Sideloading Windows Store Apps – When Unlimited Has a Limit

In part 1 and part 2 of this series, I describe how & where to buy a Windows Sideloading Key and then how to configure a machine to sideloading your “store” application.

I did not think there was another part to this story … until I checked my license and it’s number of activations. The license you purchase and use to sideload Windows store applications is supposed to be for an “unlimited number of devices“.

Unlimited Devices

MS Claim of Activations on Unlimited Devices

You can imagine my surprise and frustration when I saw in the Volume License Service Center that I had burned through 7 of 25 activations in the first few days!!

Long story short, after a few emails with the VLSC, they said they set the number of activations on that “UNLIMITED” license to 25 “for Microsoft tracking purposes on how many times the product has been used“. In the event you run out, you can request more activations by contacting the MAK team.

I do NOT want to be in production and getting calls from a customer that can no longer sideload the application because we have reached the maximum number of activations. Sure enough, it took another couple emails, but the MAK team was “happy” to increase the number… to 225. Still not unlimited, but a somewhat large number that I will someday likely have to increase again.

225 Activations

225 Activations

Where I uncovered the answers

      vlserva -at- microsoft.com
      MAKAdd -at- microsoft.com

Sideloading Windows Store Apps – Install and Configure the Key

In a previous post, I described the process of obtaining a Microsoft key to use for Windows Store apps that are sideloaded (not obtained or installed via the store).  We have taken this approach most recently with the “Magic Wall” software that we built for CNN. Now that you have the key, let’s configure a machine with that key to install and run the sideloaded application.

I was surprised to see that there is nothing to do to the application itself to enable it for sideloading.  You don’t embed your key in the app – it’s completely stand-alone.  This kind of makes sense and has a huge benefit of allowing you to use the same sideloading key for any application, even if it wasn’t originally intended to be sideloaded.  You DO still have to sign your application with a code-signing certificate.  Let’s take care of that first. 

Sign the App With Code Signing Certificate

In your WinRT application project manifest, Packaging tab, use the button to “Choose Certificate…”.  Point to your code signing cert, provide your password, and you’re good.

Sign the application

Sign the application

Now build your app, and create the app package.  You only need two files from the directory of files created by the app package tool: 

  • the .appx (application and resources bundled for installation)
  • the .appxsym (debug symbols, useful for digging through crash dumps, etc)

The appx is still not signed, it’s just built with the certificate.  Now let’s sign it.  Open a command prompt with administrative privileges, and run the following command, providing the path to the certificate and the certificate password.

SignTool sign /fd SHA256 /a /f {PathToCertificate} /p {Password} {PathToAppx}

Install Sideloading Key

Next you have to configure the machine where you want to sideload the application.  You only have to do this once for each machine, and then you can sideload any applications on it.  Again, the key is not tied to the application.  You can easily find this info online, but here it is again for reference.

From an administrative command prompt:

The command below installs the sideloading key on the machine.  Use the key that you got from the Volume License Center key manager.  You should see a success message when it completes.

slmgr /ipk {your sideloading key without curly braces}

Then run the next command, which “activates” the sideloading key.  You must be connected to the internet to run this command, as it will connect with the Microsoft licensing servers to verify the key.  Unlike the GUID above, the GUID used below is not specific to your sideloading key.  Everyone should use this same GUID. You should see a success message when it completes.

slmgr /ato ec67814b-30e6-4a50-bf7b-d55daf729d1e

Allow Trusted Applications to Install

Next, a simple registry entry allows the OS to install trusted applications (those that are signed).   Add the following key and value to the registry.  You should add the “Appx” key if it doesn’t already exist.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Appx\AllowAllTrustedApps = 1 (DWORD)

Install the Application

Finally, you install the application using PowerShell. Copy the .appx and .appxsym to the target machine where you have enabled sideloading from above. From a PowerShell command prompt, use the following command.

Add-AppxPackage {PathToAppx}

Now you can find the installed application on the start screen list of all apps, or through search. Pin it to the start screen or run it from there.

That’s it.  Hope that works for you.

