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Preview packages and manifests with MSIX Hero

MSIX Hero version introduced a new feature called Package Expert which makes it really easy to preview any MSIX package + its content and PSF definition. The previewer currently supports the following scenarios:

  • Opening an MSIX package (for an already installed or not yet installed app)
  • Opening a package manifest (AppxManifest.xml).

A really handy feature is the determination of the package family, which is NOT a part of MSIX manifest, but normally can be only viewed after the installation:

This package is not yet installed. MSIX Hero Package Expert shows family name and full package name + even more information.

There are two ways you can quickly open any MSIX package.

Drag and drop from Windows Explorer


Package Expert window is shown automatically when the user drags and drops an .msix file or a manifest (AppxManifest.xml). You can also drag and drop more than one file (there is internal limit of up to 10 packages which can be opened at the same time).

Command line / Shell extension

While not exposed by default (not to steal association from default MSIX app installer), MSIX Hero does not register itself as a default MSIX extension handler. You can still start the application with a single parameter, where the value of the parameter is the path to the package/manifest to be opened.

Note that this will go directly to Package Expert, and the main window with package list will never be shown.

Cool things to discover

Package Expert makes it easier to understand the content and complex relations of MSIX world. Some of interesting points which may be difficult to read from raw manifest or config files, but are just there when using MSIX Hero:

  • Package full name and family name, even for not-yet-installed packages
  • Human-friendly display of Package Support Framework, especially fix-ups configuration
  • Information about authoring tool and its version
  • For installed packages – list of users who installed it
  • For installed packages – list of modification packages installed for it
  • Names and content of PowerShell scripts started upon launch and closing of the app
  • List of dependencies (apps and OS) with extra data like display names, OS builds etc.
  • And much more, keep exploring 🙂