Visual studio 2013 windows phone 8 “value cannot be null parameter name: key” deployment errors

Since the original launch of the windows phone 7 SDK, support for development tools on any windows server OS has been non-existent to say the least. We’ve had to result to desperate measures such as hacking the SDK setup files, tricking it into believing that it is being installed on a non- server OS to get it to run on a windows 8 Server.

Error

Error

Fast-forward to the year 2014 and the situation hasn’t changed, at least on windows 2012 server. There are several legitimate reasons why you would want to have the SDK installed on a server OS, setting up an automated build process would be a prime candidate for a reason.

When you try to deploy a windows phone app within visual studio 2013 to a developer unlocked physical device, you might run into the following unhelpful error

There were deployment errors: 
Value cannot be null. 
Parameter name: key 
Line 0, Column 0;

Very nice and helpful bit of information by the way team Visual Studio!

As it turns out, your UI project is probably setup to build for “Any CPU” as the target platform. As you are attempting to deploy to an ARM based CPU, you will need to change this accordingly.

To get this changed, go to the Build tab, select the configuration manager option. Make sure to select your presentation/UI project. Change the build configuration of your choice (DEBUG/RELEASE) or both to the ARM platform. Close and try to deploy your application again. Note that you might have to restart VS in some extremely rare cases.

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