Setup and Deployment for Visual Basic 6.0 Users

The methods for deploying applications and components in Visual Basic 2008 are considerably different than in Visual Basic 6.0.

Conceptual Differences

In Visual Basic 6.0, the Package and Deployment Wizard is used to create Setup programs (.exe files) to distribute and install your application.


Later releases of Visual Studio 6.0 also include the Visual Studio Installer add-in, which can be used to create Windows Installer files (.msi files). Projects created with Visual Studio Installer are not compatible with Visual Basic 2008.

Visual Basic 2008 provides two different strategies for deploying Windows-based applications: publishing an application using ClickOnce technologies, or deploying it by means of traditional Setup using Windows Installer technologies

With ClickOnce deployment, you publish the application to a centralized location (usually a Web server or file share), and the user installs or runs the application from that location. ClickOnce applications can be self-updating—when you publish an update to the application, end users can automatically download the update— ensuring that everyone is using the same version. For more information, see ClickOnce Deployment.

With Windows Installer deployment, you use a Setup and Deployment project to package the application in a Setup.exe file and distribute that file to users, who run the Setup.exe file to install the application. For more information, see Windows Installer Deployment.


Visual Basic Express only supports ClickOnce deployment.

Prerequisites and Dependencies

In Visual Basic 6.0, information regarding file dependencies for an application is stored in dependency (.dep) files; all applications require the Visual Basic runtime file as a prerequisite and many require other prerequisites, such as data libraries. Determining the complete list of dependencies and prerequisites often requires manually editing the Vb6dep.ini file.

In Visual Basic 2008, both ClickOnce deployment and Windows Installer deployment can automatically determine and package all dependencies for your application. Prerequisites such as the .NET Framework runtime library can also be automatically installed with either type of deployment, and you can bootstrap (install along with your application) any other prerequisites. For more information, see Deploying Prerequisites (Visual Studio).

Upgrade Notes

When you upgrade a Visual Basic 6.0 application to Visual Basic 2008, any deployment information is lost. You will need to implement a new deployment using either ClickOnce or Windows Installer.

See Also


Choosing a Deployment Strategy

Other Resources

Deploying Applications and Components