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Monday, February 15, 2021

MSIX Modern Packaging – Part 1

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Introduction

If you are working with system management, you also come across applications that need to be mass deployed to your endpoints. Before that can happen the vendor either deliver unattended parameters to their installation process or they deliver another installation format like MSI or MSIX.

Every business can benefit from standardizing software deployment and here I will try to help you start doing that.

By going through these steps, you will have a basic setup to start building MSIX packages.

I recommend to read the fundamentals of MSIX which can be downloaded here. Tim Mangan, Bogdan Mitrache and Kevin Kaminski did an excellent job.

 

Requirements

  • Hyper-V
  • Minimum 8GB RAM
  • 50GB free HDD
  • 2GHZ processor

 

Setup your LAB

Install Hyper-V

Right click your StartMenu

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Open PowerShell with admin rights

Paste this command to the PowerShell console

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Hyper-V -All

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Restart if needed

 

Start Hyper-v

Right click your environment and click “Quick Create”

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Choose MSIX Packaging Tool Environment

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Create Virtual Machine

It will start download ~ 5.6 gb

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Start your newly imported MSIX Packaging Tool Environment

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Let the virtual machine configure and wait for OOBE to kick in. Make sure your hyper-v is connected to the internet and when you reach this screen choose Domain join instead:

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Add a username and click next

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Type a password and click next

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Retype your password and click next

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Go through the questions and click next (I’ll skip the next couple of questions)

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Don’t use online speech recognition and click accept

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Choose No and click Accept

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If your virtual machine get lost, this feature isn’t going to help you click accept

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Send required diagnostic data click accept

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Say NO and click accept

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Say NO and click accept

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Say No and click accept

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The virtual machine will logon and you will have all the resources you need to get started.

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Start the packaging tool

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Click yes

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Accept

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Open the application package. (we do that because we need to install MSIX packaging Tool Driver.)

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Choose Create package on this computer

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Now that we got the tool installed, we cancel the packaging process

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Let’s configure the virtual machine for better and cleaner packages

Run commandline: Services.msc

Disable Windows Search

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Disable Windows update

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For better startup performance stop all unnecessary apps that start with windows

Start task Manager

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Restart the virtual machine and log back into it.

Create snapshot

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Give it a name and click yes

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Summary

By now you should be familiar with your new packaging virtual machine. It is best practice to build packages on a clean machine where we can roll back and have a clean state every time we need to package.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I will cover how to obtain the certificate we will need for signing our applications.

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