App packages and deployment (Windows Runtime apps)

Applies to Windows and Windows Phone

As a developer, you don't write routines to install or uninstall your Windows Runtime app. Instead, you package your app and submit it to the Store. Users acquire your app from the Store as an app package. The operating system uses info in an app package to install the app on a per-user basis, and ensure that all traces of the app are gone from the device after all users who installed the app uninstall it.

An app package is a container based on the Open Packing Conventions (OPC) standard. OPC defines a structured way to store data and resources for the app by using a standard ZIP file. For info about how to use Microsoft Visual Studio to deploy app packages, see Deploying Windows Runtime apps from Visual Studio.

Starting with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, new app bundles help to optimize the packaging and distribution of an app. And resource packs let you offer extras, like localization or assets for high-resolution displays, to customers who want them, without affecting disk space, bandwidth, or the app-purchase experience for customers who don't. Also, hard linking optimizes the installation of your app by eliminating data duplication by not downloading the same file more than once.

Windows Runtime app deployment

The Windows Runtime app model is a declarative state-driven process that provides all installation and update data and instructions for an app in a single package. In this declarative model, deployment operations are reliable. The files shipped in the package are immutable, which means that they haven't been modified since they were delivered to the device. Because the package owner doesn't need to write custom actions and code, the number of failure points are reduced.

During the update process, a new version of the app is downloaded and installed to the user’s profile; immediately afterwards, the old version is removed from the device. In contrast to Windows Installer, there is no concept of patch files or any other files that are used to deploy a Windows Runtime app.

  • Applies to Windows

Note  

On Windows, because Windows Runtime apps are installed into a user’s profile, each user has complete control over their Windows Store apps. Apps can be installed, updated, and removed without affecting any other user’s apps on the device.

For more info about deployment, see Deployment for Windows Runtime apps.

Windows Runtime app packages – .appx

All the components that define a Windows Runtime app are stored in a Windows Runtime app package. This Windows Runtime app package has a .appx file extension and is the unit of installation for a Windows Runtime app. Windows Runtime app packages are ZIP-based container files that are defined as a subset of the ISO and ECMA Open Packaging Conventions (OPC) standards. Each Windows Runtime app package contains the app’s payload files plus info needed to validate, deploy, manage, and update the app. From a high-level view, each Windows Runtime app package contains these items:

App payload

App code files and assets

Payload files are the code files and assets that you author when you create your Windows Runtime app.

App manifest

App manifest file (AppxManifest.xml)

The app manifest declares the identity of the app, the app's capabilities, and info for deploying and updating. For more info about the app manifest file, see App package manifest.

App block map

App package’s block map file (AppxBlockMap.xml)

The block map file lists all the app files contained in the package along with associated cryptographic hash values that the operating system uses to validate file integrity and to optimize an update for the app. For more info about the block map file, see App package block map.

App signature

App package’s digital signature file (AppxSignature.p7x)

The app package signature ensures that the package and contents haven't been modified after they were signed. If the signing certificate validates to a Trusted Root Certification Authorities Certificate, the signature also identifies who signed the package. The signer of the package is typically the publisher or author of the app.

These preceding items comprise a fully self-contained Windows Runtime app that can be deployed to Windows 8 and later and Windows Phone 8.1 and later. You create the app payload and manifest files for your app. When Visual Studio packages your app, it automatically adds the app block map and signature files to the package. But you can also use the standalone MakeAppx and SignTool utilities if you want to manually package your app. These sections describe how to package and deploy Windows Runtime apps.

Package identity

One of the most fundamental pieces of the app package is the 5-part tuple that defines the package. This tuple is known as the package identity and consists of this data:

Name

A general name that is used for the app package. For example, "myCompany.mySuite.myApp".

Note  This name isn't necessarily what is displayed on the app tile.

Publisher

The publisher refers to the publisher of the Windows Runtime app. In most cases, the publisher is the same as the account that was used to register for a developer account.

Version

A four part version descriptor (major.minor.build.revision) that is used to service future releases of the app. For example, "1.0.0.0".

Note  You must use all four parts of the version descriptor.

ProcessorArchitecture

The target architecture of the app package. This value can be "x86", "x64", "arm", or "neutral". In many cases, this field can be "neutral" to represent all architectures.

