Microsoft makes MSIX App Attach, a key Windows Virtual Desktop feature, generally available

Microsoft finally is rolling out a key promised component of its Windows Virtual Desktop service which it first showed off back in 2018.

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Credit: Microsoft

For the past few years, Microsoft execs have been touting a coming feature of Windows Virtual Desktop -- MSIX App Attach -- as key to improving the performance and manageability of its WVD service. But it wasn't until today, April 13, 2021, that MSIX App Attach became generally available.

WVD, an Azure-based service, enables users to virtualize their Windows desktop, Office apps and other third-party applications by running them remotely in Azure virtual machines. Microsoft made WVD generally available globally in the fall of 2019.

Microsoft officials first discussed plans for MSIX App Attach at Build 2018. Microsoft's original plan was to enable MSIX App Attach on the Windows 10 side as part of its Windows 10 20H1/2004 release. Last year, Microsoft made MSIX App Attach available as a public preview to Windows 10 Enterprise users running version 2004.

MSIX App Attach enables users to skip having to maintain multiple master images for different applications and/or the ability to package all their virtualized apps into a single image. App Attach enables packaged applications to be stored outside a virtual machine so that each application can attach itself when users need it. It's a step beyond traditional app layering and app streaming, according to Microsoft execs, and is a key piece of Microsoft's strategy to separate user data, apps and the underlying operating system  

Microsoft's brief blog post about MSIX App Attach availability spells out why the technology matters. From that post:

"MSIX app attach in Windows Virtual Desktop offers:

  • A way to manage MSIX app attach with the Windows Virtual Desktop management UI
  • The ability to assign MSIX applications to users and user groups
  • Delivery of MSIX applications to users through both RemoteApps and Remote Desktop
  • New ways to use the Windows Virtual Desktop service and its features  

The Microsoft documentation for App Attach is available here.