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Installation of the VB6 Integrated Development Environment (IDE)


Precursor:  You absolutely must be logged into your computer as a local administrator for this installation to proceed correctly.  If you are also on a domain or workstation network, it is not necessary to be a network administrator.


Precursor:  If you’ve previously attempted to install the VB6 IDE on your computer, it is strongly advisable that you attempt to uninstall all of it before starting these steps.  Furthermore, you may need to run a registry cleaner program to get all of the partially installed components out of your registry.


This particular installation was of VB6 Professional and was performed in a Windows 7 32-bit operating system.  My primary development computer is a Windows 7 64-bit computer and the VB6 IDE runs perfectly.  Also, I have installed it on a Windows 10 6-bit computer and it runs fine there as well.  However, please read these steps carefully, as there are a couple of “got-cha’s” in them.



Step 1: Execute the primary Setup.exe program found in the root of the first CD.  Also, it works fine if you’ve copied the entire contents of the CD into a folder on your computer.


Step 2: The “Compatibility Assistant” screen may come up.  Click the “Run program” option.  Anytime this screen comes up, always click “Run program”.


Step 3: The “Installation Wizard” screen for “Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Edition” comes up.  Click the “Next >” option.


Step 4: Accept the license, and click “Next >”.


Step 5: Enter the xxx-xxxxxxx product ID, a name, and a company name, and click “Next >”.


Step 6: Leave “Custom – Server Setup Options to default, and click “Next >”.


Step 7: Let it install in default location and click “Next >”.


Step 8: Another “Compatibility Assistant” screen come may up.  Click the “Run program” option.


Step 9: It will start to run the setup and then come up to another setup screen.  Click “Continue”.


Step 10: It may come up with a warning that it has already been installed.  Click “OK” to continue.


Step 11: It will show you a long Product ID number.  You don’t need this.  Click “OK”.


Step 12: It will work for a bit and then come up with a Typical/Custom options screen.  Click “Custom”, then click “Select All”, then click “Continue”.


Step 13: At this point, it will begin the installation, taking a few minutes.  After it completes, it will ask you to “Restart Windows”.  Do this.  Be sure to save any work from other programs before doing this.


Step 14: After your computer reboots, it will pick up the VB6 installation where it left off.  It may also complain about compatibility issues with the “Compatibility Assistant” again.  Always just click “Run program” when this screen comes up.


Step 15: At this point, the initial installation should be complete.  It will ask you if you wish to install the MSDN.  It is not necessary to do this.  This is the Microsoft F1 Help system for VB6 development.  It is not necessary for writing (or viewing) VB6 source code, and it can also be installed later.  For now, we will un-check the “Install MSDN” checkbox and then click “Next >”.  And then confirm with “Yes”.


Step 16: We will also not need the “BackOffice” feature.  So, we will just click “Next >” on the next screen.


Step 17: It is your option as to whether you wish to register your copy of the VB6.  For this installation, I unchecked the “Register Now” checkbox, and clicked “Finish”.


Step 18: Through the years, there have been six Service Pack updates to VB6.  The latest Service Pack has all the previous ones rolled into it, so an installation of the latest one is all that is necessary.  This comes in two forms, one strictly for Visual Basic, and another for Visual Studio.  It doesn’t really matter which one you use.  I will be using the one for Visual Studio.  It is named Vs6sp6B.exe.  Therefore, the next step is to execute this Service Pack.  You can click here and get a copy of this.


Step 19: The Vs6sp6B.exe asks where you wish to extract the files.  I typically create a temporary “New Folder” on my desktop and then use the “Browse…” button in the first Service Pack’s screen to direct it there.  Then, you will click, “OK”.


Step 20: Go into the temp folder where the service pack was extracted and execute the SetupSP6.exe program within this folder.


Step 21: Click “Continue” on the screen that comes up.


Step 22: Click “I Agree” on the License screen.


Step 23: At this point, it will install the Service Pack, eventually coming to a screen telling you that it was successful.  Click “OK”.


Step 24: You will be returned to Windows.  You can now delete your temp folder where you extracted the Service Pack files.  It is no longer needed.


Step 25: There is a problem with a Microsoft file named mscomctl.ocx.  Microsoft has a Knowledge Base fix for it located at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/896559.  Just go to the page, go to the download page on that page, download the fix and install it.  I have also placed a copy of the fix on this database website if you would rather download it from there.  It can be downloaded by clicking this link.  Be sure this “fix” is installed before you attempt to open the PatientsAndServices.vbp source code project file.  Also, don’t neglect to check out step 38.  This mscomctl.ocx problem can be particularly nettlesome on some computers.