ResourceID

Optional.

A publisher-specified string that specifies the resources of the app package. This part of the tuple is used primarily if the app package has assets that are specific to a region, such as, languages.

If you are creating the package manually, see the Identity element.

Package format

Here we describe details about app packages, that is, the .appx file format.

App packages are read-only

Although app packages are based on a subset of OPC, we recommend not to use existing APIs for manipulating OPC or ZIP files to edit app packages. After you create an app package, treat the package as read-only. The Visual Studio and MakeAppx processes that create app packages automatically generate and add the AppxBlockMap.xml file to the package. If you change any of the package contents, you need to update the package’s block map file to match. To create a new package and block map file, you must rebuild the package with Visual Studio, the MakeAppx pack command, or the Windows 8 native-code IAppxPackageWriter APIs.

App package payload file names

To comply with OPC, the file path names for all files that are stored in an app package must be Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) compliant. File paths that are not URI compliant need to be percent-encoded when stored in an app package, and decoded back into the original file path when extracted from the package. For example, consider this payload file with a path and name that contains embedded spaces and URI reserved characters '[' and ']':


\my pictures\kids party[3].jpg

When you store this payload file in the app package, the path for the file becomes:


/my%20pictures/kids%20party%5B3%5D.jpg

Visual Studio, the app packager (MakeAppx), and the Packaging APIs handle the percent-encoding and decoding of file paths automatically. If you attempt to extract files directly from an app package by using general ZIP utilities or APIs, the file paths might remain percent-encoded. So we recommend that you extract files from an app package by using either the MakeAppx unpack command or the IAppxPackageReader APIs.

App package capacities

App packages support apps up to these capacity limits:

Package capacityMaximum
File count100,000 files
Package size100 GB

 

App package reserved path and file names

These path and file names are reserved, so don't use them for app payload files:

Reserved path and file namesUse
/AppxManifest.xmlReserved file name for the developer-authored app package manifest
/AppxBlockMap.xmlReserved file name for app package block map
/AppxSignature.p7xReserved file name for app package Microsoft Authenticode digital signature
/[Content_Types].xmlReserved file name for content types metadata required by OPC for the app package
/AppxMetadata/Reserved folder path for app package metadata files
/Microsoft.System.Package.Metadata/Reserved folder path for Microsoft metadata files about deployed app packages

 

App package digital signatures

You must sign every app package before users can install them. While app package signing is partly automated through Authenticode, you must control the following features when you sign app packages:

  • The subject name of the code signing certificate must match the Publisher attribute that is specified in the Identity element of the AppxManifest.xml file in the app package.
  • The hash algorithm that is used to sign the app package must match the hash algorithm that is used to generate the AppxBlockMap.xml file in the app package. This hash algorithm is specified in the HashMethod attribute of the BlockMap element.
  • An app package can't be time stamped independently of signing. It must be time stamped during signing if time stamping is desired.
  • App packages don't support multiple enveloped signatures.

The signature of a package determines how the Windows Runtime app is licensed. How an app is licensed affects how it can be installed and run, so even two app packages with the same package identity might not be treated as equivalent during installation. For example, you can't install an app package with the same package identity as another already installed app, if it doesn't also have the same signature.

Declarative install

Windows Runtime app deployment is an entirely declarative process that relies on the app package manifest. You use the app package manifest to capture your desired integration with the operating system. For example, you use the app package manifest to declare the need to use a file type association, such as .jpg, on the operating system.

By doing this, the operating system can completely manage the Windows Runtime app deployment process so that it’s a consistent, dependable experience for each user on a multitude of devices. Moreover, by having a declarative installation Windows Runtime app, uninstallation of the app becomes deterministic and repeatable.

Within the app package manifest, you can declare a wide range of technologies as part of Windows Runtime app installation.

App pre-requisites

To successfully deploy an app, the operating system must satisfy all of that app’s pre-requisites that are referenced in the app package manifest. For example, if a version of the operating system exposes a new API that a Windows Runtime app calls, the app declares a pre-requisite on that specific minimum version operating system. In this case, the proper operating system must be present on the target device before the app can be installed. In Windows 8 and later and Windows Phone 8.1 and later, you can declare these key types of pre-requisites in the app package manifest:

OSMinVersion

Specifies the minimum version of the operating system and app model platform where this app is permitted to run.

