Rob190, I think you misunderstood me
Please take a look on reference properties in the screenshot below, it's all set to false:
Most important, this means MSBuild doesn't automatically link and manage referenced libraries.
To set project reference, you do it after expanding project file in solution explorer, example screenshot contains 4 references (ex. 4 lib projects):
After you do this specify input libraries (LIB files) under:
Property manager -> <your configuration> -> Linker -> Input
where "your configuration" is target configuration and platform.
And also library search path under:
Linker -> General -> Additional library directories
which is the path to LIB files you want to link.
When you do this it's all set up, now what remain is to make sure you build target project only
, ex. not "Build solution" because that builds everything including LIB projects.
If your LIB files are not part of solution, then skip references part, and just explicitly link in linker properties.
I see no reason why would LIB files compile without changes after you do this.