Creating and Installing Windows Store App Packages

Creating a Windows Store App package will help you to distribute your app to users who would like to install the app in their machine. Here, I am talking about packaging Windows8 and Metro Style Apps. In general, creating app packages help you to distribute your app. The distribution of the app can be through the Store or just by sharing the package with other devices. The step-by-step procedure to create your first Windows Store app is given here: Create a "Hello, world" app.

The procedure for creating and installing store apps are explained below.

  1. Create the store app package.

    create app Packages

    The preceding screen shows that when you right-click on your Windows Store App project, you will see an option named “Store”; selecting this option will provide a list of options that contain “Create App Packages”. Click on it to create your application package.

  2. If you are not uploading the app to the Windows Store you just need to tick “No” in the Create App Package wizard.

    create your package

    In my case, I am not uploading the app to the app store, so, I am ticking the “No” option. If you have plans to upload your app to Windows Store, then, tick the first option, “Yes”.

  3. Select the CPU Architecture, Output Path and enter the Version Number in the Select and Configure Packages window.

    select and configure packages

    As shown above, you can generate packages for x86, x64 and ARM CPU architectures. Select the relevant architecture depending on the needs. You can select multiple architectures at once and generate packages for all at once. The preceding screen shows that I have selected x86 and x64 architectures for packaging that results in generation of two packages, each targeting the x86 and x64 CPU architectures. You need to check/tick the “Include public symbol files, if any, to enable crash analysis for the app” option, so that the .appxsym file that contains the public symbol information will be generated and will be included in your app package. If you uncheck this option and create the package, the .appxsym file will not be generated and included in the package hence you won't find the file in your package. This file helps in sending the app crash reports to the developer in the case of the crashing of the app in the user's machines. The crash reports are sent to the developer through the Windows Store Dashboard.

  4. Complete package creation.

    package creation completed

    Once the package creation is completed, you will be directed to Package Creation Completed. Clicking on the output location path will result in being redirected to the path specified that contains the necessary files for Windows Store App installation. This indicates that you have successfully created the package.

  5. Go to the specified path and you will find the “.appxupload” extension file and a folder. By default, both the file and the folder contains names starting with your project name.


    In my case, BingOCRDemo is the project name and hence both the .appxupload file and the folder have names starting with BingOCRDemo. Similar to the “.XAP” app package file format in Windows Phone apps, we have “.appxupload” as the app package file format in Windows Store apps/Metro Style Apps.

  6. Open the folder that contains the necessary files to install the Windows Store App and run the file with the .ps1 extension within Windows PowerShell.

    run with powershell

    When you open the folder, you will find an Add-AppDevPackage.ps1 file. Run the file with Windows PowerShell as shown above. The “.ps1” extension indicates that the file is a Windows PowerShell Script file. Windows PowerShell contains a Command-Line Shell and can run Windows PowerShell Scripts. Once you click on the “Run with PowerShell” option, it opens Windows PowerShell and you are now ready to install the app.

  7. Install the security signing certificate.

    window powershell

    The security certificate comes along with the app package in a single folder. In my application package, the security certificate file is named BingOCRDemo_1.0.0.4_x86_Debug.cer as shown in the following screen:

    saecurity certificate

    The “.cer” extension indicates that it is a Security Certificate. Now, press the Enter key to continue with the installation. It installs the security certificate/signing certificate. You can observe two more files with .appxsym and .appx extensions above the security certificate file. When the app is packaged, these files are included in your “.appxupload” file, in other words your final app package file. This .appxsym file contains public symbol information for that specific app and helps in sending the app crash reports to the developer in case the app crashes on user's machines. The crash reports are sent to the developer through Windows Store Dashboard.

  8. Installing the Certificate.

    administrator window powershell

    Type “Y” and press Enter to continue with installation of the certificate.

  9. Starting App Installation.

    Starting App Installation

    Once the certificate installation is completed, PowerShell executes scripts to install the app using the provided app package. Once the app installation is completed, you will see a message “Success: Your app was successfully installed”. Then, you can press the Enter key. This terminates the PowerShell prompt.

  10. Check for the installed app.

    search bingOCRDemo

    Search for the installed app in Windows Dashboard. You just need to start typing your app name in Windows Dashboard and you will see the app icon with app name. In my case, “BingOCRDemo” is the app name and I would be seeing the installed app as shown in the preceding screen.

  11. Distribute this app package.

    You can distribute this app package by zipping the entire folder and uploading it to websites using FTP clients such as FileZilla. Once you have uploaded the zipped folder, share the path with users and provide them an installation guide to ensure that they follow the right procedure to install the app using Windows PowerShell. Here, the user must download the zipped folder of app package, should unzip it and should start the installation process. Another option is to upload the app package to Windows Store and distribute it.