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Appx and FlexApp
Traditionally appx applications would have to be deployed via the Windows Store, as appx applications deploy into the user’s local profile. This means that most other application deployment methods won’t work, but we can circumvent this thanks to the power of FlexApp.
Please note that this method is designed to only work with single-user OS deployments (e.g. Windows 10 VDI).
Create a (or add to an existing) GPO that includes the following:
Regkey to allow Windows to accept side-loaded applications:
- Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
- Keypath: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppModelUnlock
- Value Name: AllowAllTrustedApps
- Value Type: REG_DWORD
- Value data: 1
Import your appx vendors certificate into Trusted Root Certificate Authorities so that the appx will be trusted:
Alternatively, the same settings could be applied by a UEM tool such as ProfileUnity with a startup config
Next is to capture the appx installation files. Create a folder with your appx bundle and any required dependencies (calling it the app name and its version is usually what I would do)
In the same folder create a PowerShell ps1 file that contains the following (change anything in italics to match your app folder, app and dependency names):
- Add-AppxPackage "C:\Program Files\foldername\appname.appxbundle" -DependencyPath "C:\Program Files\foldername\dependency.appx" -ForceApplicationShutdown
Start your FPC as normal, but ensure you have a copy of the above folder copied to the root of C:\
Begin the normal FPC capture process (do not select an installer)
Once started, copy the app folder from C:\ to C:\Program Files and finish the app capture
Edit the package and clean out any captured regkeys or other folders that are not required to ensure there are no micro-isolation conflicts. You should be left with a FlexApp that contains just the folder with your appx bundle, dependencies and the ps1 file
Create a .bat file with the following (change anything in italics to match your app folder and ps1 file name):
- Powershell -executionpolicy Unrestricted -File "C:\Program Files\appname\nameofps1.ps1"
Playback the appx package on your FPC and select to add scripts to the package
Add the .bat file you have just made, set it as post-activation and save
Assign your FlexApp as normal within your configuration
Now when a user signs in, the appx bundle will be added into Program Files and the app will automatically be registered (with the relevant application data set inside the user’s local profile), with normal shortcuts for the application appearing in the user’s start menu as they would with any Windows Store application.