OSMaxVersionTested

Specifies the maximum version of the operating system where this app was tested by the developer and known to be in a working state. This pre-requisite field is used by the operating system to determine if there is any app compatibility issue that might arise during the app’s usage. For example, if the app calls an API from the Windows 8 SDK and the API was later changed in a subsequent version of the operating system, the app might behave incorrectly. This prerequisite field helps ensure that the operating system can identify and correct this behavior so the app continues to function on all subsequent versions of the operating system.

Capabilities

Windows Runtime apps that need programmatic access to user resources such as Pictures or connected devices such as a webcam, must declare the appropriate capability. An app requests access by declaring capabilities in its app package manifest. You can declare capabilities by using the Manifest Designer in Visual Studio, or you can add them manually to the package manifest as described in How to specify capabilities in a package manifest. For more info about capabilities, see App capability declarations.

Dependencies

The Store hosts a unique set of app packages that contain operating system components that service independently of the operating system. Windows Runtime apps can use these app packages by declaring a dependency in their app package manifest. These components contained in app packages hosted by the Store are called operating system component libraries. The Store manages the process of ensuring that the correct version of the component library is present when the app is installed on a device. These libraries, which include Windows Library for JavaScript, C++ Runtime Libraries (CRT), and PlayReady DRM, are essential to the creation of Windows Runtime apps. When an app deploys from the Store, the operating system satisfies the dependency declaration by downloading and installing the appropriate component library with the app that is being downloaded from the Store.

  • Applies to Windows

Note  For side loading Windows Store apps for testing or enterprise deployment, the Windows component library app package must be supplied and specified during deployment of the app package.

App bundles

Starting with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, you can use the app bundle (or .appxbundle package) to help optimize the packaging and distribution of a Windows Runtime app and resource packages to users all around the world.

Note  Create one app bundle for all your architectures rather than separate bundles for each architecture.

You create the app bundle payload for your app. Visual Studio creates and adds the bundle manifest. When Visual Studio bundles your app, it automatically splits the resources into separate packages and adds the app block map and signature files to the bundle. These items make up a fully self-contained Windows Runtime app that can be deployed to systems beginning with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1.

App packages (.appx)

The app bundle can contain more than one app package only if they each target a different specific architecture. For example, it can contain both an x86.appx and an amd64.appx package, but not two amd64.appx packages.

Resource packages (.appx)

The app bundle contains resource packages (.appx files) for language, scale, and Microsoft DirectX feature level. Each app bundle can contain many different resource packages to support different device configurations. When directly referencing a resource package in your Windows Runtime app you should make full use of the resource management system.

Note  Resource packages must never contain code.

App bundle manifest (AppxBundleManifest.xml)

The app bundle manifest (.appxbundlemanifest file) contains all of the applicability info about the contained packages. For any particular package, it specifies the type of package ("Application" or "Resource") plus version and resource-targeting info. Specifically for app packages, the app bundle manifest includes info about the architecture.

In general, the app bundle manifest allows the app model to understand the contents of the app bundle and determine at installation time which app package and resource packages to install on the user's device.

Here's an example of an app bundle manifest file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?>
<Bundle xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/appx/2013/bundle" SchemaVersion="1.0">
  <Identity Name="Example" Publisher="CN=ExamplePublisher" Version="2013.101.312.1053"/>
  <Packages>
    <Package Type="application" Version="1.0.0.5" Architecture="x86" FileName="AppPackage_X86.appx" Offset="49" Size="3207">
      <Resources>
        <Resource Language="en-us"/>
        <Resource Scale="100" />
      </Resources>
    </Package>
    <Package Type="application" Version="1.0.0.4" Architecture="x64" FileName="AppPackage_X64.appx" Offset="3329" Size="3204">
      <Resources>
        <Resource Language="en-us"/>
        <Resource Scale="100" />
      </Resources>
    </Package>
    <Package Type="resource" Version="1.0.0.0" ResourceId="French" FileName="ResourcePackage_French.appx" Offset="6606" Size="1423">
      <Resources>
        <Resource Language="fr"/>
        <Resource Language="fr-fr"/>
        <Resource Language="fr-ca"/>
      </Resources>
    </Package>
    <Package Type="resource" Version="1.0.0.3" ResourceId="HiRes" FileName="ResourcePackage_HiRes.appx" Offset="8111" Size="1584">
      <Resources>
        <Resource Scale="140"/>
      </Resources>
    </Package>
  </Packages>
</Bundle>

