Convert a legacy package to the APPX format

ImportantThe following article uses options that are available starting with the Express edition.

This is a step by step tutorial on how to use the Desktop Bridge Project type.

Let’s suppose that you have an EXE package that you want to convert to the new APPX format so that it can be published on the Windows Store or sideloaded directly on the end users machines.

1. Import your package

From the Express project category select Import > Convert Desktop App.

2. Convert your package

The two available options let you convert on your current machine or a virtual machine.

  • Local machine - for this option, you need to make sure that no background applications will interfere with your conversion. This can cause some output issue, so a Windows image running inside a VM is recommended.
  • Virtual machine - for this option, the converter will automatically connect to the VM (Hyper-V or VMware), launch the old installer inside, capture it and use those resources to generate the APPX package, back on your development machine.

Next, we will select to Convert the application in an existing virtual machine and use a Windows 10 x64 Hyper-V image for this conversion.

Press Edit to choose what state for the VM snapshot we want to select. We’ll select a previous version, called Clean; you can choose any snapshot you have available.

For more information about this topic see the following article about the VM Profile.

3. Select package

Choose the package you want to convert by pressing the [ … ] button. The package information will be extracted automatically.

4. Configure Converter Settings

Set the output path of the conversion.

If you want to customize what file types, files and folders, registry are included or excluded create a custom profile by pressing Edit.

For more information see the following article about the settings profile. In our example, we’ll use the Default profile.

5. Install on the Virtual Machine

The virtual machine will launch, and you will have to install the EXE package.

The convertor will take a system snapshot before and after the installation, this way it will know what resources your package contains and how to include them into your APPX.

6. Complete conversion

After the conversion is done, you can customize the content of the resources you want to add to your Advanced Installer project. This option is available because at times unnecessary resources might be captured.

7. Build and Run the APPX

ImportantMake sure you sign your APPX package with a trusted certificate.

After you have finished customizing and signing your new APPX package, it is time to build it. Press the Build(F7) to begin the process.

Go to your Advanced Installer output folder and double-click on your new APPX package to begin the installation process.

8. Video tutorial

Convert a legacy package to APPX

9. See also

Importing a Desktop Bridge AppX Package