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what to write applications in if not vb6?

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Tony Hopkinson

occurs is almost anything, but I aren't a big VB6 fan.
Presumably you mean you have VB6 apps running under Vista with 98 as their comptibility mode.

As to where to 'upgrade' to, depends on who you've got to do the work and their skillset. VB6 to VB.NET is a hefty switch, doing it so you can take advantage of .NET functionality could easily end up being a total rewrite anyway.
On the basis that little of your existing code base is going to have any future at all, you aren't constrained by your current (presumably windows based) technology choices except in terms of personel and or cost.

Please beware of VB6 to VB.Net, it was nowhere near as simple as MS would have you believe even for those VB6 developers who were properly educated and didn't fall into the naff design traps VB6 actively encouraged.

C# would be my recomendation, but I dislike Java and still don't like VB.

VS (full version) comes with just about everything and you can get more for it.

If you want to get a feel for your woes you can download VS Express free from MS, you have to pick one language at a time, but it might help you and your people see waht's what and who's who.