Generating MSIX package components

This article shows you how to generate MSIX package components for packaging your application using command line tools (without using Visual Studio or the MSIX Packaging Tool).

To manually package your app, you need to create a package manifest file, add your package components and then run the MakeAppx.exe command line tool to generate an MSIX package.

First, prepare to package

If you haven't yet, review this section on what you need to know before packaging your application.

Create a package manifest

Create a file, name it appxmanifest.xml, and then add this XML to it.

It's a basic template that contains the elements and attributes that your package needs. We'll add values to these in the next section.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Package
  xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/appx/manifest/foundation/windows10"
  xmlns:uap="http://schemas.microsoft.com/appx/manifest/uap/windows10"
  xmlns:rescap="http://schemas.microsoft.com/appx/manifest/foundation/windows10/restrictedcapabilities">
  <Identity Name="" Version="" Publisher="" ProcessorArchitecture="" />
  <Properties>
    <DisplayName></DisplayName>
    <PublisherDisplayName></PublisherDisplayName>
    <Description></Description>
    <Logo></Logo>
  </Properties>
  <Resources>
    <Resource Language="" />
  </Resources>
  <Dependencies>
    <TargetDeviceFamily Name="Windows.Desktop" MinVersion="" MaxVersionTested="" />
  </Dependencies>
  <Capabilities>
    <rescap:Capability Name="runFullTrust"/>
  </Capabilities>
  <Applications>
    <Application Id="" Executable="" EntryPoint="Windows.FullTrustApplication">
      <uap:VisualElements DisplayName="" Description=""	Square150x150Logo=""
        Square44x44Logo="" BackgroundColor="" />
    </Application>
  </Applications>
</Package>

Fill in the package-level elements of your file

Fill in this template with information that describes your package.

Identity information

Here's an example Identity element with placeholder text for the attributes. You can set the ProcessorArchitecture attribute to x64 , x86 , arm (i.e. 32bit ARM), arm64 , or neutral

<Identity Name="MyCompany.MySuite.MyApp"
          Version="1.0.0.0"
          Publisher="CN=MyCompany, O=MyCompany, L=MyCity, S=MyState, C=MyCountry"
			    ProcessorArchitecture="x64">

Note

If you've reserved your application name in the Microsoft Store, you can obtain the Name and Publisher by using Partner Center. If you plan to sideload your application onto other systems, you can provide your own names for these as long as the publisher name that you choose matches the name on the certificate you use to sign your app.

Properties

The Properties element has 3 required child elements. Here is an example Properties node with placeholder text for the elements. The DisplayName is the name of your application that you reserve in the Store, for apps which are uploaded to the Store.

<Properties>
  <DisplayName>MyApp</DisplayName>
  <PublisherDisplayName>MyCompany</PublisherDisplayName>
  <Logo>images\icon.png</Logo>
</Properties>

Resources

Here is an example Resources node.

<Resources>
  <Resource Language="en-us" />
</Resources>

Dependencies

For desktop apps that you create a package for, always set the Name attribute to Windows.Desktop.

<Dependencies>
<TargetDeviceFamily Name="Windows.Desktop" MinVersion="10.0.14316.0" MaxVersionTested="10.0.15063.0" />
</Dependencies>

Capabilities

For desktop apps that you create a package for, you'll have to add the runFullTrust capability.

<Capabilities>
  <rescap:Capability Name="runFullTrust"/>
</Capabilities>

Fill in the application-level elements

Fill in this template with information that describes your app.

Application element

For desktop apps that you create a package for, the EntryPoint attribute of the Application element is always Windows.FullTrustApplication.

<Applications>
  <Application Id="MyApp"     
		Executable="MyApp.exe" EntryPoint="Windows.FullTrustApplication">
   </Application>
</Applications>

Visual elements

Here is an example VisualElements node.

<uap:VisualElements
	BackgroundColor="#464646"
	DisplayName="My App"
	Square150x150Logo="images\icon.png"
	Square44x44Logo="images\small_icon.png"
	Description="A useful description" />

(Optional) Add Target-based unplated assets

Target-based assets are for icons and tiles that appear on the Windows taskbar, task view, ALT+TAB, snap-assist, and the lower-right corner of Start tiles. You can read more about them here.

  1. Obtain the correct 44x44 images and then copy them into the folder that contains your images (i.e., Assets).

  2. For each 44x44 image, create a copy in the same folder and append .targetsize-44_altform-unplated to the file name. You should have two copies of each icon, each named in a specific way. For example, after completing the process, your assets folder might contain MYAPP_44x44.png and MYAPP_44x44.targetsize-44_altform-unplated.png.

    Note

    In this example, the icon named MYAPP_44x44.png is the icon that you'll reference in the Square44x44Logo logo attribute of your MSIX package.

  3. In the manifest file, set the BackgroundColor for every icon you are making transparent.

  4. Continue to the next subsection to generate a new Package Resource Index file.

Generate a Package Resource Index (PRI) file using MakePri

If you create target-based assets as described in the section above, or you modify any of the visual assets of your application after you've created the package, you'll have to generate a new PRI file.

Based on your installation path of the SDK, this is where MakePri.exe is on your Windows 10 PC:

  • x86: C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\bin\<build number>\x86\makepri.exe
  • x64: C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\bin\<build number>\x64\makepri.exe

There is no ARM version of this tool.

  1. Open a Command Prompt or PowerShell window.

  2. Change directory to the package's root folder, and then create a priconfig.xml file by running the command <path>\makepri.exe createconfig /cf priconfig.xml /dq en-US.

  3. Create the resources.pri file(s) by using the command <path>\makepri.exe new /pr <PHYSICAL_PATH_TO_FOLDER> /cf <PHYSICAL_PATH_TO_FOLDER>\priconfig.xml.

    For example, the command for your application might look like this: <path>\makepri.exe new /pr c:\MYAPP /cf c:\MYAPP\priconfig.xml.

  4. Package your application by using the instructions in the next step.

Test your application before packaging

You can deploy your non-packaged application and test it before packaging or signing. To do so, run the cmdlet below from a PowerShell window. Make sure to pass in your application's manifest file located in the root of your package directory with all your other package components:

Add-AppxPackage –Register AppxManifest.xml

Once this is done. Your app should be deployed on the system and you can test it to make sure everything works before packaging. To update your app's .exe or .dll files, replace the existing files in your package with the new ones, increase the version number in AppxManifest.xml, and then run the above command again.

Package your components into an MSIX

The next step is to use MakeAppx.exe to generate an MSIX package for your application. Makeappx.exe is included with the Windows 10 SDK, and if you have Visual Studio installed, it can be easily accessed through the Developer Command Prompt for Visual Studio.

See Create an MSIX package or bundle with the MakeAppx.exe tool

Note

A packaged application always runs as an interactive user, and any drive that you install your packaged application on to must be formatted to NTFS format.