is committed to “It Just Works” compatibility for Visual Basic 6.0 applications on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 including R2, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
The Visual Basic team’s goal is that Visual Basic 6.0 applications that run on Windows XP will also run on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows 8. As detailed in this document, the core Visual Basic 6.0 runtime will be supported for the full lifetime of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows 8, which is five years of mainstream support followed by five years of extended support (

Technical Summary

Visual Basic 6.0 is made up of these key deliverables:

Visual Basic 6.0 IDE [Integrated Development Environment]

Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime -- the base libraries and execution engine used to run VB 6.0 applications

Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime Extended Files – select ActiveX control OCX files, libraries, and tools shipping with the IDE media and as an online release

The Visual Basic 6.0 IDE

The Visual Basic 6.0 IDE is no longer supported as of April 8, 2008. However, Custom Support Agreements may be available from Microsoft. Additionally, both the Windows and Visual Basic teams have tested Visual Basic 6.0 IDE on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 8 to understand and mitigate (if appropriate) serious regressions in application compatibility. This announcement does not change the support policy for the IDE.


Windows 8

Since the initial release of this support statement, the Windows 8 operating system has been announced. This document has been updated to clarify Microsoft’s support for VB6 on Windows 8.

VB6 runtime will ship and will be supported in Windows 8 for the lifetime of the OS. Visual Basic 6.0 runtime files continue to be 32-bit only and all components must be hosted in 32-bit application processes. Developers can think of the support story for Windows 8 being the same as it is for Windows 7.




I don't know wither to laugh or cry... (note, I [sigh] still code some in VB6 at work...). Looking on the bright side, it's great seeing this kind of long term support for a programming language and runtime. That is indeed pretty awesome...


windows server said...

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trogan said...

The infinitely unfortunate and staggeringly incomprehensible end of Visual Basic with VB6 will resonate down the ages. It was the world's most popular programming language at the time and noone who was involved with it will ever trust Microsoft again. I have recently uninstalled SQL Server (actually I couldn't, it won't) and this completes my transition from a one time Microsoft fan to an open source afficiendo. All of a sudden I am enjoying software development again.

Anonymous said...

Funny how even the "NO"'s are actually yes also. I use the VB6 IDE on Windows 7 64 bit everday.

I just don't get the bad reputation VB6 has, especially among other programmers, how they look down on VB6 programmers as if they are somehow below them.

I started my own business on the back of VB6 (and still use only VB6), run it by myself and do more business and put out better software than some of my competitors using other languages with over 10 employees. BTW I never went to college, was never professionally trained in programming and make over 500k a year... LOOK DOWN ON THAT!

Also if Windows ever stops supporting VB6 apps I will change to another language but it would never be another Microsoft language and I would probably switch to Linux along with my 1000+ customers.

Dan Sutton said...

On Windows 7, if I want to install Visual Studio 6, then first I have to go to the CD, find all the installer executables and set compatibility on them to Windows NT or something like that, otherwise the installer doesn't work. I suspect the same will be true with Windows 8. However, compiled VB6 programs seem to work fine.

-- Disclaimer: when I do this, it's always against my will... but, as has already been pointed out on this thread, some software is still written in VB6, and it is my unfortunate lot as a contract programmer to encounter it from time to time...

RobC said...

Thank you very much for the article.
Long live VB6

I have a small VB6 program that has no dependencies. (a special calculator)
Someone has pleaded with me to write it for smart phones, but I am too old to be going through those (learning) hoops.
If he was to purchase a Windows 8 tablet, would my VB6 program run on that ?

Greg Duncan said...

It will on a Surface Pro tablet. But not on a Surface RT.

The VB6 app has to run on the Windows 8 Desktop. The Windows 8 Desktop is only available to normal mortals on x86/x64 Windows 8. So no VB6 on ARM/Surface RT....

RobC said...

Thanks for quick response Greg.
I was totally ignoring Win 8 up till today, as I thought I had no use for it.
Your Blog got me thinking, of that possibility (running my program on a Tablet).
You have now given me valuable info, to further my research on the matter.

Il Marcante said...

Thanks for your report. I just translated your article in Italian language, as you may see at this URL, ( and I credited you as source.

Sten said...

VB6 has now risen to sixth place in the Tiobe index of programming language popularity (April 2014)

And the vote to bring back an updated version of VB6 is now the fifth highest on the Microsoft VisualStudio UserVoice site.

Sten said...

The next question is "Will Windows 9 support the VB6 programming language ?"

Sten said...

The VB6 programming language is fine on the Windows 10 technical preview.
The VB6 runtime is included and the VB6 IDE installs and runs.

And with Microsoft support for VB6 programming until at least 2024 VB6 lives !

Sten said...

Microsoft have just stated that for VB6 programming in Windows 10 "And yes, everyone’s favorite VB6 Runtime will continue to work"