Managing Windows 8 native applications (part 4) - Sideloading apps in Windows 8,Inventorying and removing apps

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Sideloading apps in Windows 8

Sideloading refers to a process for installing native Windows 8 applications that are not available in the Windows Store on devices within an organization. An example of this might be a line-of-business application the organization uses that was developed in-house.

To sideload applications on Windows 8–based computers, the computers must be domain joined or use a Windows sideloading product key on the computer. To configure Group Policy for domain-joined sideloading, complete the following steps:

  1. Search for gpedit.msc on the Start screen.

  2. Expand the following path in the left navigation pane:

    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\App Package
  3. Double-tap or double-click the Allow All Trusted Apps To Install policy object, set the policy to Enabled, and then tap or click OK.



Windows 8 Pro cannot use domain-joined properties for application sideloading. A sideloading product key is required.

To activate a sideloading product key, type slmgr /ipk <sideloading product key> at an elevated command prompt and press Enter.

Adding sideloaded apps to a user account

Individual app packages can be sideloaded for specific user accounts on a Windows 8–based computer. To add a line-of-business app for a user account, complete the following steps:

  1. Launch Windows PowerShell as an administrator by searching for PowerShell on the Start screen and selecting Windows PowerShell. Press and hold or right-click and select Run As Administrator.

  2. In the command line, type the following command, substituting <path to …> with the paths to your app packages:

    add-appxpackage <path to app package>.appx -DependencyPath <path to dependent file
  3. Press Enter to execute the command.

There is no limit to the number of sideloaded apps that can be installed; however, use an image for deployment if there is a large number of apps to load or a large number of systems on which to load them.

Adding sideloaded apps to an image

Sideloaded apps can be added to an image either by using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) console, which allows images to be created or modified offline, or by using Windows PowerShell cmdlets.

Using DISM, enter the following command:

DISM /Online /Add-ProvisionedAppxPackage /PackagePath:<path to package>.appx /

To use PowerShell, enter the following command:

Add-AppxProvisionedPackage -Online -FolderPath <Path to folder containing packages>



The computer does not need to have the sideloading product key installed before apps can be sideloaded. However, until the product key is installed, the sideloaded apps will not run.

Inventorying and removing apps

After apps have been sideloaded, information can be gathered about these applications on either a per-user basis or for all users. The information includes application title and installation and the manifest information for sideloaded apps. In addition to the sideloaded apps, these commands can be used with apps installed from the Windows Store.

Using Windows PowerShell

To list applications for all users, enter the following:

Get-appxpackage -allusers

To list the details for a specific package and specific user account, enter the following:

Get-appxpackage -name <package name> -user domain\username



Viewing apps installed for accounts other than the currently installed user account requires an elevated session.

A package manifest is a file that contains product information and installation details about an app package.

To view package manifest information for an app, enter the following:

Get-appxpackagemanifest -package <full package name>

To remove an app from Windows 8, enter the following:

Remove-appxpackage <package>

To remove a provisioned app from an image, enter the following:

Remove-appxprovisionedpackage -online -packagename <Package Name>

Figure 7 shows the results of get-appxpackage in PowerShell for the Bing Maps App.

The app package details for the Bing Maps application

Figure 7. The app package details for the Bing Maps application

Using DISM at the command line

To list apps provisioned in an image, enter the following:

DISM.exe /Image::c:\provisionedimages /get-provisionedappxpackages

where c:\provisionedimages is the path to the location of the images.

To remove a provisioned app from an image, enter the following:

DISM.exe /Online /Remove-ProvisionedAppxPackage /Packagename:<package name>

The ability to manage applications developed specifically for an organization will encourage app development to meet specific business needs by using Windows 8.

  •  Windows 8 : Managing traditional desktop applications (part 2) - Controlling program settings for traditional applications
  •  Windows 8 : Managing traditional desktop applications (part 1) - Using Windows Installer in Windows 8, Running Windows Installer packages and MSIExec
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 : Active Directory certificate services (part 2) - Deploying Active Directory Certificate Services
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 : Active Directory certificate services (part 1) - Planning for Active Directory Certificate Services
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 : Administering group policy (part 2) - Creating and managing Group Policy Objects, Troubleshooting Group Policy
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 : Administering group policy (part 1) - Overview of Group Policy
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 : Administering groups and organizational units
  •  Windows 8 : Troubleshooting Startup Problems - Computer Takes Too Long to Start (part 2) - Start in Safe Mode
  •  Windows 8 : Troubleshooting Startup Problems - Computer Takes Too Long to Start (part 1) - Advanced startup
  •  Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 : Administering user and computers
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