Step Step Guide to Create Deploy APPX Apps via SCCM and Troubleshooting Tips Configuration Manager? Windows 10 S will only run executable code signed with a Windows, WHQL, ELAM, or Store certificate. Is it correct to assume that the only supported application in Windows 10 S version is Windows Store apps (APPX)?
So, is this a good reason to start repackaging your LOB apps to APPX apps (SCCM App Deployment)? In this post, we will see a step-by-step video guide to create and Deploy APPX Apps via SCCM and Troubleshooting Tips.
High-Level Details about APPX app packages (SCCM App Deployment)
What is special with APPX apps? Windows APPX applications will be isolated from the rest of the host machine. This means UWP/APPX application apps won’t access the kernel and system drivers. These are now containerized and more secured. UWP/APPX apps never create registry keys to the system registry.
Prerequisites for APPX app package Installation
Sideloading feature should be enabled on Windows 10 or Windows 11 machines to install the APPX app. This can be done via Group Policies or from Windows 10 – Settings – Update & Security – For Developers – Use developer features and select Sideload apps option.
Are you not familiar with the term “sideload“? Sideload in Windows 10 means installing apps on your computer that hasn’t gone through the certification process to appear in the Store and run on a Windows device.
APPX application architecture is very important while creating the application package. I have seen the APPX application deployment errors because of the wrong architecture used in the APPX package.
It is highly recommended that you build your APPX app package to target all architectures. Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps can be configured to run on the following architectures: x86, x64, ARM.
Once the APPX package is created and tested on a Windows 10 machine, the appx app deployment through SCCM is straightforward.
APPX application Deployment Troubleshooting on Windows 10
I tried to install an APPX application package to Windows 10 devices, but it failed. I checked the requirement rules of automatically getting imported to SCCM from the APPXBundle file as part of troubleshooting. SCCM App Deployment.
The application requirement is set to run only on Windows 10 mobile versions. I explained some of the issues and troubleshooting log files (AppDicover and AppEnforce) details in the video tutorial here.
Another trouble I got into is related to APPX apps-supported architecture. Windows cannot install applications because the APPX requires ARM Architecture, but deployed, the computer has architecture x64.
Following is one example of APPX application deployment. I have also seen installation failures of the APPX applications when the APPX architecture is set to “Neutral.”
Error details – Unable to make changes to your software. There was a problem applying modifications to the software.
More information about the error code 0x80073D10 (-2147009264). This error means – The deployment operation failed because the package targets the wrong processor architecture.
How to Import or Create APPX Application package in SCCM Console
You can see more details about creating Windows Store (UWP) apps in the video tutorial. Open SCCM CB console – Application management – Applications – Create new Application. Now, from the app creation wizard, we need to specify settings for the appx application.
Select “Automatically detect information about this application from installation files,” and the type of the application should be “Windows app package (*.appx, *.appxbundle).” We need to provide the UNC path for the application source on the location on this page.
We can verify the imported information from the appx bundle file on the Import Information page. The General Information page is where you can change the name of the Windows 10 APPX application.
The application’s name, Publisher details, and Software version details could be changed from this page.
How to Distribute APPX app content to DPs
Once the APPX application has been created, we need to distribute the source files of the APPX application to SCCM CB distribution points (DPs). The DPs are where the client will get/download the source files during the installation process (SCCM App Deployment).
Right-click on the APPX application from the SCCM console and select Distribute content option, as I showed in the video tutorial here. Distributing content wizard helps to complete the content distribution process.
We need to select the content destination details in the wizard. This is the place where you choose DP server details or collection details. The source files of the APPX application will be replicated to selected DP servers.
You can monitor the content distribution from the monitoring workspace of the SCCM console. You can go to the details pane and select View status.
The distmgr.log and PkgXFermgr.log files are your best friends to troubleshoot SCCM content replication issues.
How to deploy the APPX application to Windows 10 Device?
Once the APPX application is created and the content is successfully distributed to DPs, we can go to the next step. The deployment of the appx package to the SCCM client windows 10 machines is the next step.
What is a deployment of an application from an SCCM perspective? Deployment is nothing but providing instructions to targeted machines/users (in a collection). The instructions are like schedule time, the behavior of application installation, etc.
Deploy software wizard guides us through the SCCM APPX application deployment process. On the General page, we need to specify general information for this deployment.
The software name should automatically be displayed on this page. We need to select target devices and user collections to deploy APPX apps.
Ensuring we have selected the “Automatically distribute content for dependencies” option in this wizard will help us automatically perform the content distribution of dependent apps.
Deployment settings are another important option to specify settings to control how this software is deployed. For the installation of the APPX application, we need to select the action called Install. To uninstall the APPX application, we need to choose the action called uninstall.
There are other control settings of the application, called Purpose. When you select purpose as available, the application will be available in the Software Center of the Windows10 machine.
The APPX application installation won’t start automatically. The user needs to initiate the structure of the APPX application manually.
The required option in deployment settings should be selected when we have to install the APPX application onto the machine automatically without any manual intervention.
When you choose purpose as Required in the deployment settings, another three checkboxes will be enabled on the page.
Pre-Deploy software to the user’s primary device
Send wake-up packets
Allow clients on a metered internet connection to download content after the installation deadline, which might incur additional costs.
Deploy software wizard guides us on the schedule of APPX application deployment. We can schedule the application to be available after a specific time. This can be used in the future scheduling of applications.
The installation deadline is another option we can schedule for the application deployment. User experience is the next option of deployment we can specify on this deployment wizard page. SCCM App Deployment.
End user Experience of APPX Deployment and Installation on Windows 10
The user will automatically get a notification from Software Center as per the user experience you set in the deployment setting wizard. The user can open the software center and the listed APPX application.
Also, when you click on a specific application, you will get more details about the progress of the application installed on Windows 10 machines.
When the installation is completed, you will be able to see the deployment status in the SCCM console. Windows 10 start menu will display the recently installed application.
- How to Create a Windows Store AppX package and sign it https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/wsdevsol/2014/02/12/create-a-windows-store-appx-package-and-sign-it/
- App package architectures – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/packaging/device-architecture
- How to sign an app package using SignTool – https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/jj835835(v=vs.85).aspx
- Sideload LOB apps in Windows 10 – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/application-management/sideload-apps-in-windows-10
- How to Package APPX/UWP apps – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/packaging/
- Create an app package with the MakeAppx.exe tool – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-in/windows/uwp/packaging/create-app-package-with-makeappx-tool
Anoop C Nair is Microsoft MVP! He is a Device Management Admin with more than 20 years of experience (calculation done in 2021) in IT. He is Blogger, Speaker, and Local User Group HTMD Community leader. His main focus is on Device Management technologies like SCCM 2012, Current Branch, and Intune. He writes about ConfigMgr, Windows 11, Windows 10, Azure AD, Microsoft Intune, Windows 365, AVD, etc.