MSIX

What is a MSIX?

MSIX is the 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 WinForm apps.

Use the MSIX packaging tool to create an MSIX package for any Windows app, old or new. The MSIX packaging tool streamlines the packaging experience, offering an interactive user interface or command line to convert and package Windows apps. The MSIX packaging tool is available in the Microsoft Store, supported on the most recent Windows Insider builds.

With the open source MSIX SDK, the MSIX packages are more versatile, and platform independent. The SDK provides all of the APIs needed to verify, validate, and unpack an app package on any platform.

MSIX, the best windows installer

MSIX is the new software installation format for Windows (or other systems) that Microsoft is working on as an alternative to the existing three: EXE, MSI and AppX.

The MSIX format allows modern packaging and deployment features for new Win32, WPF and WinForm applications, retains the functionality of existing application packages and/or installation files to migrate the old ones and supports multiple operating systems.

Why do we need another packaging solution (MSIX)? | One Dev Question

So why do we need another packaging solution? How does MSIX make things better? Microsoft Developer asked Mark Alcazar, Partner Director of Software Engineering for Windows, to explain.

Windows Installers

Microsoft has too many installers. Each with strengths and weaknesses, but to do basically the same, package the applications that will be installed in Windows using installers. As a typical example that you will have used on countless occasions, downloading software from the Internet and running it to install a particular application. For the user it is simple, but that file you will see with extensions such as .exe or .msi has a job behind less known.

Former Windows Installers

Microsoft has too many installers. Each with strengths and decay, however to act basically the same, pack the applications that will be installed on Windows by installers. As a picturesque mold that you will have wielded in infinite insignificances, the widget shake from the Internet and the invoice of it to protect a certain application. For the legatee is simple, however that editorial that you will see with dilatations as .exe or .msi has a commission behind the back except for known. We review the current formats and the future of these installers.

  • MSI
    They are best for simple installations, especially unattended. They use a graphical user interface of basic installation that installs or uninstalls the program without extras or options. In essence, this installer is a compressed set of installer files that contains all the necessary data for the software.
  • EXE
    They are best known to the general public. More versatile than MSI installers, they are also more complicated to create and manage due to their additional capabilities.
  • AppX
    They are used to package universal Windows applications and share some of the benefits of MSI installers. They are simple and direct installers with few options for the end user.

The benefits of MSIX in WINDOWS 10

MSIX offers several advantages over current Microsoft application packaging solutions:

  • Predictable and secure deployment.
  • Clean cleaning without debris.
  • Disk space optimization techniques, such as storing a single instance of files.
  • Managed by Windows (install, update, delete).
  • Differential update support to minimize network usage.
  • Protection against manipulation.

MSIX, the future

An installer format like AppX , limited to Windows 10 and a specific format like UWP, is hardly sustainable. To put it mildly and not to mention the failure of the Microsoft Store… Programmers are betting on developing iOS, Android and the Web, in that order. Windows, today, is far behind. If, as is speculated, Microsoft intends to eliminate Win32 applications in the future (to understand us, those of all life in Windows) or offers alternatives or the development in Windows is going to become even more complicated.

A good start is the application installer. MSIX combines the best features of MSI and AppX. It’s a direct packaging format that system administrators can even program for “unattended” installations. From the user’s perspective, an MSIX is installed as an MSI file, but inside it functions as an AppX file.

MSIX

Uninstallations and updates without problems.

Based on container technology, this format is isolated from the rest of the system and allows for trouble-free uninstallations and upgrades. When you install a program using MSI or EXE, the program can make changes to the registry and create files and folders throughout its system. When you uninstall them, there are often files and registry keys that remain, leaving clutter in the system.

With MSIX, programs are installed in a container and all necessary files remain inside that container or follow precise and predictable rules about where those files may be (in the AppData folder, for example). When you uninstall them, all the data goes with the program, leaving no mess. That means your system will be cleaner in the future.

To know more about msix you can visit Micrososft’s documentation

MSIX functions supported according to the windows 10 version

If you are of what builds MSIX package and do not know what functions it supports according to the version of windows 10 that you use this article is for you.

Building a MSIX package for your application? Use the table below to verify which version of Windows you can go to, depending on the features you are using.

Note: Compatibility with MSIX was officially released with the Windows 10, 1809 update. Compatibility with earlier versions of Windows was added later, which requires the latest version of the Microsoft AppInstaller application.

MSIX Features & Tooling Minimum OS Version Notes
MSIX self extraction, no containerization Windows 7  
AppInstaller (GUI) 1709  
PowerShell Cmdlets 1709  
Auto-updates 1709  
PSF Fixups 1709  
allowElevation flag 1809 Works if the Win32 app has the execution level set to requireAdministrator.
ForceUpdateFromAnyVersion flag 1809 Enables downgrade scenarios
Modification Packages 1809  
Microsoft Store Publishing 1809  
Windows 10 S (device targeting) 1809  
MSIX Bundles 1809 MSIX bundles are not supported on 1709 and 1803. Developers looking to build packages compatible with these Windows versions can leverage the .appxbundle technology.
Fonts 1803  
NT Services n\a  
Scripting n\a  
Drivers n\a  
Configurable Container Level n\a Presented by Microsoft at Ignite 2018 as a future feature.
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