One of the questions we get asked the most is Can I install Windows 8 apps without Windows Store? After some research, we found out a method to sideload non-store applications. Please remember this method will only work for Windows 8 Enterprise Edition or Windows Server 2012, by joining the PC to a domain. If you have a standalone Windows 8 Enterprise Edition, make sure you have activated Windows 8 Enterprise with the product key.
According to TechNet, the SideLoad Requirements are:
- Windows Runtime-based apps must be cryptographically signed and can only be installed on a computer that trusts the signing certificate
- You must activate a sideloading product key or join the PC to an Active Directory domain that has the Allow all trusted applications to install Group Policy setting enabled.
- Until the PC meets all of the sideloading requirements, app tiles on the Start menu will show an “X” in the bottom-right corner to indicate that a problem is preventing the app from running.
Microsoft is serious about security, so no Malware can get through from the Windows Store or from a non-store application getting infected through sideloading.
NOTE: Microsoft has now made it easy to SideLoad apps on Windows 10 PC.
SideLoad Non-Store Apps to Windows 8
Here is how to do it:
We need to enable the Group Policy that allows us to sideload non-store applications.
- Hover the mouse to Left end corner and right-click on Start
- Click on Run and type in gpedit.msc to open Group Policy Editor.
- Go to Computer Configuration – > Administrative Template – > Windows Components – > App Package Deployment
- Double-click on “Allow all trusted apps to install”.
- Click on “Enabled” then click OK
Now you are ready to install non– store applications on Windows 8.
Now we’ll install the application using PowerShell command.
- Go to your Windows 8 UI and start typing in PowerShell.
- Right-click on the PowerShell and click on “Run as administrator”.
- That will open the PowerShell in administrator mode. It should say Administrator : Windows PowerShell on the top.
- Now type in add-appxpackage C:\app1.appx –DependencyPath C:\winjs.appx
You are all set!
Now you should have the application installed. This method is for IT professionals for deployment on a large-scale. I personally couldn’t test this method since I was not able to find a non-store application.