Sideload Apps with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Applies To: Windows 8
You can automate app sideloading by using Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to create, distribute, and deploy apps to users.
Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager helps automate app sideloading after operating system deployment. You can only sideload apps during operating system deployment by using System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 1 (SP1).
The prerequisites for using System Center Configuration Manager to sideload an app are the same for all other sideloading methods. For more information, see the “App Sideloading Prerequisites” section of Prepare to Sideload Apps in this guide.
You sideload apps during operating system deployment by using the application model and the operating system deployment features in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1. The application model in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1 is the preferred method for deploying apps.
Step 1: Create a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Application for the App
Create a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager application by using the Create Application Wizard in the Configuration Manager console. On the General wizard page (shown in Figure 1), specify the type of application (in this case, a Windows app package) and the location of the application.
Figure 1. General page in the Create Application Wizard
The Create Application Wizard automatically knows how to deploy this application based on the type selected. Depending on the app, you can accept the default values on the remainder of the wizard pages, but the wizard also allows you to customize app configuration.
You could also make these changes by selecting the Manually specify the application information option on the General wizard page. For more information on how to create an application in the Create Application Wizard automatically, see How to Create Applications in Configuration Manager.
Step 2: Distribute the New Configuration Manager Application to the Distribution Points
The newly created Configuration Manager application must be distributed to the distribution points so that clients are able to access the app. Distribute the new application as you would any other application by using the Distribute Content Wizard in the Configuration Manager console. Start the wizard by clicking Distribute Content on the Ribbon (shown in Figure 2). Ensure that you distribute the app to all the distribution point users and devices that will install the application use. This can also be done as part of the Deploy Software Wizard, which is discussed in the following step.
Figure 2. Distribute Content button on the Ribbon in the Configuration Manager console
Step 3: Deploy the App to Users and Devices
After you distribute the application, deploy it to the desired user and device collection. Deploy the new Configuration Manager application as you would any other application by using the Deploy Software Wizard in the Configuration Manager console. Start the wizard by clicking Deploy on the Ribbon (as shown in Figure 3).
Figure 3. Deploy button on the Ribbon in the Configuration Manager console
You can deploy an app to any combination of user collections. Configuration Manager is not intended for use in deploying an app to a device collection.
Ensure that the application has been successfully copied to the desired distribution points before deploying the app to users and devices as a part of operating system deployment. Otherwise, the deployment will fail, because clients will be unable to access the app on the distribution points.
For more information on how to create an application by using the Deploy Software Wizard automatically, see How to Deploy Applications in Configuration Manager.
When these steps are complete, the application appears in the Application Catalog (as shown in Figure 4). The application will also be available for installation through Software Center. If the application is made mandatory, the Configuration Manager client can automatically initiate application installation.
Figure 4. Sample application in the Application Catalog