App block map (AppxBlockMap.xml)

The block map file lists all the files contained in the bundle (except app and resource packages), along with associated cryptographic hash values that the operating system uses to validate file integrity and to optimize an update for the app. For more info about the block map file, see App package block map.

App signature (AppxSignature.p7x)

The app bundle signature ensures that the package and contents haven't been modified since they were signed. If the signing certificate validates to a Trusted Root Certification Authorities Certificate, the signature also identifies who signed the package. The signer of the package is typically the publisher or author of the app.

Resource packages

Starting with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, you can use the resource package to contain additional resources for the core app (for example, French-specific assets like strings or images). By using the resource package, you can separate the core app package from those additional resources. The resource package thus serves to tailor the app’s overall experience without requiring download and installation of all resource packages to the device.

The resource package is optional and can’t be depended on by the app package. This means the app package must contain at least one set of default resources that can always be used in case no resource packages were installed on the device. This helps keep a couple of key promises:

  • The app package can always be installed and launched properly on any device without resource packages.

  • If the installed resource package is not complete, the app package has resources to fall back on.

The resource package serves these purposes in the app model:

  • Provides resource candidates that the resource-management system can use when the app runs, to tailor the app’s experience.

  • Provides metadata that allows the resource package to target a specific resource qualifier (for example, user scale, system scale, and DirectX features).

Resource packages can target only one resource qualifier per package. But, your app can have many resource packages.

Resource packages must never contain code.

Hard linking

Starting with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, when the OS installs your app, it optimizes the installation by avoiding to download the same file more than once, whenever feasible. That is, if the OS determines that your app uses a file that was already previously installed on the device, the OS creates a shared version of that file and then makes your app hard link to the shared version. This reduces the app's installation time and disk footprint. These shared files can be libraries, runtimes, and so on. To take advantage of hard linking, we recommend that you follow best practices. For example, always attempt to reuse the same runtime or library binaries whenever possible with each version of your app, unless you absolutely must update them.

  • Applies to Windows

Windows 8.1 UpdateFor the initial release of Windows 8.1, hard linking was limited to only apps from the Windows Store. For Windows 8.1 Update, hard linking is further enabled among side loaded enterprise apps. For more info about side loading, see Deploying enterprise apps.

Per user deployments

  • Applies to Windows

Note  

Windows Runtime app deployments are per user, which means they only impact the account of the user who installed them. Furthermore, in multi-user scenarios, users don't have any knowledge of what was installed for any other user. For example, suppose UserA installed the Notepad app while UserB installed the Calculator app. In this scenario, UserA and UserB have no knowledge into other apps installed to the same computer (app isolation).

  • Applies to Windows

Note  

App isolation on the operating system is only limited to the user portion of the Windows Runtime app. All other data from the app is stored in a location that the operating system can access. For example, suppose UserA installed the Calculator app and UserB also installed the Calculator app; in this scenario, only one copy of the Calculator app binaries are stored on the drive (%ProgramFiles%\WindowsApps), and both users have access. UserA doesn't see UserB’s app data and vice versa. While the runtime binaries are shared, the app data is still isolated.

The %ProgramFiles%\WindowsApps directory can't be changed. This also includes the underlying %ProgramFiles% directory as well as the %ProgramData% and %UserProfile% directories.

  • Applies to Windows

Note  

In addition to containing all the Windows Store app binaries for all users on the system, the WindowsApps directory can also contain multiple versions of the same Windows Store app. For example, suppose both UserA and UserB installed the Notepad app, and UserA updated to version 2 of the Notepad app while UserB didn't. In this scenario, two versions of the Notepad app exist on the operating system. Because only one version is installed for each user, the multiple versions don't conflict with each other.

This behavior is also applicable to dependency packages.

