Supported Devices for Desktop Bridge Apps

Written by Horatiu Prica · August 2nd, 2017

Getting your Win32/.NET application in the Windows Store has never been easier, thanks to Microsoft’s Desktop Bridge support you can start migrating your app in just a few hours. You can read our introduction about the Desktop Bridge if this is your first encounter with this technology.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll talk about what devices from the Windows 10 family you can target with your application, through the Desktop Bridge.

Universal Device Family

The Universal Windows Platform offers you the opportunity to target different classes of devices. Microsoft splits them into the following families:

  • Desktop Device Family
  • Mobile Device Family
  • Xbox Device Family
  • IoT Device Family
  • IoT Headless Device Family
  • HoloLens Device Family

When you create a UWP app or fully migrate your legacy app, you will be able to deploy it on any of the families above. For more information see Microsoft’s Guide to UWP apps.

However, when you’re starting with the Desktop Bridge, getting your app in the Windows Store is just the first step towards a true a universal windows application.

An app converted through the Desktop Bridge can initially run only on the Desktop Device Family of devices. This is because your code is still compiled as a Win32 application, the only difference is that you are now packaging it in a new format, the AppX.

To get your app capable of running on all Windows 10 devices, you need to start enhancing and extending your newly converted UWP app functionality until you fully migrate it to UWP APIs.

Depending on your app’s complexity, this process can take a long time, so plan carefully and get on it.

Windows 7 Compatibility

After you’ve converted your application through the Desktop Bridge, you can still deploy it as an MSI to your Windows 7 clients. Advanced Installer can generate both an MSI and AppX from a single project.

However, if you start adding UWP APIs in the app, you need to make sure you don’t load those API’s on Windows 7 machines as they are not supported. Only applications packaged inside an AppX can start using UWP APIs.