What is MSIX app attach?

MSIX is a new packaging format that offers many features aimed to improve packaging experience for all Windows apps. To learn more about MSIX, see the MSIX overview.

MSIX app attach is a way to deliver MSIX applications to both physical and virtual machines. However, MSIX app attach is different from regular MSIX because it's made especially for Azure Virtual Desktop. This article will describe what MSIX app attach is and what it can do for you.

Application delivery options in Azure Virtual Desktop

You can deliver apps in Azure Virtual Desktop through one of the following methods:

  • Put apps in a master image
  • Use tools like SCCM or Intune for central management
  • Dynamic app provisioning (AppV, VMWare AppVolumes, or Citrix AppLayering)
  • Create custom tools or scripts using Microsoft and a third-party tool

What does MSIX app attach do?

In a Azure Virtual Desktop deployment, MSIX app attach can:

  • Create separation between user data, the OS, and apps by using MSIX containers.
  • Remove the need for repackaging when delivering applications dynamically.
  • Reduce the time it takes for a user to sign in.
  • Reduce infrastructure requirements and cost.

MSIX app attach must be applicable outside of VDI or SBC.

Traditional app layering compared to MSIX app attach

The following table compares key feature of MSIX app attach and app layering.

Feature Traditional app layering MSIX app attach
Format Different app layering technologies require different proprietary formats. Works with the native MSIX packaging format.
Repackaging overhead Proprietary formats require sequencing and repackaging per update. Apps published as MSIX don't require repackaging. However, if the MSIX package isn't available, repackaging overhead still applies.
Ecosystem N/A (for example, vendors don't ship App-V) MSIX is Microsoft's mainstream technology that key ISV partners and in-house apps like Office are adopting. You can use MSIX on both virtual desktops and physical Windows computers.
Infrastructure Additional infrastructure required (servers, clients, and so on) Storage only
Administration Requires maintenance and update Simplifies app updates
User experience Impacts user sign-in time. Boundary exists between OS state, app state, and user data. Delivered apps are indistinguishable from locally installed applications.

Next steps

If you want to learn more about MSIX app attach, check out our glossary and FAQ. Otherwise, get started with Set up app attach.