Sideloading Windows Store Apps – Purchase the Key

Back in April, Microsoft announced that it was making it much easier to obtain a sideloading key for deploying “internal” line of business Windows Store applications. Until then, it was ridiculously prohibitive to acquire a key, so the sideloading story was crippled.  The above link (and this one) has the details, but suffice it to say that you are now able to get a sideloading key for $100. Sounds easy, right?

I set out to buy a key for us to use at InterKnowlogy, but … I searched high and low for information on WHERE to buy such a key. We get our volume licensing via our Microsoft Gold Partnership, and that’s not one of the qualifying methods for already having a sideloading key.  WHERE can I buy the key?

After many calls, I find that the Microsoft Volume License Service Center does not sell it, but instead recommends a volume license re-seller.  (I’m not trying to buy a volume license, just a single license for unlimited sideloading.)  I assume there are lots of volume license re-sellers, but that I ended up with was Software House International (SHI).

LONG story short:  this key is being offered as part of the Open License Program, which allows you to setup an account even though you haven’t or won’t be buying LOTS of (volume) licenses.

Setup the account, purchase the “Windows Sideloading Rights” license (QTY 1), part #4UN-00005.

No good.  You must buy at least 5 items to qualify for a “volume license”.  WHAT?  I only need a single license, that gives me UNLIMITED sideloads.  Why would I need more than one?

The fix (salesman’s idea): find the cheapest thing in their catalog and buy 4 of them:  “Microsoft DVD Playback Pack for Windows Vista Business” (QTY 4).  $4.50 each!!

Make the purchase, $111.58, and now I have some sweet DVD playback software to give away to developers as prizes!  :)  Download the key, and next blog post, I’ll show you how to use the key to sideload.

Really cool that Microsoft made it cheap to get a sideloading license, but the mechanics of the process (at least to purchase) are still pretty wonky.

(We have taken this approach most recently with the “Magic Wall” software that we built for CNN.)

Presentation: Introduction to Windows 8.1 App Development

A huge thanks to the crowd at the San Diego .NET Developers Group! You guys were an awesome crowd. Congrats on the 20 year anniversary of the group as well. It’s great to know we have a deep culture of helping and teaching each other in the area. Keep it up!

For those that couldn’t make it we discussed how to handle Page Navigation and App Lifecycle for the first hour then moved into Location Services for the last 30min. Theses are some critical topics for Windows 8.1 App Development that I think a lot of people could use some help with. I only say that because many apps I use behave badly. I hope you find the recording of the session useful. Please leave some comments on what you think!

Materials

 

Again, thanks a bunch! And we’ll catch you next time!

DevLink – Master Windows 8 Location and Proximity Capabilities

What a great session! Thank you to everyone who attended. I enjoyed preparing the materials for this session and I hope you found it helpful and informative. You may find my Presentation Deck, Code, and a recording of the session below. Feel free to ask me any questions or give me any feedback you’d like in the comments below.

Session Description

The age old punch line “Location, Location, Location” is all too applicable in technology now-a-days. Come learn to leverage Windows 8’s Location API, one of the most important features in the mobile computing world. We’ll cover how to help users locate themselves as well as helping them track their next Ski trip. Proximity is another vital part of many great apps today. Join us to learn to leverage NFC tags and connect to peers through wireless communication. After mastering the Location and Proximity capabilities you’ll be able to create high value Windows Store Apps.

Material Links

Contact InterKnowlogy

If you’re interested in receiving our News Letter please email: curious@interknowlogy.com

If you’re interested in career opportunities please email your resume: findyourcalling@interknowlogy.com

If you’re interested in partnering with us please email: curious@interknowlogy.com

Session 12 of the WinRT Development Class – Hackathon Results and Prize Giveaways (Links to All Class Materials & Recordings)

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THAT WAS AWESOME!!! We had some killer apps show up to this and I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who showed attended any of our classes. I am very pleased at how well everyone performed. We had some rough patches, but I’d say this class was a huge success! I’d love to hear what you thought about it! What can we do to improve it?

