MSI has been the standard installation package format for Windows software since XP. However, Microsoft announced the new MSIX installation package in March 2018. MSIX is a successor to both MSI and APPX distribution formats. Now Microsoft has released a new MSIX Packaging Tool with which developers can convert more outdated Win32 software to the latest MSIX installer format.
Microsoft first unveiled the MSIX package format at the Build 2018 developer conference. The Microsoft VP Mr Gallo introduces the new MSIX installer package in the video directly below. Then he also announced a partnership with Advanced Installer, which is software that you can modernize MSI installer packages with.
Microsoft has also just released the MSIX Packaging Tool in the MS Store. That is an app that you can convert Win32 application installers to MSIX installer packages with. Note that the MSIX Packaging Tool is currently only a preview with some options and tools missing. Nevertheless, you can still utilize it to repackage EXE and MSI installers to MSIX. The app also includes a Modification package option with which users can set up modification packages for their new MSIX formats.
Before you rush off to download the MSIX Packaging Tool, note that it is only available for Windows Insiders. Thus, you will need to be on the Windows Insider Program to utilize it. You also need to utilize it within the Redstone 5 17701 build preview or later. An admin account and MSA alias are also required for the app. Thus, the app isn’t widely available as of yet.
Microsoft has introduced MSIX to combine both MSI and APPX, which is the distribution file format for UWP apps. Microsoft included an image (shown below) at Build 2018 that highlights MSIX is MSI and APPX added together. Consequently, developers can include all Windows applications on the MS Store with the new MSIX installer package without the need to rewrite or convert them to APPX with software such as Desktop Bridge. So, the new MSIX installer format might ensure a notable expansion for the MS Store.
The Redstone 5 update will surely expand Windows 10 support for MSIX in October 2018. By then, the full version of the MSIX Packaging Tool will probably be available for developers to update software to MSIX. For now, Windows Insiders can check out the new MSXI app at this page.