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Sideload Windows Store Apps in Windows 8

Sideload Apps with the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) allows you to sideload apps during operating system deployment. MDT supports the deployment technologies listed in Table 1, which you can use for different deployment infrastructures and scenarios.

note iconNote:
In this guide, MDT refers to MDT 2012 Update 1 unless otherwise stated.
TechnologyDescription
Lite Touch Installation (LTI)
  • Requires minimal infrastructure and uses a wizard-driven UI to manage and perform deployments
  • Allows you to specify configuration settings in advance or at the time of deployment
Zero Touch Installation
  • Requires a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1 infrastructure to deploy and manage Windows 8
  • Requires that you specify all configuration settings in advance of deployment
User-Driven Installation (UDI)
  • Requires a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1 infrastructure to deploy and manage Windows 8
  • Allows you to specify configuration settings in advance or at the time of deployment

Table 1. MDT Deployment Technologies

note iconNote:
LTI provides app provisioning capability only, while System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1 and Windows Intune provide app installation capabilities. Provisioning is useful for operating system creation, while installation is part of an ongoing app management process.

Sideload Apps in LTI Deployments

LTI can sideload apps during operating system deployment by creating LTI applications, and then deploying those apps as a part of an LTI task sequence. You can make some apps mandatory while allowing users perming the deployment to select others by using the Deployment Wizard in LTI.

Step 1: Create an LTI Application for the App

Create an LTI application by using the New Application Wizard in the Deployment Workbench. On the Application Type wizard page (illustrated in Figure 1), specify the type of application (in this case, an application that has source files).

Application Type page
Figure 1. The Application Type page in the New Application Wizard

On the Details wizard page (illustrated in Figure 2), you enter the user-friendly name of the app and other, optional information. This name is what appears in the Deployment Workbench and the Deployment Wizard UIs.

Details page
Figure 2. The Details page in the New Application Wizard

On the Source wizard page (illustrated in Figure 3), enter the local or UNC path to the folder that contains the .appx file. This folder will be copied to the deployment share and accessible to the Deployment Wizard during Windows 8 deployment.

Source page
Figure 3. The Source page in the New Application Wizard

On the Destination wizard page (illustrated in Figure 4), specify the name of the folder in the deployment share where the app will stored. In most instances, you can simply accept the default value, which is the name you provided on the Details wizard page.

Destination page
Figure 4. The Destination page in the New Application Wizard

The Command Details wizard page (illustrated in Figure 5) is where you specify the name of the .appx file. LTI automatically knows how to deploy the .appx file (based on the file extension) and uses DISM to inject (provision) the app into the deployed image. LTI will automatically set the Allow all trusted apps policy so that apps can be provisioned. LTI will also import any certificates (.cer files) found in the same folder as the app. The certificates must be trusted by the targeted devices.

Command Details page
Figure 5. The Command Details page in the New Application Wizard

Complete the wizard by accepting the default values. When you are done, the LTI application containing the app appears in the Deployment Workbench.

If you want all users to interactively select the app from the Deployment Wizard while deploying Windows 8, no further configuration is necessary. If you want to automatically install the app without requiring users to select the app, you must select the Hide this application in the Deployment Wizard check box in the LTI application Properties dialog box (shown in Figure 6).

Hide this application option
Figure 6. The Hide this application in the Deployment Wizard check box

Step 2: Deploy the LTI Application

Two methods are available for deploying the app you created in step 1. The first lets users select the app on the Applications page in the Deployment Wizard during Windows 8 operating system deployment (as shown in Figure 7). This method is useful when the app is optional and you want the user deploying Windows 8 to be able to decide whether the targeted device requires the app.


Figure 7. The Applications page in the Deploy Software Wizard

The second method requires that you add a task sequence step to the LTI task sequence to deploy the app (as shown in Figure 8). You can modify the exiting Install Applications task sequence step or add a new Install Application task sequence step to deploy the app. The benefit of this method is that the app is automatically deployed without intervention from the user performing the deployment. This method is useful when the app is mandatory and you always want it deployed with Windows 8.

Install Application task sequence
Figure 8. The Install Application task sequence step in LTI task sequence

Sideload Apps in UDI Deployments

The UDI deployment technology in MDT uses System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1 to deploy Windows 8 and corresponding apps. Like LTI, UDI provides the ability to manipulate configuration settings at the time of Windows 8 deployment, which means that you can allow users to select the apps to install as a part of the Windows 8 deployment process. UDI installs apps selected in the UDI Wizard that are also advertised to the users in the Application Catalog feature in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1. The UDI deployment process installs the User-Centric App Installer (AppInstall.exe) on the Windows 8 device during deployment. AppInstall.exe starts automatically when a primary user (configured with user device affinity) logs on. AppInstaller.exe connects to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with SP1, reads the Application Catalog, and then installs apps as required. For more information on this process, see the section, “User-Centric App Installer Reference,” in the MDT document Toolkit Reference.

In UDI, you configure the apps that can be deployed by customizing the Install Programs page in the UDI Wizard Designer (illustrated in Figure 9).

Install Programs page
Figure 9. The Install Programs page in the UDI Wizard Designer

Before you can add an app to the Install Programs wizard page, create a System Center Configuration Manager application that contains the app. This process is identical to the process for creating a System Center Configuration Manager application described in Sideload Apps with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.

After you have created the System Center Configuration Manager application, add the application to the list of applications available in the UDI Wizard. Do so by searching for the applications available in the Configuration Manger site database (as illustrated in Figure 10).

Searching for applications
Figure 10. Search the Configuration Manager site database for applications

After you add the application to the list of available software to install, select whether you want the application installed by default by selecting the check box next to the application (as shown in Figure 11). If you do not want the application installed by default, clear the check box.

Selecting an application
Figure 11. App in the list of software available in the UDI Wizard Designer

Finally, when you use the UDI task sequence to deploy Windows 8, the UDI Wizard automatically starts. On the Install Programs page in the UDI Wizard, users can select the application for installation (as shown in Figure 12). The applications selected on this page are automatically deployed immediately after Windows 8 deployment is complete.

Install application
Figure 12. App in the list of software available in the UDI Wizard