Visual Studio 2008 to 2005 downgrade utility

Published Thu, Feb 28 2008 3:46 PM | David V
Visual Studio 2008 allows you to target .Net Framework 2.0, so you don't have to migrate the solutions you developed in Visual Studio 2005 to a new framework version.  The only problem is that it upgrades the solution and project files, making your solutions incompatible with Visual Studio 2005, which is a problem if you work on a team with Visual Studio 2005 users.

This utility allows you to downgrade your 2008 C# solutions and projects to 2005. 

  • If you point it to a solution file, it will locate and downgrade the projects in that solution.
  • Changing a few lines in the code will switch it to VB.Net projects. 
  • It only changes version numbers and build targets, so it will keep 2008 metadata, allowing the project to open in both versions. 
  • I only wrote enough code to allow my solutions to compile in 2005, so no guarantee that it will work in all cases.
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# Dave Hearn said on April 7, 2008 4:55 AM:

When I tried this, it complained that it couldn't find the referenced project file path.  The issue was that the .sln file uses relative paths, and unless the downgrade app is run from where the .sln file is, it doesn't find the correct path.

My solution was to add the following line into btnSelectProjectFile_Click(), just after the creation of info, the FileInfo object:


Once that was done, it worked perfectly - thanks.

# graye said on April 18, 2008 6:15 PM:

I've got a ProjectConveter utility that will convert solution files between VS2005 and VS2008:

# THANKS! said on April 20, 2008 2:15 PM:


# Loya said on September 29, 2008 2:40 PM:

one more thanks from here too :)

I succesfully downgraded and everything is good.

The only thing is the wdproj file was not found (I guess it's because I don't have one..) So, I just simply deleted that wdproj file from my solution.

# Yariv said on March 7, 2009 5:52 AM:

The link is broken. The correct url is:

# Z.Moore said on March 12, 2009 11:49 AM:

The URL needs to be updated from .COM to .ORG:

# Nadeem said on April 7, 2009 10:02 AM:

My employer insists on using vs2005 so this tool is useful for converting solutions back to that archaic platform.

Thanks for making life a tiny bit easier.

# Tam said on April 7, 2009 3:03 PM:

This worked great. Awesome work. Thank you for efforts!

# felipe said on April 12, 2009 5:01 PM:

y que se supone que hago con lo que descargue para poder ver projectos guardados en 2008 en mi equipo que tiene 2005.

# felipe colombia said on April 12, 2009 5:02 PM:

amigo... quiciera saber como hiciste para colocar un textbox en el cual se carguen comentarios.

siempre he querido colocar algo asi en mi website pero no se como. graciass

# Nicolas said on April 30, 2009 8:42 AM:

link not work! Is anybody can send this program to my email ? Thanks

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# uberVU - social comments said on February 15, 2010 12:35 AM:

This post was mentioned on Twitter by maycil: downgradig vs2008 to vs2005

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