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Posted 26 Sep 2002


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VC++7 to VC++6 Project Converter

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4.92/5 (204 votes)
22 Oct 20033 min read
Automatically convert Visual C++ 7.0 projects back to Visual C++ 6.0 projects.
This tool automatically converts VC++7 projects back to VC++6 projects. Without this tool, you end up recreating your projects from scratch, which is a total waste of time, and prone to errors. In this post, you will find a list of scenarios where this tool is useful. You will also find out how to use it, what is converted and technical details.

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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

  • 27th September, 2002 - Code complete
  • 2nd October, 2002 - 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.
  • 30th October, 2002 - 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)
  • 13th November, 2002 - 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

AnswerRe: error compiling under VC++ 7 Pin
cpetig30-Mar-07 5:30
Membercpetig30-Mar-07 5:30 
GeneralFails to convert include paths with environment variables Pin
tomasth17-May-06 1:54
Membertomasth17-May-06 1:54 
GeneralRe: Fails to convert include paths with environment variables Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.17-Aug-06 20:17
MemberStephane Rodriguez.17-Aug-06 20:17 
GeneralIt would be good to have a VC++8 to VC++7 too... Pin
Jun Du26-Apr-06 6:03
MemberJun Du26-Apr-06 6:03 
GeneralRe: It would be good to have a VC++8 to VC++7 too... [modified] Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.17-Aug-06 20:18
MemberStephane Rodriguez.17-Aug-06 20:18 
GeneralRe: It would be good to have a VC++8 to VC++7 too... Pin
pipomolo11-Oct-06 3:09
Memberpipomolo11-Oct-06 3:09 
QuestionSuper. Could it also generate vc7.x nmake file? Pin
l_d_allan21-Apr-06 2:49
Memberl_d_allan21-Apr-06 2:49 
GeneralTerrific. But 'run-together' compiler flags generated. Pin
l_d_allan21-Apr-06 2:44
Memberl_d_allan21-Apr-06 2:44 
Thanks for providing this.

When I converted a vc7.1 project, the release build ended up with:


rather than /O2 /GX

(This might be because I am using Vc7.1 Standard and the cl binaries from the ToolKit2003 C++ compiler.)
GeneralRemarakable Work!!! Pin
vatic1-Feb-06 10:30
Membervatic1-Feb-06 10:30 
Generalexcellent!!! thanks a lot Pin
fabrizio.carraro21-Jan-06 9:45
Memberfabrizio.carraro21-Jan-06 9:45 
GeneralSome error msg in VC++ 6 Pin
jasonliang28-Dec-05 19:49
Memberjasonliang28-Dec-05 19:49 
GeneralRe: Some error msg in VC++ 6 Pin
MrJOeM21-Nov-06 7:25
MemberMrJOeM21-Nov-06 7:25 
GeneralWonderful job Pin
MRAAX23-Dec-05 21:53
MemberMRAAX23-Dec-05 21:53 
Generalhelp ,wont detect the .sln Pin
dirk>uk24-Nov-05 10:52
Memberdirk>uk24-Nov-05 10:52 
QuestionIE SaveAs MHTML Pin
pluplu20021-Nov-05 6:56
Memberpluplu20021-Nov-05 6:56 
GeneralGenerate makefile from VC 6 Pin
Irvin Tan8-Nov-05 22:01
MemberIrvin Tan8-Nov-05 22:01 
GeneralRe: Generate makefile from VC 6 Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.9-Nov-05 5:43
MemberStephane Rodriguez.9-Nov-05 5:43 
GeneralExcellent but fails in one case Pin
Pierre Couderc8-Nov-05 21:19
MemberPierre Couderc8-Nov-05 21:19 
GeneralRe: Excellent but fails in one case Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.9-Nov-05 5:50
MemberStephane Rodriguez.9-Nov-05 5:50 
GeneralRe: Excellent but fails in one case Pin
Pierre Couderc9-Nov-05 19:07
MemberPierre Couderc9-Nov-05 19:07 
GeneralExcelent! Pin
Gavriloaie Andrei23-Oct-05 11:24
MemberGavriloaie Andrei23-Oct-05 11:24 
GeneralGood work! Pin
TedLadewski4-Oct-05 10:09
MemberTedLadewski4-Oct-05 10:09 
GeneralDoesn't work Pin
afil654514-Sep-05 20:10
Memberafil654514-Sep-05 20:10 
GeneralRe: Doesn't work Pin
Stephane Rodriguez.19-Sep-05 2:31
MemberStephane Rodriguez.19-Sep-05 2:31 
GeneralRe: Doesn't work Pin
MrJOeM21-Nov-06 7:27
MemberMrJOeM21-Nov-06 7:27 

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