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Windows 8 Application Launcher Overview (Standard 8)

7/8/2014

Learn how to add and configure Windows 8 Application Launcher on your Windows Embedded 8 Standard (Standard 8) device.

You can use Windows 8 Application Launcher to start a Windows 8 app immediately after a user signs in to a Windows Embedded 8 Standard (Standard 8) device and to restart the app when the app exits. You can configure Windows 8 Application Launcher to launch different apps for different users.

If the Windows 8 app is written specifically to work with Windows 8 Application Launcher, you can configure Windows 8 Application Launcher to perform a specified action based on an exit value returned by the app. For example, you could configure Windows 8 Application Launcher to shut down or restart the device when the app exits.

Before you can configure Windows 8 Application Launcher, you must know the Application User Model ID (AUMID) of the Windows 8 app that you want Windows 8 Application Launcher to launch.

The AUMID format is the package family name followed by an exclamation point and the application ID. For more information about how to identify the AUMID, see Guidelines for Developing Windows 8 Apps for Standard 8.

JJ979538.note(en-us,WinEmbedded.81).gifImportant:
The app must be installed on the device for the current user for Windows 8 Application Launcher to launch the app. If Windows 8 Application Launcher can’t find the app, or launch the app for any reason, Windows 8 Application Launcher waits a very short period of time (100 milliseconds) and tries to re-launch the app. If Windows 8 Application Launcher cannot launch the app after the ten attempts, Windows 8 Application Launcher logs out the current user.
You can modify this behavior by changing the FatalErrorAction registry key. For more information about this registry key, see Windows 8 Application Launcher Registry Keys.

When the launched app exits, Windows 8 Application Launcher can perform one of five app exit actions, based on the following action values:

Value

Action

0

Restart the app.

1

Restart the system.

2

Shut down the system.

3

Close Windows 8 Application Launcher.

4

Log off.

When the launched app exits, Windows 8 Application Launcher can either restart the app or, if the app is designed specifically to work with Windows 8 Application Launcher, perform another action.

Default Exit Action

You must define a default exit action for Windows 8 Application Launcher. If you do not change the initial value, the default action is set to 0 (zero), which indicates that Windows 8 Application Launcher restarts the app when the app exits.

Standard Windows 8 Apps

Windows 8 apps that are not specifically designed to work with Windows 8 Application Launcher, including Windows Store apps, do not return an exit code when the app exits. In these cases, Windows 8 Application Launcher performs the default exit action when it detects that the app has stopped running.

Specialized Windows 8 Apps

If you create a specialized Windows 8 app designed to work with Windows 8 Application Launcher, you can have the app write a CustomExitCode key before it exits. This integer key is written to the app data local settings. If the app exits and Windows 8 Application Launcher detects a CustomExitCode key, Windows 8 Application Launcher can take a specific action based on the value of the CustomExitCode key.

For any given CustomExitCode value returned by the app, you configure the action that Windows 8 Application Launcher takes by mapping that custom exit code to one of the app exit actions.

For example, your specialized Windows 8 app might return CustomExitCode values of 0, 1, or 255 depending on how the app exits. You can configure Windows 8 Application Launcher to restart the system (1) when the app returns a value of 0, restart the app (0) when the app returns a value of 1, and shut down the system (2) when the app returns a value of 255. Your custom return code action mapping would look like this:

CustomExitCode

Action Taken

0

1 (restart the system)

1

0 (restart the app)

255

2 (shut down the system)

If Windows 8 Application Launcher can’t find a CustomExitCode, or can’t find a mapping for the CustomExitCode value, Windows 8 Application Launcher performs the default exit action.

You can add Windows 8 Application Launcher to your image by adding the Windows 8 Application Launcher module to your configuration in Image Configuration Editor (ICE) or Image Builder Wizard (IBW).

You can find the Windows 8 Application Launcher module in the catalog under Modules\FeaturePack\Branding\Features.

For information about configuring Windows 8 Application Launcher, see Configure Windows 8 Application Launcher.

You can configure Windows 8 Application Launcher to launch different Windows 8 apps for specific users or groups. For example, you might configure a device to launch one Windows 8 app for customer accounts, but launch a different Windows 8 app for employee accounts.

For each user or group account, you can configure the following: the Windows 8 app to launch, the exit code mapping for specialized Windows 8 apps, and the default exit action.

Windows 8 Application Launcher follows the following order to determine the configuration to use.

  1. Current user account configuration. Windows 8 Application Launcher uses the configuration for the current user account, if one exists. It does not matter if the current user account is a member of the administrator group or not.
  2. Administrator account. If no specific user configuration exists and the current user account is an administrator account, Windows 8 Application Launcher exits without launching any app. If you want to launch an app for an administrator account, you must add a configuration for the specific user account that is a member of the administrator group.
  3. Group account configuration. If a configuration exists for a group that the current user account is a member of, Windows 8 Application Launcher uses the first matching configuration that it finds. The group account must not be a member of the administrator group, or else Windows 8 Application Launcher exits without launching any app.
    JJ979538.note(en-us,WinEmbedded.81).gifTip:
    The group account configuration order is not defined, so we recommend that you avoid assigning a user to multiple groups with different Windows 8 Application Launcher configurations.
  4. Global configuration. If Windows 8 Application Launcher cannot find any configurations defined for the user, Windows 8 Application Launcher uses the global configuration.

Windows 8 Application Launcher runs on top of the Windows 8 shell, so you may need to lock down any Windows 8 shell functionality that is not appropriate for your customized device.

If a Windows 8 app closes itself, Windows treats it as a crash. If the Windows 8 app crashes, Standard 8 may display a Watson error message on the screen. You can configure Watson to hide the UI. For more information, see WER Settings on MSDN.

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