List Invalid Guids of Referenced Projects in VS Solution Dependency Visualizer 0.92

While preparing one of my projects for production, I came across a “funny” error:

While Visual Studio builds a solution without errors, msbuild raised the following error for an ASP.Net web application:

The type or namespace name ‘’ does not exist in the namespace ‘foo’ (are you missing an assembly reference?)

I checked in Solution Explorer, and the project reference was clearly there, the assembly showed the namespace in ILSpy, and VS built the solution.

A little panicky, I removed the project reference and added it again. msbuild was now able to build the web application, but the build process raised solution file warnings:

c:\path\to\solution.sln : Solution file warning MSB4051: Project {Some-GUID-0001} is referencing a project with GUID {Other-GUID-0002}, but a project with this GUID was not found in the .SLN file.

Notice that the error message does NOT inform us while project contains the reference, and which other project was meant to be referenced, even though VS has all the necessary information to display the projects.

So I started another instance of VS, opened the VSSlnDep project, and added a new function, “List Invalid Guids of Project References”.

This function iterates through the project references of each project file (*.csproj, *.vbproj), and checks whether the referenced Guid is the project Guid of any project in the solution. If not, the reference is displayed using the referring and the referred project file names, along with both Guids.

To solve the invalid Guids, you need to navigate to the referring project in Solution Explorer, delete the project reference and add it again.

Conclusion 1: Visual Studio seems to resolve references using the project file name, whereas msbuild resolves using the project Guids.

Conclusion 2: Nobody knows why VS changes project Guids. Not even Microsoft.

As usual, the latest release of VS Solution Dependency Viewer is available for download here.

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