The c# project is targeting “.NET Framework,Version=v4.0”, which is not installed on this machine.

Since I needed some space on my hard disk to install some software I went through the list of installed software and saw that Visual Studio 2010 was installed but I actually only use Visual Studio 2012 (or Visual Studio 2005 for some very old stuff which hasn’t been ported yet). So I thought it makes sense to uninstall Visual Studio 2010. And ended up wasting alot of time…

After uninstalling VS 2010, I started getting the following message in VS2012 whenever I opened a project targeted at the .NET framework v4.0:

The C# project xxx is targeting ‘.NETFramework,Version=v4.0″, which is not installed on this machine. to proceed, you must select an option below.

1.Change the target to .NET Framework 4.5…..

2.Download the targeting pack for “.NET Framework, Version = v4.0″…

3.Do not load the project

When you choose option 2 you are redirected to a web page where you actually cannot download the v4.0 .NET framework. Checking in the registry, I saw that the .NET framework was gone. I also found the installation package for the .NET framework v4.0. Unfortunately, it refuses to install since the v4.5 framework is already installed.

So my next great idea was to uninstall the v4.5 framework. Then I could install the v4.0 version. Of course, after that VS 2012 wouldn’t start anymore. So I installed the v4.5 framework again. During the installation, it told me that it’s an in-place update for the v4.0 framework. I immediately thought that it might cause trouble but didn’t have a choice anyway. After installing the v4.5 framework VS2012 worked again but as expected, I still got the same error message when opening projects targeting the v4.0 framework.

Running out of other options, I finally reinstalled VS2010. It took forever but in the end I was able to open all projects in VS2012.

So this is kind of a waste of space but if you cannot have your project target the v4.5 framework but need to target the v4.0 framework, you will need to have VS2010 installed additionally to VS2012 (even though you actually do not need VS2010).

If anybody has found a solution not requiring VS2010 to stay installed, please leave a comment. My hard disk space is running low and I’d love to be able to get rid of VS2010.

2 thoughts on “The c# project is targeting “.NET Framework,Version=v4.0”, which is not installed on this machine.

  1. Although this is a long time ago issue, probably this answer could help others arriving at this page.

    It seems visual studio uses the frameworks defined inside this folder:

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\Framework\.NETFramework

    If you can manage to copy the v4.0 folder from another computer then there is no need to install VS2010.

    Note that in my case, after uninstalling VS2010, the folder Assemblies\Microsoft\Framework\.NETFramework\v4.0, did exist but it didn’t contain all files required.

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