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Copyright (c) 2018 Microsoft Corp. All rights reserved.


MSIXCore is a preview for downlevel handler for MSIX. MSIXCore enables MSIX installation on supported Windows operating systems prior to Windows 10 1709 (such as Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2012). The codebase comprises of a Visual Studio solution file that builds msixmgr Application.

The current preview includes a user interface that will initiate the install of the MSIX package. It will unpack the files in the VFS folder to the local computer, register the application in Add/Remove Programs, places a link to the executable in the Start Menu. The application can then be uninstalled by removing it from Add\Remove Programs.

The main folder of interest is the MSIXCoreApps directory created in Program Files. MSIXCoreApps contain the extracted packages that have been installed specifically with the directory name being packageFullName.

(NOTE: Uninstalling the application from Add/Remove Programs in the MSIXCore preview requires the msixmgr application to be installed using the default settings of the MSI project detailed below.)


In order to create the MSI project in Visual Studio, the WiX Toolset and WiX Visual Studio Extensions must be installed - (


Clone the msix-packaging repository to a local workspace and build it x64 (see for prerequisites) using the -mt flag, which is necessary to avoid vclibs dependency; this should output the msix.dll, which is consumed by MSIXCore project.

Makewin.cmd x64 -mt

Open the msix-packaging/preview/MsixCore/msixmgr.sln file in Visual Studio 2017. Build the msixmgr project in release/x64 to create the msixmgr.exe

Using a MSI Setup Project

Once the msixmgr project has been built, the MsixMgrWix project can be built. The MsixMgrWix project has an additional dependency on the GetMsixmgrProducts project, which builds a custom action for the MSI package. The msixmgrSetup Project creates a .msi package to deploy the msix.dll and msixmgr.exe onto a Windows 7 SP1 or higher machine. The MSI Setup Project will register the specific file type association for the .msix and .appx extensions such that the installer is initiated directly from double-clicking a MSIX or APPX package.

MSIX Package Requirements

Apps packaged as MSIX must be compatible with the operating system in which they are being deployed. To ensure the app is intended for the operating system the MSIX package manifest must contain a proper TargetDeviceFamily with the name MSIXCore.Desktop and a MinVersion matching the operating system build number. Make sure to also include the relevant Windows 10 1709 and later entry as well so the app will deploy properly on operating systems that natively support MSIX.

Example for Windows 7 SP1 as a minimum version:

    <TargetDeviceFamily Name="MSIXCore.Desktop" MinVersion="6.1.7601.0" MaxVersionTested="10.0.10240.0" />
    <TargetDeviceFamily Name="Windows.Desktop" MinVersion="10.0.16299.0" MaxVersionTested="10.0.18362.0" />

All MSIXCore.Desktop apps will deploy to the server (with a gui) based operating systems with the same build number. If the app is intended only for a server operating sytem then use the TargetDeviceFamily of MSIXCore.Server. Deployment to Windows Server Core is not supported.

Using the Command Line

The executables can also be manually deployed to a Windows 7 SP1 or higher machine without using the MSI setup project. Place the msix.dll and msixmgr.exe in the same location. Sample packages can be found at msix-packaging/preview/MsixCore/tests; these can be copied over to a Windows 7 SP1 or higher machine and installed, although they may require adding the APPX_TEST_ROOT.cer (in the same tests folder) to the trusted store in order to install. Some of these packages are large and are stored using git lfs (Large File Storage).

certutil -addstore root APPX_TEST_ROOT.cer

Installation - Using command prompt or PowerShell, navigate to the directory that contains the executables and run the following command to install notepadplus.msix. The -quietUX parameter can also be added at the end of the command so that users don't see the installer UI.

msixmgr.exe -AddPackage C:\SomeDirectory\notepadplus.msix

Querying for a specific MSIX Package. Searching for a specific package is possible by packageFullName, packageFamilyName and/or using wildcards as well. Supported wilcards are *(match any character) and ?(match single character). -

msixmgr.exe -FindPackage notepadplus_0.0.0.1_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
msixmgr.exe -FindPackage notepadplus_0.0.0.1_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe
msixmgr.exe -FindPackage *padplus_0.0.*
msixmgr.exe -FindPackage *adplus_8wekyb3d8bbw?

Uninstallation - The -quietUX parameter can also be used here.

msixmgr.exe -RemovePackage notepadplus_0.0.0.1_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe

The following commands depend on ApplyACLs.dll and msix.dll. Please place these next to msixmgr.exe.

Unpacking - Extracts contents of .appx, .msix, .appxbundle, or .msixbundle into a folder. Folder will be named according to the package full name of the package and will be placed in the given destination directory. The -applyacls option can be optionally specified to apply ACLs to the resulting folder.

msixmgr.exe -Unpack -packagepath C:\SomeDirectory\notepadplus.msix -destination C:\output [-applyacls]

Applying ACLs - Applies ACLs to a package folder

msixmgr.exe -applyacls -packagepath C:\name_version_arch_pub

Build Status

Build status If succeeded, the built MSI can be downloaded from the release tab.

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