Trouble With UWP: Drives Driving Me Crazy

Here comes a mid-week post! This is more of a PSA than anything else, directed at those looking to try their hand at developing UWP apps. There is a TL;DR at the bottom for those who are not interested in the story.

Recently, I decided to try my hand at UWP. I don’t see much value from a mobile perspective, as I can name only one friend that has a Windows 10 Phone. However, I have an Xbox One and so do many of my friends. As of today, UWP apps cannot be tested or published for Xbox One, but Microsoft has stated several times that this is coming in 2016. There is still no official release date from Microsoft, however Microsoft has the Build Conference in March/April, and they are publishing this book at the beginning of August. This means that UWP for Xbox One is likely coming before August 1st, as Microsoft probably wouldn’t publish a book on developing for a system that is not yet available to the public.

As I was following the getting started tutorial, everything went smoothly up until I pressed the “Run” button. The state of the application: the blank application template + a few TextBlocks in the MainPage XAML. Nothing that should break the application. Here is the error I saw:


After exiting out of those errors:

Unable to activate windows store app. The process started, but the activation request failed with error ‘The app didn’t start’.

I googled around and found the following solutions, none of which worked:

  • Restart VS2015
  • Restart your computer
  • Delete all the Debug folders in the project
  • Clean the Solution
  • Fully update VS2015

None of these worked, and I was running out of patience with UWP. After a while more of googling the error messages, I found a few other users with my exact issue. Furthermore, their setup was very similar: VS2015 on C: drive, my project files on another (D: drive in this case).


The solution, as it turns out: your UWP project has to be located on your C: drive! This is a silly bug that I hope Microsoft fixes. Many developers keep their data on separate drives, having a small SSD for their OS.


After moving the project folder to the C: drive I opened the project in VS2015, cleaned the solution, and ran the project.


TL;DR: Your UWP Project/Solution Folder must be on the C: drive. If the project will not run: close VS, move the folder to somewhere on C:, open the solution, clean the solution, and try building and running again.

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