1. Is this Tomcat installed as a service or an application? 2. How are you trying to start Tomcat? 3. Exactly what happens when you try to start Tomcat?
1. an app 2. using startup.bat 3. it goes to start up in the dos window then ends without starting
I may say I've copied EXACTLY the folder containing tomcat and the same jdk onto a windows xp machine and it works perfectly - and there is nothing in the logs to indicate a problem - I've used XP quite a few years without problem - but I don't know how to troubleshoot - I also tried switching the firewall off but that didn't help.
Could you post the logs? Even if you don't see anything helpful we might.
"socket error message"...would make me instinctively thinking that something is already bound to the port tomcat is trying to use. Do you have a web server on the Vista box? Maybe skype? You can find out what ports are being used with the "netstat -a" at the command prompt. (I am assuming it works the same on Vista)
"This is not to say that design is unnecessary. But after a certain point, design is just speculation." --Philip Chu
OK, the first thing to do is to capture the messages that vanish before you can read them. In your startup.bat change the last executable line to use "run" instead of "start". Execute startup.bat from an open Command prompt window, NOT by clicking on it.
This will cause catalina.bat to run in the open command prompt window and you can see the error messages you are missing currently.