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Planning a move to MSIX, the latest and greatest way to deliver apps to your users in a modern way? In this first in a series of short articles to demystify it a little, we’ll outline what MSIX is and some pitfalls to look out for when packaging your users’ applications.

What is MSIX?

According to Microsoft, “MSIX is a Windows app package format that provides a modern packaging experience to all Windows apps. The MSIX package format preserves the functionality of existing app packages and/or install files in addition to enabling new, modern packaging and deployment features to Win32, WPF, and Windows Forms apps.

MSIX enables enterprises to stay current and ensure their applications are always up to date. It allows IT Pros and developers to deliver a user centric solution while still reducing the cost of ownership of application by reducing the need to repackage.”

This statement from Microsoft assumed that vendors would supply their apps in MSIX format direct to enterprises, reducing the need for an IT professional to do the conversion. However, several years on this has yet to happen.

What we’ve seen with MSIX

From our experience, there are a few things to think about before you start working with MSIX. In theory it sounds great, but it’s already been shown to have some challenges.

In short, you have four years of App-V in its current form, and it is unlikely to be retired in April 2026 as it is now a part of the operating system.

But although Microsoft has stated that support for App-V 5.1 end of support is in April 2026, the App-V client built into the Microsoft OS is no longer version 5.1.  The only 5.1 component that still exists is the App-V server, which will probably no longer be supported past 2026, but there are alternative methods of deploying the applications such as MECM and AppVentix.

The MSIX packaging success rate is also a little more ‘miss’ than ‘hit’ at present. MSIX’s application compatibility rate is roughly 50%. In simple terms, this means that only around half of your applications will be deployed correctly with MSIX.

Other applications delivered by MSIX are known to experience impaired functionality, meaning that without workarounds and extra toolsets, on average only about 25% of applications can run successfully in the MSIX container without workarounds. In particular, if you are still running Windows 10 as many organisations still are, MSIX is likely to present problems as many of the new features are built for Windows 11 only.

What’s next?

In the next in our series of MSIX articles, we’ll take a look at MSIX compared to App-V, and go under the covers for a more technical look at the new tool.

Get some expert help

With more than 15 years’ experience in all mainstream packaging formats and delivery mechanisms including MSI, MSIX, App-V, Intune, SCCM and Citrix, the ORIIUM team are perfectly placed to assist.

Find out more about our application packaging services