System Upgrade
Microsoft Vista and VB5
Dec 30, 2008

For programmers, Vista is a disaster.

Simply put, older programs (not just compilers) will not work with Vista. This is intentional - Microsoft has purposely crippled Vista so that you will have to buy new software.

Technically - the help will not display (requires downloading Microsoft spyware and another program to fix) and the ActiveX components that come with VB5 can no longer be used (no known fix).

Visual Basic 5

I know - Visual Basic 5 is old. It is probably way past time for an upgrade.

However, a friend has spent many years developing a program that is used every day. Based on previous experience with compilers from many vendors, upgrades never work. There is always something that goes wrong. Usually, it requires several weeks of hard work and significant rewrites. Sometimes, functionality is never recovered (such as when external libraries are not available for the new compiler).

First, VB5 must be run with administrator privileges.

Second, you will need to install a program to read the help files.

The first thing I noticed was that the user interface was slower (about 5 times slower). Let's be specific - a faster machine and more memory, and basic functions are noticeably slower.

ActiveX Objects

ActiveX objects won't work because they are missing a design time license.

That's right - when Visual Basic 5 is installed from the CD, the included VBX components can not be used because they are missing the required license.

I never found a solution to this problem. As a result, the system will have to be reloaded with Windows XP. Basically, Vista will never perform the task the machine was bought for.


My friend's idea was to use the new Vista machine to develop new software (actually, modify an existing program he has spent several years writing). Then, when he travels, he could simply copy a few source files to a laptop and be able to continue development "on the road".

Unfortunately, that only works if the directory structures are the same on both machines ... Vista guarantees that they won't be.

There are now 2 Program file directories

  C:/Program Files
  C:/Program Files (x86)
Visual basic (being an old program) is loaded in the second directory.

As a result, any programs (such as visual basic programs that you have written) will fail because of this.

*.mak files won't work

I know that it is a bad idea to place source files under Program Files, but VB5 automatically saves them there. In addition, the file formlist contains a list of forms and VBX components included in the program. This is an example Notice that the VBX paths are hard coded. These will not work in Vista because different directories are used and because they are registered without the correct license. (That's right - they were installed from the CD ... but can't be used.)

The bottom line is that - VB5 will not run in Vista.

Author: Robert Clemenzi -
URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / Upgrades / Vista_and_VB5.html