Side-loading is a mechanism which can be used to install apps in Windows 8 without using the Windows Store. This is mainly used for Line-Of-Business scenarios. You can install an app with a developer license, but that license expires every 30 days. When side-loading is enabled, you can install an app with a license that doesn’t expire. Side-loading works on Windows RT, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise. For this to work you need a side-loading key. The steps below are based on the article on Technet. Below a summary of the main steps to enable side-loading on Windows 8 that helped me set it up.
Windows 8.1 Enterprise edition has features built in that enable Enterprise side-loading, allowing customers running this edition on domain-joined PCs to easily manage the deployment of trusted Windows 8.1 apps through a policy setting (refer to this TechNet article to learn more about policy settings for Enterprise side-loading).
Customers will also be able to enable Enterprise side-loading of trusted Windows 8.1 apps on Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, or Windows 8.1 Enterprise devices that are not domain-joined by using a Volume Licensing Multiple Activation Key (MAK) in addition to the policy setting referenced above. This must be bought.
More information can be found on the Windows 8.1 licensing page. Open the Volume Licensing Guide PDF on that page for more details.
Activate the side-loading key on the device
Open an Elevated Command Shell (CMD as administrator). To install acquired product key and activate the APPX LOB Client Add-on use the Windows Software Licensing Management Tool (slmgr.vbs). Execute these commands:
NOTE: You need a fast internet connection to make this work, otherwise some strange error will occur.
|slmgr /ipk [SIDE-LOADING PRODUCT KEY]
slmgr /ato ec67814b-30e6-4a50-bf7b-d55daf729d1e
Allow all trusted apps to install
Now we need to enable the Allow all trusted apps to install Group Policy setting.
On a Windows 8 Pro device
- Open the Local Group Policy Editor by running GPEdit.msc
- 2. Open Computer Policy / Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates /
Windows Components / App Package Deployment
- Set Allow all trusted apps to install to Enable
- Open REGEDIT
- Add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Appx
- Add a 32bit DWORD AllowAllTrustedApps exists and set the value of that DWORD to 1
On a Windows RT device
Install the app’s certificate
Go to the App Package folder for the app you want to install.
Install the certificate
- Right-click the certificate (e.g. App1_184.108.40.206_anyCPU.cert) and choose Install certificate
- Choose Local Machine
- Choose Place all certificates in the following store
- Select Trusted Root Certification authorities
Install the app
Open PowerShell and execute the following command:
Add-appxpackage [FILENAME APPX FILE]