Deployment for Windows Runtime apps

These sections describe the flow of installing, updating, and removing Windows Runtime apps.

Installing Windows Runtime apps

This figure shows the flow of installing Windows Runtime apps:

Windows Store app installation flow

The Windows Runtime app deployment process occurs in multiple phases. Initially, the OS acquires and validates the app manifest, app block map, and app signature. Next, the OS checks the app package’s deployment criteria to ensure that the app deployment will be successful. Next, the OS stages the package binaries to the WindowsApps directory. Finally, the OS registers the package into the user's account.

Deployment checks (validation)

This figure shows the phase where the OS performs deployment checks:

Deployment installing checks

After the user starts to install a Windows Runtime app, the OS must complete these checks before the deployment process can begin:

OSMinVersion must be satisfied

You specify app prerequisites within the app package manifest. They express the requirement for a specific minimum operating system version to be satisfied. For more info about app prerequisites, see App pre-requisites.

App dependencies must be satisfied

Windows Runtime apps can express a dependency on another app package for added functionality that the app needs. For more info about app dependencies, see Dependencies.

Disk space must be sufficient

Each Windows Runtime app requires a certain amount of disk space to be present so the app can deploy. If there isn't enough disk space present on the device to deploy the package, deployment fails.

App isn't already deployed

Within the context of the specific user that installed the Windows Runtime app, the app can't be installed again so a check whether the app is not installed already must be performed.

App assets must pass signature check

Using the already validated BlockMap, each file in the app package must have its integrity checked.

Package staging

This figure shows the phase where the OS stages the package:

Deployment package staging

After the app model determines that the package can deploy on the device, the OS stores the package’s contents on the disk in the %ProgramFiles%\WindowsApps directory in a new directory named after the package identity:


<Package Name>_<Version>_<Architecture>_<ResourceID>_<Publisher Hash>

The staging process occurs via a set of requests made by the deployment engine to the source of the package’s location. These requests are then satisfied by the source and returned to the deployment engine where they are decompressed, validated against the BlockMap, and copied into the appropriate file.

Package registration

This figure shows the phase where the OS registers the package:

Deployment package registering

Package registration is the final phase in the deployment process. During this phase, the extensions that are declared in the manifest are registered with the operating system. This enables the app to deeply integrate with the operating system. For example, if you want your app to be able to open .txt files, declare a FileTypeAssociation extension as XML in your app package manifest and specify .txt as the file type. At deployment time, this XML is translated into the set of system changes that need to occur to properly register the app to handle .txt files. These changes are then made on behalf of the app, by the app model. The app model supports many different extensions. For more info about these extensions, see App contracts and extensions.

Updating Windows Runtime apps

This figure shows the flow of updating Windows Runtime apps:

Deployment updating

The updating workflow is similar to that of Installing Windows Runtime apps, but here are a few key differences that make updating unique.

Deployment checks for updating

This figure shows the phase where the OS performs deployment checks in updating:

Deployment updating checks

If the currently installed app package’s version is greater than or equal to what the user is trying to install, deployment won't succeed.

Package staging (delta downloads)

This figure shows the phase where the OS stages the updated package:

Deployment updating staging

The staging process during update is similar to the typical staging process during installation. But the key difference is that a pre-existing version of the package is already installed on the operating system. After the pre-existing package installation completes, a set of payload files are downloaded and copied to the device. In many cases, many of those payload files won’t change or will only slightly change in the updated version of the app package. You can use those payload files to construct the updated app package content and assets. Because the BlockMap structure of the app package contains a list of hashes for each block of each file, the OS can compute the precise set of changes on a block level via a comparison of the former and new app BlockMap files. Here are the possible outcomes as a result of this comparison:

A file was unchanged

The file is hard linked to the updated package folder location.

Blocks in a file were unchanged

The unchanged blocks are copied over into the updated package folder.

Blocks in the file were changed

The changed blocks are marked to be downloaded from the source.

An entire file is new

The entire file will be downloaded from the source.

A file no longer exists

The file will not be used for the update at all.

After the comparison completes, all the data that can be preserved is hard linked or copied and any new data is downloaded from the source and used to make the updated files.