Special Thanks

First a huge thanks to Kim Schmidt who, despite many struggles during the course of this class, has been an outstanding support. She secured our location and really got this class up and running. So again, a huge thanks to her! Also, vNext_OC has been critical in this event. We want to thank all those who have helped organize the user group and keep it running! Great job! We want to give a special thanks to our hosts Saddleback College. They were tremendous hosts and helped us a ton! And a huge thanks to Microsoft for sponsoring dinner each night. It was delicious! Of course we wouldn’t be anywhere with out our prizes so another giant thanks to Microsoft and Nokia DVLUP who sponsored all of the cool prizes and giveaways! Kevin and I have feel honored and privileged to have worked with such amazing sponsors, leaders, and attendees! Thank you everyone for your participation!

WP_20130520_008

Overview Of Sessions

Blog Post Links (posts contain links to recorded sessions 2-11):

Development Environment for Windows 8

Session 1 & 2 of the WinRT Development Class – Introduction, XAML, and WinRT’s Control Framework

Session 3 of the WinRT Development Class – App Lifecycle and Navigation

Session 4 of the WinRT Development Class – Async/Await, WinRT API, and Security

Session 5 of the WinRT Development Class – Search and Settings

Session 6 of the WinRT Development Class – Share Contract

WinRT Development Class – Spring Break Update

Session 7 of the WinRT Development Class – Live Tiles and Background Tasks

Session 8 of the WinRT Development Class – Orientation And Near Field Communication

Session 9 of the WinRT Development Class – Intro to Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM)

Session 10 of the WinRT Development Class – InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Part I/II

Session 11 of the WinRT Development Class – InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Part II/II

MeetUp Links:

1. Introductory Lecture (Nov 27th by Danny & Kevin)
2. Introduction to XAML and WinRT’s powerful Control Framework; (Dec 4th by Danny & Kevin Click here for the video recording)
3. Page-Navigation Model and Application Lifecycle (Jan 8th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
4. Fundamentals (Async/Await, WinRT API, Security) (Jan 15th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
5. Settings and Search Contract (Jan 28th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
6. Share Contract (Feb 4th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
7. Live Tiles and Background Tasks (March 18th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
8. Orientation Handling and Proximity using Near Field Communication (NFC) (March 25th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
9. Introduction to ModelViewViewModel (MVVM) (April 8th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
10. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part I/II(April 22nd by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
11. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part II/II(May 6th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
12. Presentation of Hackathon Results + Certificate/Prize Giveaway(May 20th by Danny and Kevin)

Session 11 of the WinRT Development Class – InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Part II/II

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That’s a wrap! All code sessions are now complete! Awesome! Now to see the Hackathon results!

Session Resources

Overview Of Sessions

The links below lead you to Meetup Events where you can RSVP. We look forward to seeing you at our next session!

1. Introductory Lecture (Nov 27th by Danny & Kevin)
2. Introduction to XAML and WinRT’s powerful Control Framework; (Dec 4th by Danny & Kevin Click here for the video recording)
3. Page-Navigation Model and Application Lifecycle (Jan 8th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
4. Fundamentals (Async/Await, WinRT API, Security) (Jan 15th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
5. Settings and Search Contract (Jan 28th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
6. Share Contract (Feb 4th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
7. Live Tiles and Background Tasks (March 18th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
8. Orientation Handling and Proximity using Near Field Communication (NFC) (March 25th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
9. Introduction to ModelViewViewModel (MVVM) (April 8th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
10. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part I/II(April 22nd by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
11. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part II/II(May 6th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
12. Presentation of Hackathon Results + Certificate/Prize Giveaway(May 20th by Danny and Kevin)

Session 9 of the WinRT Development Class – Intro to Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM)

WinRTWebBanner_JPEG

This class was really made possible by all those who attended. And a special thanks to Tom Hannum for lending me your power cord. We all learned a lot at this session. I hope everyone will go review the presentation video and get familiar with MVVM. If you have any questions leave a comment below! Happy Coding!

Session Resources

Overview of Sessions

The links below lead you to Meetup Events where you can RSVP. We look forward to seeing you at our next session!

