Microsoft & .NET MSIX Packaging: What Is It and What Can It Do for You?

MSIX Packaging: What Is It and What Can It Do for You?

MSIX is a new packaging format based on the .msi installer, .appx, installer, App-V, and ClickOnce installers. MSIX keeps the functionality of the existing app installer packages and installation files while enabling new and modern packaging and deployment features to Win32, WPF, and WinForm apps.

Prerequisites for MSIX

The following are the prerequisites for installing MSIX:

  • Windows 10, version 1809, or above

  • Participation in the Windows insider program

  • A valid Microsoft account.

  • Administrator privileges on your PC

What can you do with MSIX?

Well, here are a few things you can do with MSIX:

  • Package any of the following applications into the MSIX format:

    • MSI

    • EXE

    • App-V 5.x

    • ClickOnce

    • Custom scripts

  • Create Modification packages for any MSIX Package

  • View and edit a Package’s content or properties

Installing the MSIX Packaging Tool

You can install the MSIX Packaging Tool directly from the Microsoft Store, here, as shown below.


Figure 1 – MSIX Packaging Tool

After you have installed it, you can choose which application to package as mentioned before. Let me now break them down one by one.

MSI

When converting a .MSI installer, you can browse for it and specify the .msi installer you’d like to convert. If your MSI includes an .mst (settings file used by the Microsoft Windows Installer) or an .msp (Patch file that includes updates to an application that was installed with Windows Installer) file, you can specify that in the installer arguments field.

EXE

If you are converting a .exe (normal program) installer, you have to remember that due to the lack of format consistency with an exe, you might need to manually enter the package information for your installer.

App-V 5.x

Here you simply specify an App-V file, and you get fast tracked to the create an MSIX page. Remember that the MSIX Packaging tool only supports App-V 5.1

ClickOnce

As with an .exe, you will need to manually enter the package information for your installer.

Custom scripts

If you are using a script to install your application, here you simply specify the command line, or you can leave this field blank and run the script manually.

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