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Friday, December 1, 2023

Learn about MSIX, format a new installation file on Windows

Windows users and system administrators have many ways to deploy or install applications on Windows, from MSI, the one-click installation tool, to App-V or APPX.

Recently, Microsoft introduced MSIX, a new solution that they hope will become the standard in the future. According to Microsoft, MSIX includes the best packaging solutions used in the Windows ecosystem.

MSIX is a cross-platform installer file that can support LOB applications as well as applications distributed via the Microsoft Store, Store for Business, or other methods.

What is the MSIX?

MSIX is an application package solution for Windows. Basically, the MSIX file is just a renamed .zip archive, compatible with any compression/decompression software to view and decompress files.

The benefits of MSIX

MSIX offers a number of benefits over current application packaging solutions.

  • The implementation is secure and predictable.
  • Wiping clean will not leave any “trace”.
  • Techniques for optimizing disk space, such as a single installation archive.
  • Update support minimizes network usage.
  • Avoid interference.

On Windows, software updates are not centralized. While Windows Store apps update via the Store, third-party software installed on the system updates independently. Whether built-in updates are supported or whether users/admins can manually download and install updates is all up to the developer.

Some apps have an optional update option, while others don’t have a direct software update option.

MSIX Capability Summary Diagram
MSIX Capability Summary Diagram

MSIX will transfer the update process to the operating system, making the update more secure and reliable. However, this also removes the user’s control over the update process.

This new file format will also replace the current packaging formats, allowing developers to release Win32 apps through the Windows Store.

Microsoft also revealed the roadmap for MSIX in the future. Besides the mentioned features, there is also the possibility of integration with Intune and System Center ConfigMgr and support for Win32 software, which is currently not possible using Desktop App Converter.

From the Windows 10 October 2018 Update on, there will be MSIX support. Microsoft has released a preview of the MSIX Packaging Tool on the Windows Store for developers and users to download; just join the Windows Insider Program and have a valid MSA alias.


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