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Windows 8 Thread, Deploying Windows 8.x Apps with Group Policy in Technical; Hi guys. Our LRC is now fully equipped with Lenovo Touchscreen Windows 8.1 machines and we're looking to roll out ...
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    Lightbulb Deploying Windows 8.x Apps with Group Policy

    Hi guys.

    Our LRC is now fully equipped with Lenovo Touchscreen Windows 8.1 machines and we're looking to roll out a few different apps (.appx) which are free from the Windows Store.

    Having previously had no issues with software deployment (repackaging with Advanced Installer (MSIs), deploying via GPO etc); it looks that this is a bit of a minefield unless you are looking to deploy self-signed / homebrew apps?

    How are you guys deploying apps (if at all possible)?

    Our DC is 2008 R2 based however I'm sure we can tie-in the 2012 R2 ADMX templates if required.

    Any input / guidance would be fantastic

    Cheers,

    Kyle

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    jamesbmarshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KyleWhite View Post
    Our LRC is now fully equipped with Lenovo Touchscreen Windows 8.1 machines and we're looking to roll out a few different apps (.appx) which are free from the Windows Store.

    How are you guys deploying apps (if at all possible)?
    Firstly, it's great to hear that you're using Windows 8.1!

    Now, on to the slightly tougher bit. Windows Store apps are deployed a little differently to regular applications. Currently, unless you have the whole application package to distribute it's not possible to use SCCM or Intune to push out Windows Store apps to devices - they have to be delivered from the Store. This in turn requires a Microsoft Account.

    Microsoft has put together a couple of pieces of guidance around this, specific to education, which you might find useful:

    Download Windows Store Apps - A Deployment Guide for Education from Official Microsoft Download Center

    Windows RT 8.1 - Deployment Guide for Education

    Even with Windows 8.1 Update it is a bit trickier than it could be, and I'm confident that in the not-too-distant future things will improve but for now, I'd work with some of the guidance in those links.

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    Hi James,

    I've just read through these "deployment guides" but they basically say the following:

    You cant install more than 24 apps or you will receive an "error"
    You must obtain the appx and licence agreement directly from the developer before attempting to sideload (good luck with that)
    Failing this use the "Windows store deployment method" on a per user basis (Is this serious, we have over a thousand users)

    Is there something we are missing?!

    Rollon Windows 9

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    jamesbmarshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junior2k View Post
    You cant install more than 24 apps or you will receive an "error"
    You can't include more than 24 in your image, assuming you had 24 .appx packages to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Junior2k View Post
    You must obtain the appx and licence agreement directly from the developer before attempting to sideload (good luck with that)
    Yup, this is a tough one at the moment, but not impossible. It's always worth approaching a vendor to see if they have a model for sideloaded delivery. Don't forget that this only applies to the full screen "modern" apps; traditional desktop applications are handled in the usual way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Junior2k View Post
    Failing this use the "Windows store deployment method" on a per user basis (Is this serious, we have over a thousand users)
    Again, totally understand how it works in schools - and I promise you that this is heard loud and clear internally, too. I don't have anything I can share about how this will be handled in future, but as soon as I do I'll share it here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Junior2k View Post
    Rollon Windows 9
    I suspect my next point will become something I say over and over again...

    Yes, there are some improvements that could be made to the way you can deploy and manage Windows Store apps; however, that shouldn't stop you from rolling out Windows 8.1 to your devices. Where it is not suitable to manage devices on a 1:1 basis, such as in IT suites, etc. then you could take the steps to turn off the Windows Store and configure the devices to boot to desktop. (Windows 8.1 Update made it a lot easier for keyboard and mouse users)

    I'm still trying to rationalise my thoughts on this into something bloggable but there are good reasons that deploying Windows 8.1 over Windows 7 is better, beyond any touch-enabled experiences. There will invariably be a Windows v.next (it doesn't have an official name yet) that will iterate and improve on the current version, but the days of skipping versions are a bit behind us - things are improving all the time. IMHO it's more about building the infrastructure to support simple and fast rollouts. A lot has changed since the days of rolling out Windows XP, etc.

