VS2010 to VS2012

Hi Experts:

I have searched on this and am still not certain of what I need to do.

I have VS2010.
I have been asked to learn a complex .sln developed by another developer. I have the source code and opened the .sln; however, one of the projects (a .csproj) is returned with "this project is incompatible with the current version of Visual Studio".

After searching the web, I tried opening the .csproj to check/change the .net settings, but doing so opened the entire .sln (something I suspect with the complexity of the .sln). My version of .net is already 4.5.1 but I understand VS2010 likes 4.0

This has left me with the decision to 'upgrade' to VS2012.
I am old-school (I admit) and I thought I'd be able to buy and upgrade, but from what I understand, to get VS2012 I need to upgrade my MSDN license. Here's my question/problem:

1. How do I determine if I already have purchased an MSDN license w/ my 2010? It is 'Pro' and I've been looking hi and lo for some kind of indication that I do or do-not have a license. I installed it a long time ago and I honestly don't know. When I launch VS2010 and go to 'Help >> MSDN Forums" - it responds ... so at least it doesn't tell me I don't have one ..(?)
2. If I don't have an existing license ... how do I go about getting VS2012? It isn't an upgrade I guess, so much as a side-by-side installation. My searches indicate it'll run me about $500.

So what I need is some best-practices advice on how to get VS2012 (or VS2013). I work for a small business who will cover the costs, but at the same time, I need to be sure I'm charging them the ultimate minimum.

Thank you in advance
k heitzsoftware developerAsked:
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Fernando SotoConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
You should try using Visual Studio Express and see if this will satisfy your needs. The express version does not have the high end bells and whistles in most cases it should do the trick. Oh yes and it's free.
k heitzsoftware developerAuthor Commented:
Hi Fernando -
Thanks for the advice.
I followed the link above but downloaded/installed VS2012 for Web in error.
So I searched for VS Express 2012 for Windows & installed it - and the .sln opens w/o issue.

I have a couple questions

1. When I first launched VS2012 Express I got a registration screen which warned me I have a 30-day evaluation. The download site says it's free and I don't see any indication of an evaluation period (here is a link to where I downloaded the install from: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34673 ).

This could be because I also ran an upgrade - (link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39305) Perhaps that's the product that is eval only.

2. At the end of VS2012 express install, I was warned the product is incompatible w/ my version of Windows (7 w/ SP1). I verified (per the download site) this version is supported - but I clicked [Check for solutions online] but nothing appeared.

The .sln is running fine but I'm concerned in 30 days I won't be able to access VS2012. Do you have any advice?
Thanks again
Fernando SotoRetiredCommented:
To your question 1 that upgrade should have no effect because that does not target the Express version of the Visual Studio Express package. To update you should use the Software Update from the Control Panel of your system.

As far as the registration, try and register I think all that is done is Microsoft will stick a registration key in the registry. If I am wrong and it is to buy it will give you a chance  to cancel.

As far as 2 above I do not know why you are getting this message. A question for you why did you install VS 2012 Express and not VS 2013 Express. The correct version to use there is Express 2013 for Windows Desktop and NOT Express 2013 for Windows which is for Windows Phone and Windows Store apps.
k heitzsoftware developerAuthor Commented:
Hi Fernando.
I've registered and that took care of the evaluation message ~ and the IDE has a screen for searching/applying any updates, so I will use that as needed (else I'll use control panel)
I used VS2012 (vs. 2013) to match the environment of the developer I'm working with on this project.
Thanks for all your help!
Fernando SotoRetiredCommented:
Not a problem klheitz, glad I was able to help.
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