Setting up a Windows 10 Universal App with No Experience

If you would like to get started with Windows 10 universal apps and don't have much experience, this short guide will show you how to set one up and sideload it on a Windows 10 client. This is very much a beginner's guide to get started.

1. Install a version of Visual Studio 2015 that includes the Windows 10 universal app components. The easiest way to do this is to use the free community edition which includes these tools which can be found here: Ideally an online Windows 10 target is optimal. In my case I used a 2012 R2 server to run Visual Studio. A physical system is preferred since the emulators won't work in a virtual environment. After running the executable from the installer, choose custom and ensure the Universal Windows App Development Tools category with its two sub-components are checked. Proceed with the install.

2. Start visual studio 2015. I skipped the account section and proceeded to the main application. To setup a blank application, click File, New, then Project, and choose Blank App (Universal Windows). In the right-pane, you can browse to the MainPage.xaml which is the location where you could add code to create a simple application.

3. Since I was curious how I would deploy the universal application on a Windows 10 client, I proceeded to double-click the Package.appxmanifest (also in the right-pane). Just so the application isn't completely default, I made a small change in the Visual Assets tab of changing the Background color field to 'blue' instead of the default which changed how the icon ended up looking. If you click on the Packaging tab, you'll see that a certificate is already setup.

4. Another change I made along the top ribbon was change the architecture to x64 since this was the client I was targeting.

5. To create the package, click on Project (along the top), then Store, and then Create App Package. Choose No to publishing to the Store, click Next, change the Architecture to x64 if this is your target, and click Create.

6. If you left the defaults you'll now have an app package created as a sub-directory in c:\users\<profile>\Documents\Visual Studio 2015\Projects\<appname>\<appname>\AppPackages. Copy this to the Windows 10 client you'd like to install the universal app on.

7. On the Windows 10 client, make a change in the settings by clicking the main settings, then Update & Security, then For developers, and choose Sideload apps or Developer mode.

8. On the Windows 10 client, navigate to the certificate that's within the app package you copied previously. Install it to the local machine in the Trusted Root Certification Authorities container.

9. On the Windows 10 client, open up an elevated powershell window. Within Powershell, change the directory to the location of your app package. In my test I ran into an issue with dependencies so I first installed the dependencies which are located in the dependencies subfolder within the app package. To install the dependencies first, within powershell run the following line for each of the two dependencies:

add-appxpackage <path to dependency.appx> 

Finally, install the app by running the same line for the .appxbundle file

add-appxpackage <path to application .appxbundle> 

10. On the Windows 10 clientPublish, you should now be able to find your new application in the Start Menu and open it!

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