The following article uses the tool Desktop Bridge Setup Converter, which generates AppX packages for your Win32/.NET application
This is a step by step tutorial of how to use the Desktop Bridge Setup Converter to create an AppX package.
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.
The two available options let you convert on your current machine or on 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, thus 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 see the following article about the VM Profile.
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 settings profile. In our example we’ll use Default.
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 how to create the new AppX package.
After the conversion is done, you can customize the content of the new package.
Go to Digital Signature in the Package Content step to begin signing your package. Here you can either create your own test certificate or use an existing one. We will use a previously created .pfx certificate, by selecting Use file from disk.
If you plan to test your app locally, you will have to sign it using a trusted certificate. If not, and you plan to publish to the store, it will be signed automatically.
After you have finished customizing and signing your new AppX package, it is time to build it. Press the Build or the Next button to begin the process.
After you build, the output path will be opened automatically. Run your new AppX package, to begin installation.