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VC++7 to VC++6 project converter

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4.92 (204 votes)
22 Oct 2003
This tool automatically converts Visual C++ 7.0 projects back to Visual C++ 6.0 projects.

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What is this ?

This tool automatically converts Visual C++ 7.0 projects back to Visual C++ 6.0 projects. In other words, .sln/.vcproj file pairs are translated to .dsw/.dsp file pairs.

Important note, there is no loss during the conversion: source code is left unchanged; only .dsw/.dsp are created (or overwritten).


First of all because MS doesn't provide it. It's easy to become cynical against MS when you feel how bad it is to sell developer tools without all the necessary "moulinettes" (converters in ugly English) to go backward.

Without this tool, you end up recreating your projects from scratch: a total waste of time, and prone to errors. Actually there are several scenarios where this tool is useful:

  • Someone gives you a VC++ 7 project, and you only have VC++ 6 installed.
  • You have upgraded your project(s) from VC++ 6 to VC++ 7, and you have both .dsw/.dsp and .sln/.vcproj files on your local system drive, but you are willing to keep those files synchronized so any time you need to open the project, you need not bother the VC++ version you work with.
  • Provide both versions of projects (for instance when you share code on CodeProject), so your audience does not need to bother with knowing which devtool is required.

How to use it

The tool is a command line of the form:

prjconverter <solutionname (full filepath)>[.sln]

For instance,

prjconverter c:\tmp\betterxml\betterxml.sln

For info, type prjconverter.exe alone in the console.

What is converted

A few steps to let you know how the work gets done. The .sln solution file is opened and translated to the .dsw file format, along with all project declarations, dependencies, and source control tags.

Then all .vcproj project files are translated to .dsp files. I use MSXML to parse the .vcproj file format, and build the meta-model out of it. Then what's left to do is serialize all those XML thingies into the standard .dsp symbol lines.

Of course we care about project configurations (debug, release, ...), and custom file configuration settings.

Technical details

In the code provided, slnprocess.cpp does the .sln =>.dsw conversion. vcprojprocess.cpp does the .vcproj => .dsp conversion. And vcprojconfiguration.cpp holds the project meta-model (all project setting tabs). In VC++ 7, the meta-model is now programmable. Let's check out this link. In fact, vcprojconfiguration.cpp reflects exactly this meta-model (as if it was internal MS code).


This tool has been extensively tested before being published (MFC/COM/ATL/console apps, makefiles, ...). Though I am willing to know if there is anything I can do in order to improve it, let me clearly say that it's not my fault if your project is corrupted by this tool.

Update history

  • Sept 27 - code complete
  • Oct 2 - now it is possible to convert .vcproj files alone (no need of a root .sln file): just type the .vcproj full path in the command line.
  • Oct 30 - improvements based on user feedback: added missing default link libraries, expanded certain macro variables such like $(OutDir) and $(IntDir), replaced or removed certain macro variables not supported by VC6 such like $(NoInherit), added /GX (exception handling enabled).
  • Nov 13 - bug fixes: filenames with spaces, MFC extension DLL support, custom precompiled header setting, project setting inheritance.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Addicted to reverse engineering. At work, I am developing business intelligence software in a team of smart people (independent software vendor).

Need a fast Excel generation component? Try xlsgen.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: Visual .Net2003 Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.12-Aug-03 5:01
memberStephane Rodriguez.12-Aug-03 5:01 
GeneralRe: Visual .Net2003 Pin
FabriceExp12-Aug-03 23:59
memberFabriceExp12-Aug-03 23:59 
GeneralRe: Visual .Net2003 Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.13-Aug-03 1:16
memberStephane Rodriguez.13-Aug-03 1:16 
GeneralGDI Plus alternative in VC 6 Pin
Rizi28-Jul-03 21:55
memberRizi28-Jul-03 21:55 
GeneralRe: GDI Plus alternative in VC 6 Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.28-Jul-03 22:03
memberStephane Rodriguez.28-Jul-03 22:03 
GeneralFree C#, VB.NET, and VC++ solutions/project converter Pin
Stoyan Damov25-Jul-03 22:17
memberStoyan Damov25-Jul-03 22:17 
GeneralGreat but missed RTTI Pin
TomM25-Jun-03 14:36
memberTomM25-Jun-03 14:36 
GeneralRe: Great but missed RTTI Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.26-Jun-03 4:18
memberStephane Rodriguez.26-Jun-03 4:18 
GeneralRe: Great but missed RTTI Pin
TomM26-Jun-03 4:28
memberTomM26-Jun-03 4:28 
GeneralC#.NET 1.1 to 1.0 Pin
Kant25-Jun-03 3:45
memberKant25-Jun-03 3:45 
GeneralRe: C#.NET 1.1 to 1.0 Pin
Derek Lakin25-Jun-03 3:52
memberDerek Lakin25-Jun-03 3:52 
GeneralRe: C#.NET 1.1 to 1.0 Pin
Kant25-Jun-03 3:58
memberKant25-Jun-03 3:58 
GeneralRe: C#.NET 1.1 to 1.0 Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.25-Jun-03 4:41
memberStephane Rodriguez.25-Jun-03 4:41 
GeneralConsole app Pin
bartlomiej19-Jun-03 1:03
memberbartlomiej19-Jun-03 1:03 
GeneralRe: Console app Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.19-Jun-03 1:12
memberStephane Rodriguez.19-Jun-03 1:12 
GeneralConsole app Pin
bartlomiej19-Jun-03 1:03
memberbartlomiej19-Jun-03 1:03 
GeneralI'm trying to convert this project -> Pin
karlzzzz4-May-03 7:27
memberkarlzzzz4-May-03 7:27 
GeneralRe: I'm trying to convert this project -> Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.4-May-03 8:22
memberStephane Rodriguez.4-May-03 8:22 
GeneralRe: I'm trying to convert this project -> Pin
karlzzzz6-May-03 8:31
memberkarlzzzz6-May-03 8:31 
Generalhelp me please Pin
bindmania27-Apr-03 20:50
memberbindmania27-Apr-03 20:50 
GeneralRe: help me please Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.27-Apr-03 21:37
memberStephane Rodriguez.27-Apr-03 21:37 
Questionwhat's wrong? Pin
johnosomeonetook,4-Apr-03 6:52
memberjohnosomeonetook,4-Apr-03 6:52 
AnswerRe: what's wrong? Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.4-Apr-03 7:05
memberStephane Rodriguez.4-Apr-03 7:05 
Questionwhy? Pin
babiq2-Apr-03 15:47
memberbabiq2-Apr-03 15:47 
AnswerRe: why? Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.2-Apr-03 18:53
memberStephane Rodriguez.2-Apr-03 18:53 

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Posted 26 Sep 2002


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