App Installer

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App Installer
App Installer icon.png
App Installer in dark mode
App Installer in dark mode
Developer(s) Microsoft
Initial release 2 August 2016; 12 months ago (2016-08-02)[1]
Operating system Windows 10
Platform IA-32, x86-64, Itanium
Type Installer
License freeware
App Installer
Filename extension .appx, .appxbundle
Developed by Microsoft
Type of format Archive
Container for Installation information and an EXE or MSI file
Extended from COM Structured Storage
Open format? Yes
Website https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/app-installer/9nblggh4nns1

The App Installer is a software component of Windows 10, introduced in the 2016 Anniversary Update, used for the installation and maintenance of applications packaged in .appx or .appxbundle installation packages, loosely relational databases with an XML app manifest.[2] The .appx and .appxbundle files contain either a Win32 or a Universal Windows Platform “EXE file”, icons for the Start menu and taskbar, a virtualized version of any registry keys needed, and any other assets needed for the installed app to function.[3]

It is possible to install .appx and .appxbundle files on Windows 10 without either the installer or the Windows Store by using a command line. However, this requires Developer Mode to be turned on and most users were unaware of this capability. The app installer provides a more user-friendly interface that is opened by clicking on the installation package.[4]

The design for the App Installer is similar to the one for the classic Windows Installer, which installs stand-alone MSI and EXE files. It shows the user the app name, the developer, the app’s Start menu tile, and a set of capabilities enabled by the app manifest. If the user clicks the Install button at the bottom right corner, the App Installer checks the app’s signature. Unlike the standalone installer, the App Installer will refuse to install an app without a valid signature.[5] If the signature is valid, the app displays a blue installation progress bar and shows the user a button to launch the app once it is fully installed.

The App Installer is physically more flexible than Windows Installer. It can be resized and viewed in full-screen mode and the background changes based on the system-wide light or dark mode. Apps installed with the App Installer can be updated through the Windows Store. It is also possible to update a pre-installed app or app installed through the Windows, so long as version being installed with the App Installer has a higher version number than the one installed on the user’s computer. Since APPX installations are sandboxed, unlike traditional installs, it is possible to run multiple installations at once.[6]

It is currently unknown whether themes in an .appx package can be installed with the installer; currently, all available .appx packages with themes are distributed by Microsoft through the Windows Store.

References

  1. ^ Dean, Madeleine. "Microsoft Desktop App Installer finally rolled out to Microsoft Store". Windows Report. 
  2. ^ Dean, Madeleine. "Microsoft Desktop App Installer to improve the install of .appx apps". Windows Report. 
  3. ^ Surur (May 2, 2016). "Microsoft Desktop App Installer now available in the Windows Store". MSPoweruser. 
  4. ^ Hassan, Mehedi (April 25, 2016). "Microsoft Desktop App Installer will make installing apps with .appx files a lot easier". MSPoweruser. 
  5. ^ Hoffman, Chris. "How to Convert a Windows Desktop App to a Universal Windows App". How-To Geek. 
  6. ^ "App Installer". Windows Store. Microsoft. 

External links

  • InstallSite.org "Resources for Setup Developers"
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