Project Server 2010 backward compatibility mode (BCM)


Applies to: Project Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2011-08-05

Backward compatibility mode (BCM) is a feature in Project Server 2010 that assists in the upgrade of your Enterprise Project Management environment. Project Server 2010 accepts connections from the Microsoft Project Professional 2010 client, but it can also accept connections from Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) if BCM is enabled in Project Server 2010. BCM is enabled automatically after you upgrade to Project Server 2010. After you upgrade to Project Server 2010 (by either the in-place or database-attach upgrade method), BCM allows you to avoid having to upgrade your Office Project Professional 2007 client computers at the same time. Because Project Server 2010 accepts connections from both Office Project Professional 2007 SP2 and Project Professional 2010 clients when BCM is enabled, you can decide to upgrade your clients later, and in batches (running in a mixed environment), if you want. When you have finished upgrading the clients to Project Professional 2010, you can turn off BCM in Project Server 2010 server settings, which then allows for only Project Professional 2010 connections.


Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003 cannot connect to Project Server 2010, even if BCM is enabled.

For more information about BCM, you can also view the training video TechNet WebCast: Project Server 2010 – Backward Compatibility Mode.

Disabling backward compatibility mode

When BCM is disabled in Project Server 2010, Project Server is running in Native mode. In Native mode, only Project Professional 2010 clients are able to connect to Project Server 2010. However, Project Professional 2010 features that were not available in BCM (such as manually scheduled tasks), become available in Native mode.


Once BCM is disabled, it cannot be re-enabled. Verify that you want to disable BCM if you are going to make the change.


Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003 cannot connect to Project Server 2010, even if BCM is enabled.

To disable Backward Compatibility Mode

  1. On the Project Server 2010 home page, click Server Settings.

  2. On the Server Settings page, in the Operational Policies section, click Additional Settings.

  3. On the Additional Settings page, in the Project 2007 Compatibility Mode section, clear the Enable Project 2007 Compatibility Mode check box.

  4. Click OK.

  5. After making the change, you must check out and open the Enterprise Global file in Microsoft Project Professional 2010. In the Enterprise Global file, make a very minor change (for example, dragging the splitter bar on the screen), save the file, and then check it back in. This is required to upgrade the Enterprise Global file to the newer version of the Microsoft Project Professional client.


The Enterprise Global file must be upgraded to the Project Professional 2010 client after BCM is disabled (step 5 in this procedure). This step ensures that all new projects are in native mode with all Project Professional 2010 features enabled. (All new projects are based on the Enterprise Global file). Neglecting to upgrade the Enterprise Global file with the Microsoft Project Professional client can lead to serious problems. Objects in the file (for example, views, tables, filters) will remain in Office Project 2007 format and they will be expected to be in Project 2010 format when new projects are created.

We recommend that BCM be enabled only as a temporary measure to help in the upgrade process. When Project Server 2010 is configured in backward compatibility mode, Project Professional 2010 clients that connect with Project Server 2010 have certain features that are disabled. These include the following:

  • Manually scheduled tasks are not available on the server or client.

  • Tasks cannot be set to inactive.

  • Font strikethrough is not available.

  • All departmental custom fields are enforced in Office Project Professional 2007.

All new features that are available in Project Professional 2010 (for example, Timeline, Team Planner, 32-bit colors) are available to Project Professional 2010 users, but not to Office Project Professional 2007 SP2 users.

Office Project Professional 2007 SP2 connecting to Project Server 2010 in BCM mode is blocked from providing functionality that requires loading a Microsoft Project Web App page in the client. This includes doing approvals and opening enterprise resources. As a workaround, you can use Project Web App on a Web browser to do these functions until you are ready to upgrade to Project Professional 2010.

Additionally, workflow-controlled custom fields are not available in Office Project Professional 2007 SP2.


Project Web App access to Project Server 2010 requires that you use either Windows Internet Explorer 7 or Windows Internet Explorer 8 as your Web browser. For more information, see Plan browser support (Project Server 2010).

Project Server 2010 prevents you from creating cross-project type links (resource sharing, cross-project dependencies, and master/subproject) on mixed Project file versions. For example, you cannot create a cross-project link from a project that is in Compatibility mode (Office Project 2007 format) with one that is in the Native mode (Project 2010 format). What this means is that after you disable backward compatibility mode, as you open and save projects, they are converted to Native mode. However, projects that have not been opened and saved remain in Compatibility mode. Project Server 2010 does not allow you to create or even connect projects that are in different modes. Therefore, your cross-project links do not fully function until all of the related projects are opened and saved so that they are all in Project 2010 format.

Enabling backward compatibility mode on a new instance of Project Server 2010

By default, in non-upgrade installations of Project Server 2010, the BCM option is not available (the option is not available within the Server Settings page). However, it is possible to use BCM with a new instance of Project Web App by deploying PWA with a set of empty Office Project Server 2007 SP2 or SP3 databases. This would enable the new Project Server 2010 instance to accept connections from both Office Project Professional 2007 with Service Pack 2 (with the BCM client limitations listed above) and Project Professional 2010.

For information about using Office Project Server 2007 empty databases to enable BCM on a new installation of Project Server 2010, see Create a PWA site in backward compatibility mode (Project Server 2010). This article also references the Project Server 2007 empty databases for use with Project Server 2010 Backward Compatibility Mode page in the Microsoft Download Center.