Troubleshooting Unsuccessful Project Upgrades

Sometimes the Visual Studio Conversion Wizard cannot fully convert a project from an earlier version of Visual Studio. This topic suggests solutions for typical upgrade problems.

If a specific problem is not addressed in this topic, you may be able to find more information on the Microsoft Help and Support Web site.

The Project Does Not Run Because Files Are Not Found

A project file contains hard-coded file paths that Visual Studio uses to run the project when you press F5. These paths may include the location of devenv.exe and other required files. In an upgraded version of Visual Studio, the paths of these files may have been changed, and the conversion wizard may not have all the changes.

To resolve incorrect file paths

  1. Open your project file in a text editor.

  2. Scan for file paths that may be incorrect, especially those that contain a Visual Studio version number.

  3. Modify incorrect file paths so that they point to the new targets.

The Project Does Not Build Because References Are Not Valid

When you upgrade Visual Studio, you may also be upgrading the .NET Framework version. If your project contains references that are discontinued in the newer .NET Framework version, they may not resolve correctly. This is especially likely for references that include version numbers, for example, Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Interop.8.0.

If your code has many invalid references, the easiest solution may be to use the multi-targeting feature of Visual Studio to target an earlier version of the .NET Framework. You can do this by opening the project properties and selecting the correct Target Framework value, or by modifying the value of the <TargetFrameworkVersion> element directly in the project file.

If you want your project to run in the upgraded .NET Framework version, you must update the references for the project, and also update any Imports or Using statements that call the references. If your project loads in the integrated development environment (IDE), you can update the references by using Solution Explorer; otherwise, you must update the <Reference> elements directly in the project file.


The conversion wizard may give a false result on what should be a valid reference. You can fix this by using the Properties window to change the SpecificVersion property of the reference to true.

See Also


How to: Upgrade Projects Created in Earlier Versions of Visual Studio