AppV2MSIX is a community tool designed to facilitate the automatic conversion of Microsoft App-V packages to the modern MSIX package format. This article by Timothy Mangan provides an overview of the tool, its background, and how it works. It explains the motivation behind the development of MSIX as a replacement for App-V and discusses the considerations organizations should keep in mind when contemplating a migration from App-V to MSIX. The article outlines the process of using the AppV2MSIX script, including the necessary prerequisites and the steps involved in editing and running the script. It also discusses the importance of testing the converted packages and acknowledges the contributions of other open-source projects to the development of the AppV2MSIX tool.
Microsoft App-V has been the preferred packaging format for delivering software applications to Microsoft desktops and servers in large commercial organizations for over two decades. With the introduction of MSIX, Microsoft aimed to provide a new-generation technology that could potentially replace the need for App-V. However, it is important to note that while MSIX offers several advantages, it may not handle all applications as effectively as App-V does. Nevertheless, with the use of the Package Support Framework and other techniques, AppV2MSIX can successfully handle the conversion of most App-V packages to MSIX format.
How AppV2MSIX Works
AppV2MSIX is a PowerShell script that requires certain prerequisites to be installed on the machine where the conversion process will take place. These prerequisites include the PassiveInstall PowerShell module, the Microsoft MSIX Packaging Tool (available from the Microsoft Store), and optionally, signtool.exe and TMEditX. The script operates by converting each App-V package using the MSIX Packaging Tool, signing the converted packages if necessary, and applying fixes using TMEditX. The script provides flexibility through editable configurations that specify folder locations and digital signature information.
Editing and Running the Script
To use AppV2MSIX, the script file (AppV2MSIX.ps1) and other necessary files should be placed in a designated folder on the conversion machine. The script can then be edited to provide the required folder locations and configuration details. Basic configurations, such as the folder containing the App-V packages and the output folder for converted and fixed packages, can be adjusted. Additionally, control and temporary settings, including skipping conversions, signing, and fixing, can be modified based on specific requirements.
Results and Testing
After running the script, log files will be generated by the MSIX Packaging Tool for each package, and if TMEditX is used, there will be separate folders for the output of both tools. It is important to review these logs, as they may contain warnings or errors related to the conversion process. Each converted package should undergo thorough testing, including checking for missing shortcuts, launching the application to identify any error dialogs, verifying pre-configurations, and testing app functionality.
The batch_convert.ps1 file, utilized in AppV2MSIX, is a modified version of the MSIX Toolkit, an open-source project that contributed to the development of this tool.