Deploy a Microsoft Store App through SCCM Software Center

Deploy a Microsoft Store App through Software Center

Introduction

If you want to add a Microsoft Store app into your System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) environment and deploy it via Software Center, then you can follow this simple guide to get them setup, deployed and working.

This is for SCCM environments where the Store for Business is not setup and working.

Deploy Microsoft Store App Guide

The first thing you need to do is to identify the app that you want to distribute. For the sake of this guide, we will use Microsoft Whiteboard.

Go to Google and enter a clear and definitive search term. For our example we will use:

Microsoft Whiteboard app

This should bring back a number of links, but we want the one where it states Get Microsoft Whiteboard:

Google Search for application URL
Google Search for application URL

Click this link and it will take you to the page for the app. Instead of clicking on the Get button, go to the address back and copy the full URL:

Deploy a Microsoft Store App through SCCM Software Center 1
Microsoft app URL

Now that you have copied the app URL, you need to head to this website:

https://store.rg-adguard.net/

In the text field provided, paste your apps URL and also change the RP drop down to Retail:

Paste Microsoft Appx URL into Textbox
Paste Microsoft Appx URL into Textbox

NOTE: If you have something like this at the end of the URL, remove it:

?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

So instead of being:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/microsoft-whiteboard/9mspc6mp8fm4?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

It should be:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/microsoft-whiteboard/9mspc6mp8fm4

Then go ahead and click on the tick but to the right of the Retail drop down.

After a few seconds, you will see a list appear underneath the text field that will look like this:

List of Extracted Appx Download Files
List of Extracted Appx Download Files

This list contains all the pre-requisites that you will need for the app and also a number of versions for the app itself as well as the 32 and 64 bit versions.

We are going to take the latest versions of the pre-requisites and the app and also both the x86 and x64 versions.

Download the two (x86 and x64) appx files first for the app, these will be found towards the bottom of the page:

Deploy a Microsoft Store App through SCCM Software Center 2
Download Appx Source Files

Once they have downloaded (different apps will be different sizes) you can then copy these as the source for your SCCM APPX app.

Note: Keep this website open – we will need it later!

Create Application Wizard

Now go into your SCCM console and then browse to the following area:

Software Library > Overview > Application Management > Applications

Right click on Applications and select Create Application:

Deploy a Microsoft Store App through SCCM Software Center 3
SCCM Create a new Application

This will then take you to the Create Application Wizard and on the first page, you need to change the Type drop down to Windows app package:

SCCM Deployment Type Selection
SCCM Deployment Type Selection

Then click on the Browse button and then go to the source folder where you copied the APPX files to. Select just one of the x86 or x64 APPX files (we will add the second later). Once you are happy with your selection, click on the Next button.

This will then likely take you to a page where it states that there are missing dependencies:

SCCM Deployment Wizard Summary Page Warnings
SCCM Deployment Wizard Summary Page Warnings

This is fine and expected. You should note what dependencies are missing, in this case we need:

  • Microsoft.VCLibs.140.00 – Minimum version: 14.0.22929.0
  • Microsoft.NET.Native.Framework.2.2 – MinVersion: 2.2.27405.0
  • Microsoft.NET.Native.Runtime.2.2 – MinVersion: 2.2.27328.0

So we now know that we need to download these prerequisites and add them to our source location. You should now close the wizard and head back to the website that we kept open earlier.

In the list, you should see the three prerequisites that we need:

Microsoft.VCLibs

Download the x86 and x64 latest versions available of the appx files:

Microsoft VC Library Download Files
Microsoft VC Library Download Files

Microsoft.Net.Native.Runtime

Download the x86 and x64 latest versions available of the appx files:

Microsoft Dot Net Native Runtime Download Files
Microsoft Dot Net Native Runtime Download Files

Microsoft.Net.Native.Framework

Download the x86 and x64 latest versions available of the appx files:

Microsoft Dot Net Native Framework Download Files.png
Microsoft Dot Net Native Framework Download Files.png

Now that you have the prerequisite appx files for the app, you should copy these to your app source location in the root of the folder. So you should end up with a source that looks like this:

Microsoft Appx Source Files Including Prerequisites
Microsoft Appx Source Files Including Prerequisites

Now that we know we have the app source files and the prerequisite files, we can go ahead and start the Create Application Wizard again.

Go back into your SCCM console and then browse to the following area:

Software Library > Overview > Application Management > Applications

Right click on Applications and select Create Application:

SCCM Create a new Application
SCCM Create a new Application

This will then take you to the Create Application Wizard and on the first page, you need to change the Type drop down to Windows app package:

SCCM Deployment Type Selection
SCCM Deployment Type Selection

Then click on the Browse button and then go to the source folder where you copied the APPX files to. Select the x64 app appx file (not any of the prerequisites appx files) and once you are happy with your selection, click on the Next button and complete the wizard.

You will see at the Summary page of the wizard that it has now successfully created the application in SCCM.

SCCM Deployment Wizard Summary Page Success.png
SCCM Deployment Wizard Summary Page Success.png

Architecture Deployments

As we have only created the x64 app, you should go into the application within SCCM, then into Deployment Types and add the x86 with the correct x86 Operating System settings under the  Requirements tab.

Distribute and Deploy

You can then go ahead and distribute the app to your SCCM distribution points and deploy the app to where it is required.

Conclusion

Although this is a bit of a long winded process, if you do not Store for Business setup or if your update server does not allow it or even some sort of proxy block, this is a workaround that allows you to get the Microsoft Store apps out to end users.

Feedback & Questions

If this has helped you in any way or if you have any questions, please feel free to leave us a message in our comments section below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

About A.J. Armstrong

Founder of TechyGeeksHome and Head Editor for over eight years! IT expert in multiple areas for over 21 years. Sharing experience and knowledge whenever possible! Making IT Happen.

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