1. Introductory Lecture (Nov 27th by Danny & Kevin)
2. Introduction to XAML and WinRT’s powerful Control Framework; (Dec 4th by Danny & Kevin Click here for the video recording)
3. Page-Navigation Model and Application Lifecycle (Jan 8th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
4. Fundamentals (Async/Await, WinRT API, Security) (Jan 15th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
5. Settings and Search Contract (Jan 28th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
6. Share Contract (Feb 4th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
7. Live Tiles and Background Tasks (March 18th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
8. Orientation Handling and Proximity using Near Field Communication (NFC) (March 25th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
9. Introduction to ModelViewViewModel (MVVM) (April 8th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
10. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part I/II(April 22nd by Kevin)
11. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part II/II(May 6th by Danny)
12. Presentation of Hackathon Results + Certificate/Prize Giveaway(May 20th by Danny and Kevin)

Session 5 of the WinRT Development Class – Search and Settings

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What a crazy session! We pulled through it like champs! Thank you everyone who attended. It was a blast and we are working with our sponsors to ensure future sessions go much smoother.

Session Resources

Next session will mark the half way point so don’t miss it! Kevin will be presenting about the Share Contract on Monday February 4th! It’s going to be great!

Overview of Sessions

The links below lead you to Meetup Events where you can RSVP. We look forward to seeing you at our next session!

1. Introductory Lecture (Nov 27th by Danny & Kevin)
2. Introduction to XAML and WinRT’s powerful Control Framework; (Dec 4th by Danny & Kevin Click here for the video recording)
3. Page-Navigation Model and Application Lifecycle (Jan 8th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
4. Fundamentals (Async/Await, WinRT API, Security) (Jan 15th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
5. Settings and Search Contract (Jan 28th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
6. Share Contract (Feb 4th by Kevin)
7. Live Tiles and Background Tasks (March 18th by Kevin)
8. Orientation Handling and Proximity using Near Field Communication (NFC) (March 25th by Danny)
9. Introduction to ModelViewViewModel (MVVM) (April 8th by Danny)
10. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part I/II(April 22nd by Kevin)
11. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part II/II(May 6th by Danny)
12. Presentation of Hackathon Results + Certificate/Prize Giveaway(May 22nd by Danny and Kevin)

Session 4 of the WinRT Development Class – Async/Await, WinRT API, and Security

Thank you all for attending Session 4 of our WinRT Development Course. It was great to see you all understand, embrace and use the new WinRT API! J

Session Resources:

  • AsyncDemonstration.zip: Source code of the project I used to demonstrate the difference between synchronous and asynchronous code execution
  • DemoFinal.zip: Source code of the project we developed together. This application allows to take a picture from an attached webcam, save it in the Pictures Library and create diary entries.
  • Presentation.pptx: The slide deck
  • Session Recording
  • HomeworkFinal.zip: Sample implementation of the homework (please try to solve it on your own first!)

Please don’t forget about Danny’s upcoming session on Monday – Jan 28th! I will see you all again on February 4th!

Overview of sessions

The links below lead you to Meetup Events where you can RSVP. We look forward to seeing you at our next session!

1. Introductory Lecture (Nov 27th by Danny & Kevin)
2. Introduction to XAML and WinRT’s powerful Control Framework; (Dec 4th by Danny & Kevin Click here for the video recording)
3. Page-Navigation Model and Application Lifecycle (Jan 8th by Danny Click here for the video recording)
4. Fundamentals (Async/Await, WinRT API, Security) (Jan 15th by Kevin Click here for the video recording)
5. Settings and Search Contract (Jan 28th by Danny)
6. Share Contract (Feb 4th by Kevin)
7. Live Tiles and Background Tasks (March 18th by Kevin)
8. Orientation Handling and Proximity using Near Field Communication (NFC) (March 25th by Danny)
9. Introduction to ModelViewViewModel (MVVM) (April 8th by Danny)
10. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part I/II(April 22nd by Kevin)
11. InterKnowlogy’s WinRT MVVM Framework Session Part II/II(May 6th by Danny)
12. Presentation of Hackathon Results + Certificate/Prize Giveaway(May 22nd by Danny and Kevin)

Impressions