Note: The remainder of these steps are somewhat optional.  They outline the way that I like to set up the VB6 IDE.  You may have different ideas about this.  However, a few of these steps do enhance the performance and development of the Patients and Services project.


Step 26: Upon clicking your Windows “Start” button, and then “All Programs”, you should see a new “Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0” entry.  Open it, and click the “Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0” shortcut.  This should open the VB6 IDE.


Step 27: Click “Standard EXE” on the “New” tab for a new project, and then click “Open”.


Step 28: Get into setup by clicking “Tools/Options” on the menu system.


Step 29: On Options, go to the “Advanced” tab.  Uncheck “Background Project Load”; Uncheck “Notify when changing shared project items”; Check SDI Development Environment; and then click “OK” to set these settings, and “OK” to the notice.


Step 30: Close the VB6 IDE.  The easiest way is to click the top-right red X to close the program.


Step 31: Re-open the VB6 IDE, again from the Start button, and open your Standard EXE.


Step 32: Go back into Tools/Options.  This time, there will be no need to close and re-open.  The following are several settings I change.  Things not mentioned are not changed:

     Editor tab:

          Uncheck “Auto Syntax Check”

          Check “Require Variable Declaration”

          Uncheck “Drag-and-Drop Text Editing”

     Editor Format tab:

          Font: Fixedsys (this is important for reasonable looking source code)

          (Font) Size: 9 (the only one available for Fixedsys)

          Normal Text: Foreground: Yellow; Background: Black

          Selection Text: Foreground: Yellow; Background: Dark red

          Syntax Error Text: Foreground: Red; Background: Black

          Comment Text: Foreground: Bright green; Background: Black

          Keyword Text: Foreground: Magenta; Background: Black

          Identifier Text: Foreground: Cyan; Background: Black

     General tab:

          Uncheck “Compile On Demand” (this one is important)

          I set my “Grid Units”, both Width and Height to 60, but this is your choice.

     Docking tab:

          I uncheck all of them, but this is your choice.


Step 33: Close the VB6 IDE.


Step 34: You are now ready to attempt to open the source code to the Patients and Services program.  To do this, you will need to have a copy of the source code, and then locate the PatientsAndServices.vbp file.  The vbp extension stands for Visual Basic Project.  After the VB6 IDE is installed, you can double-click these, and they will open in th VB6 IDE.


Step 35: The first time you open the PatientsAndServices.vbp project, it may complain with some strange errors.  This is just the VB6 IDE still setting itself up for a complex project.  Just click “OK” and keep loading to each of these.  There may be many of them.  Just hold down your “Enter” key and let it repeat to get through them. 


Step 36: Close the VB6 IDE, and click “No” to “Save changes to the following files”.  Don’t save the PatientsAndServices.vbp project unless you had a clean load of it or it will save with certain things deleted from where they didn’t correctly load.


Step 37: Again, double-click your PatientsAndServices.vbp file and it should open cleanly this time, and from now on.  If this is not the case, please let me know precisely what errors you are having and I will attempt to explore additional remedies for any of these problems.


Step 38: It has come to my attention that there are two separate version of a Windows file named mscomctl.ocx.  Any problems with it may be corrected by step 25, but not necessarily.  It depends somewhat on what other software you have installed on your computer.  If you continue having problems loading the PatientsAndServices.vbp project, try this:  Open the PatientsAndServices.vbp file in notepad.  Find the following line:

        Object={831FDD16-0C5C-11D2-A9FC-0000F8754DA1}#2.0#0; mscomctl.ocx

And change it to:

        Object={831FDD16-0C5C-11D2-A9FC-0000F8754DA1}#2.1#0; mscomctl.ocx

Hopefully, this will fix the problem if none of the other steps do.  If you continue having problems, let me know and I will try and help.


Note:  Another “feature” of the VB6 IDE is that, when compiling the program (i.e., making a new exe program) from within the IDE, it will resize all your forms such that they fit on the monitor on the computer you’re currently using.  Some of the forms in the PatientsAndServices project are somewhat large, and don’t entirely fit on many laptop computers.  A way around this problem is to locate the PatientsAndServices.vbp in Windows, right-click it, and click “Make”.  Done this way, none of the forms will get resized from how they were last saved in the VB6 IDE (even if it was on a different computer). 


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