Deploying a .NET desktop application using MSIX

Deploying a .NET desktop application using MSIX

In this post, I describe how to deploy a WPF or WinForms application using MSIX.

MSIX is a Windows app package format that provides a modern packaging experience to all Windows apps. The MSIX package format preserves the functionality of existing app packages and/or install files in addition to enabling new, modern packaging and deployment features to Win32, WPF, and Windows Forms apps. MSIX provides useful features such as auto-updates, file associations, clean uninstall, manageability (GPO / PowerShell), etc.

MSIX can be published on the Windows Store or any website using sideloading. In Windows 10 version 20H1, sideloading is enabled by default which makes this way of deployment easier for enterprise applications. In this post, I'll use sideloading deployment by publishing the installation files on a static website using GitHub Pages.

Table of contents:

#Configuring Visual Studio

First, you need to install the MSIX Packaging Tools component.

Optionally, you can add the .vsconfig at the root of your project, so Visual Studio will suggest installing this component automatically on solution opening:

{
  "version": "1.0",
  "components": [
    "Microsoft.VisualStudio.ComponentGroup.MSIX.Packaging"
  ]
}

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