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Sideload Windows Store Apps for All Users


How to install Windows Store Apps for All User on a Device

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Summary:

In order to install the apps, we need to download the required files to an offline location. Many apps available in the Windows Store require dependency packages in order to install and run properly. We will also need to download these dependencies to the same offline location.

Step 1 – Remove Metro Apps

Removing the currently installed and provision packages is a good idea when you are building a reference machine and would like the image as clean as possible. Also, by removing all the existing apps, you also remove the dependencies along with them. This way when we click “Install” in the Windows Store, we will pull the required dependencies for that particular app and re-install what we just removed. The idea here is to have the Windows Store request all the installers it needs then we will be able to see where to get the files from.

In an elevated Powershell prompt, run:

Get-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online | Remove-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online
remove-appxprovisionedpackage

Get-AppxPackage | Remove-AppxPackage
Don’t worry about the errors. Some built-in apps cannot be removed

Step 2 – Download and Run Wireshark

Go to Wireshark.com to download. Install Wireshark with the defaults and launch it.
Choose the correct interface and click “Start”

wireshark1

 

Step 3 – Launch the Windows Store then search for your app and click Install

In order to get the .appx files required to perform the sideload, we need to first install the app(s) from the Windows Store which requires a Microsoft Account. When you click “Install” for your app, you will be prompted to switch to a Microsoft Account if you have not done so already.

Check the upper right hand corner of the Windows Store.
installingmail

Step 4 – Switch back to Wireshark and download the .appx files

With your app installing, now switch back to Wireshark.

Filter the capture with:
(http.request.method == "GET") && (http.request.full_uri matches ".appx")

Click on each of the packets and look at the lower pane in Wireshark for the “Full Request URI”
Double click on the URI or copy/paste into a web browser to download the files. Note that there will be multiple packets with the same URI. We just need the first occurrence of each unique URI.

In this example there are four unique URI’s that I will download.

wireshark2
If necessary, change the extension of the files to .zip in order to open and identify what we downloaded.

appxdl

Step 5 – Identify and Rename

To identify and rename the packages, open each zip file and look in the AppxManifest.xml  for the package name. If it is an Appxbundle, look in the AppxMetadata folder for the AppxBundleManifest.xml

appx-rename

In order to make sure we caught all of the URI’s when the app installed, we can check the dependencies within Powershell.

Get-AppxPackage | fl Name,Dependencies

appx-depend

Great! We now have all of the appx files needed to do an offline install and also to provision for all new users.

Note: You can also get VCLibs .appx from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=511069
If you install Visual Studio Express, you can get access to more appx dependencies.
Download Visual Studio Express 2013 from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=396853
Look in the following paths after you install Visual Studio:
\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.1\ExtensionSDKs\Microsoft.WinJS.2.0\1.0\
\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.1\ExtensionSDKs\Microsoft.VCLibs\12.0\AppX\Retail\

Step 6 – Add Registry Keys to allow for Sideloading

Step 7 – Sideload your App!!

In an elevated Powershell prompt, run:

Add-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online -PackagePath mail.appxbundle -DependencyPath VClibsx64.appx,VClibsx86.appx,WinJS.appx -SkipLicense

Take note that I’ve shortened the package names for simplicity

appx-add

When a new user logs in, they will have the app automatically install during the “Installing your Apps” phase of the login animation screen.

BONUS – Provision Windows Store Apps in SCCM Task Sequence

Well this is easy enough since the hard part is done.
Build a package with all the required .appx files and with a powershell script that runs the above command.
Add a “Run PowerShell Script” step to your Task Sequence like so:

appx-sccm

That’s all there is to it!

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One thought on “Sideload Windows Store Apps for All Users

  1. Hello,

    In Windows 10: I am able to execute all the steps using a different ps1 but users aren’t able to execute the application because it doesn’t appear.

    I execute Add-AppxProvisionedPackage -PackagePath $DeveloperPackagePath -DependencyPackagePath $DependencyPackages.FullName -Online -SkipLicense. This line doesn’t provide any error but users cannot see the app.

    What’s wrong?

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