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    So what your saying in a summarised version is it cant be done.

    I've not got a problem with normal Apps, I wanted to try using some of the "modern" apps that MS are pushing. My MS CRM couldnt sing their praises highly enough shame I cant deploy them!

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    @jamesbmarshall you say that MS has heard feedback about actual app deployment will be worked on 'soon', what real timeframe is there on that 'soon' as 8 has been out for some time and had several large updates so far non of which has fixed this major flaw.



    We are pushing out Windows 8.1 everywhere at the moment and it is better than 7 but we may well have the purchase of a couple of classrooms worth of MS tablets blocked and have to go for a different brand entirely as we can't wait. This may well lead to MS tablets never being used in that school as they will already be on a different path.



    Personally I like the W8 tablets and they can work well but I am not sure MS understands how badly they are doing themselves over with the lack of real management tools to make this work.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 31st May 2014 at 02:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    @jamesbmarshall you say that MS has heard feedback about actual app deployment will be worked on 'soon', what real timeframe is there on that 'soon' as 8 has been out for some time and had several large updates so far non of which has fixed this major flaw.



    We are pushing out Windows 8.1 everywhere at the moment and it is better than 7 but we may well have the purchase of a couple of classrooms worth of MS tablets blocked and have to go for a different brand entirely as we can't wait. This may well lead to MS tablets never being used in that school as they will already be on a different path.



    Personally I like the W8 tablets and they can work well but I am not sure MS understands how badly they are doing themselves over with the lack of real management tools to make this work.
    I couldn't of put this any better myself. I've reiterated all this to my MS CRM on numerous occasions. When are MS going to pick up on this. Us Techs are trying to fight your cause!! We want to use the tech in classrooms get the students using it.

    I'm managing 4 schools over 2000 users it's a resource that we can't tap into that your spending money to make great and we can't use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    @jamesbmarshall you say that MS has heard feedback about actual app deployment will be worked on 'soon', what real timeframe is there on that 'soon' as 8 has been out for some time and had several large updates so far none of which has fixed this major flaw.
    Microsoft are going to make MSIs available "soon" to update the apps included with Windows 8.x. Not sure about third-party apps though.

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    jamesbmarshall's Avatar
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    @SYNACK, @Junior2k, if I had more I was able to share then I would - trust me! I just give my two cents' worth as an when I can. Whenever I find something useful, or learn of something that I'm able to share, I will always come here.

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    Ah, pretty much everything I needed to know has been answered here (or not as the case may be ).

    Updating the Apps included with Windows 8 will be of little use / importance to most I would have thought (as typically they're hidden/removed as they're of no use in schools).

    Guess I'll have to hang fire until some form of managed appx deployment solution surfaces.

    Thanks everyone for your responses and input!

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    It may be worth contacting Microsoft and showing them this thread. It's the only way they'll change their ways and they are very good at listening to customers feedback! https://support.microsoft.com/contac...cid=sw;en;1539

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    Quote Originally Posted by abillybob View Post
    It may be worth contacting Microsoft and showing them this thread. It's the only way they'll change their ways and they are very good at listening to customers feedback! https://support.microsoft.com/contac...cid=sw;en;1539
    Done

  13. 2 Thanks to KyleWhite:

    abillybob (2nd June 2014), arh1a (5th June 2014)

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    Done, I expect a change within 24 hours now

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    Getting the appx files is actually quite easy, I followed the following guide Where is Windows 8's "package cache" for store applications? - Super User and installed from a usb stick , now all I need is to install and figure out sccm ?

  16. 2 Thanks to ColinP:

    arh1a (5th June 2014), SYNACK (5th June 2014)

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    jamesbmarshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinP View Post
    Getting the appx files is actually quite easy, I followed the following guide Where is Windows 8's "package cache" for store applications? - Super User and installed from a usb stick , now all I need is to install and figure out sccm ?
    This doesn't sound like a good idea.

    Aside from any potential licensing issues this may or may not have, it's unsupported and may affect your ability to update those apps in future.

    I mean, I get why you'd want to do it... but anything this hacky does not sound good.



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