Package registration for updating

This figure shows the phase where the OS registers the updated package:

Deployment updated package registering

When you update a package’s registration, the OS also needs to update registrations of the previous versions. The app model automatically updates any existing extension registrations, removes obsolete registrations, and registers new extensions based on the declarations that are present in the manifests of the former and new versions of the app.

Apps in use

The process of de-registering an app package from the operating system involves removing the internals that allow the OS to launch the Windows Runtime app. In some certain cases, the app can be running while the update occurs. In this scenario, the deployment engine requests to suspend and subsequently terminate the app. The update process either succeeds or fails depending on the outcome of that request. In the case where the operations succeed, the app is also prevented from launching for the short duration of time while the registration of the new app package and de-registration of the former app package occurs. After this phase completes, the app is re-allowed to launch.

App data

App data is an entity that has a version that is outside of the actual Windows Runtime app. As such, if the ApplicationData.Version wasn't updated along with the update for the Windows Runtime app, the app state isn't affected by the update for the Windows Runtime app.

Package de-staging

This figure shows the phase where the OS de-stages the updated package:

Deployment updated package de-staging

After the registration operation successfully completes, if the pre-existing version of the package is not being used by any other user on the operating system, the package is marked for removal from the operating system. Initially, the OS copies the pre-existing version's app package folder into the %ProgramFiles%\WindowsApps\Deleted directory. When no other deployment operations are ongoing, the OS deletes the pre-existing version's app package folder.

  • Applies to Windows

Note  In multi-user scenarios, the app package might still be installed on the operating system for another user. In this case, the package content isn't de-staged from the operating system until all users have removed it.

Removing Windows Runtime apps

This figure shows the flow of removing Windows Runtime apps:

Deployment removing

  • Applies to Windows

Note  Similarly to the way packages are installed per user on a computer, they are also only removed per user. If the Windows Store app is installed for multiple users, it is only de-registered for the current user. For example, if UserA and UserB have the Calculator app installed and UserA uninstalls the app, it is removed only for UserA and not for UserB. The removal process consists of the same basic phases as the updating process.

Package de-registration

This figure shows the phase where the OS de-registers the removed package:

Deployment removed package de-registering

The de-registration process is where the Windows Runtime app’s integration into the user’s account is removed. Any associated data that was installed to the user’s account, such as app state, is also removed. Similar to the updating process, the deployment engine must request the app be suspended and terminated via the Process Lifetime Manager (PLM) so the app can be de-registered from the user’s account.

Note  After the PLM returns, the removal operation continues to de-register the Windows Runtime app from the user’s account. The operation continues even if the PLM was not successful.

Package de-staging

This figure shows the phase where the OS de-stages the removed package:

Deployment removed package de-staging

After the de-registration operation successfully completes, the package, if it is not being used by any other user on the operating system, is marked for removal from the operating system. Initially, the OS copies the package's app package folder into the %ProgramFiles%\WindowsApps\Deleted directory. When no other deployment operations are ongoing, the OS deletes the package's app package folder.

  • Applies to Windows

Note  

In multi-user scenarios, the app package might still be installed on the operating system for another user. In this case, the package content isn't de-staged from the operating system until all users have removed it.

App bundle deployment

Starting with Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, you can deploy app bundles to optimize the packaging and distribution of your app.

The deployment of app bundles via the Store follows this workflow.

app packaging flow

The Windows Runtime app deployment process occurs in multiple phases. Initially, the OS acquires and validates the app bundle manifest, bundle block map, and bundle signature. Next, the OS checks the bundle manifest to ensure that there is an app that can be deployed on the current architecture. When the right app package has been found, the OS checks the app package’s deployment criteria to make sure that the app deployment will be successful.

Then the OS determines the subset of applicable resource packages for deployment and stages these package binaries to the \WindowsApps\ directory. Finally, the OS registers the app package and resource packages into the user's account.

Validation

After the user starts to install a Windows Runtime app, the OS must complete these checks before deployment can begin.

TestConditions

Architecture support

The bundle can contain up to three architecture-specific app packages, all specified in the app bundle manifest.

Minimum operating-system version

You specify prerequisites within the app package manifest. They express the requirement for a specific minimum operating-system version. For example, for Windows 8.1 the appropriate version number is 6.3. For more info about app prerequisites, see App packaging pre-requisites.

App dependencies

A Windows Runtime app can express a dependency on another component package for added functionality that the app needs. For more info about app dependencies, see App packaging dependencies.

Disk space

Each Windows Runtime app requires a certain amount of disk space for deployment. If there isn't enough disk space to deploy the package, deployment fails.

Signature check

Each file in the app package must have its integrity checked against the already validated BlockMap.

 

Package applicability

After the OS verifies that the app bundle can be deployed on the system, it then determines the resource packages to deploy alongside the app package to enhance the user’s experience. Applicability is checked based on these three specific resource qualifiers.

QualifierDescription

User language

Any language that the user has added into the preferred languages list is counted toward the final set of applicable language resource packages to be deployed. Windows 8.1 and later and Windows Phone 8.1 and later support many locales and languages for resource packages.

System scale

Scale values for all monitors are used to determine the final set of applicable scale resource packages to be deployed. Windows 8.1 and later and Windows Phone 8.1 and later support three scale factors for resource packages:

Windows 8.1 and later:  scale-100, scale-140 and scale-180

Windows Phone 8.1 and later:  scale-100, scale-150 and scale-160

DirectX feature level

All DirectX feature levels available on the system are used to determine the final set of applicable DirectX resource packages to be deployed. Windows 8.1 and later and Windows Phone 8.1 and later support three DirectX feature levels for resource packages: DXFL-DX9, DXFL-DX10 and DXFL-DX11.

 

Package staging

After the OS determines that the app bundle can be deployed on the system and which packages to deploy, the package contents are downloaded to the \WindowsApps\ directory. A new directory is created for each package downloaded and is named by using the package identity name value, like this.

<Package Name>_<Version>_<Architecture>_<ResourceID>_<Publisher Hash>

The staging process occurs via a set of requests made by the deployment engine to the source of the package’s location. These requests are then satisfied by the source and returned to the deployment engine where they are decompressed, validated against the BlockMap, and copied into the appropriate file.

Package registration

Package registration is the final phase in the deployment process. During this phase, two key operations occur:

  • The extensions that are declared in the app package manifest are registered with the operating system. This enables the app to integrate deeply with the operating system. For example, if you want your app to be able to open text (.txt) files, declare a FileTypeAssociation extension as XML in your app package manifest and specify ".txt" as the file type.

    At deployment time, this XML is translated into the set of system changes required to properly register the app to handle .txt files. These changes are then made by the app model on behalf of the app. The app model supports many different extensions. For more info about these extensions, see App contracts and extensions.

  • All resource packages are registered with the resource management system. which can then use them to optimize the user's experience when the app runs.

Inventory of packages

As Windows Runtime apps are installed, updated, and removed, a given user can at any time view which app packages are installed or pre-staged.

  • Applies to Windows

Note  A user with Administrator privileges can also determine which app packages are installed for all users on the system. For more info about how to inventory packages on the operating system, see Tools and PowerShell cmdlets.

Frequently asked questions

How do I install multiple packages simultaneously?

You can install multiple packages by calling the Packaging APIs multiple times or once for the entire set of packages to be installed. The underlying implementation of the app model allows for any number of app packages to be awaiting deployment. But only up to 3 concurrent staging operations per user (total of 7 simultaneous stage operations per operating system) and 1 registration operation per operating system is allowed.

What happens if the package is already installed?

If the package is already installed, a package with the same package identity that is registered for the current user’s account already exists. In this scenario, the identical package isn't installed.

Can an update be made mandatory?

You can't make an update mandatory via the app model. The update model is strictly optional. In rare cases, the Store can deem an update appropriate to be distributed as a higher priority update (such as a security fix). In this case, the update can be forcefully deployed to clients.

  • Applies to Windows

Note  

In the Enterprise, you can force an update via group policy.

How can I roll back an update to a previous version?

You can't roll back a Windows Runtime app to a previous version of the app. Because the app package data is removed from the operating system shortly after the package is uninstalled, there is no way to restore it.

Can I move my %ProgramFiles%, %ProgramData% or %UserProfile% directories around?

This is not a supported scenario for Windows Runtime apps and will cause errors in using the app.

Packaging and deployment programming interfaces

Windows Runtime

Win32/COM

 

 

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