MSIX Installer on Windows

With Bitwig Studio 5.2 we are changing our preferred installer format from MSI to the new MSIX format. Read this article for answers to common questions.

What is MSIX?

MSIX is a new installation file format for Windows applications.

What is the Benefit?

  • Much faster installation and uninstallation
  • Single-click install/uninstall — no more nagging dialog boxes to click through
  • MSIX doesn’t require administrator privileges to install
  • Guaranteed app integrity: MSIX must be cryptographically signed, so you can be sure that a MSIX from Bitwig is genuine and free from malware.
  • Improved reliability (see below)
  • You only need to agree to the EULA once or when it changes

How can I create a shortcut/alias of Bitwig Studio?

MSIX installs Bitwig Studio in a protected folder that isn’t accessible via file explorer. If you want to create a shortcut to the desktop or integrate it with third-party software, use this alias:
%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\BitwigStudioBeta.exe

Does the installer require the Microsoft store or a Microsoft account?

No, the installer does not depend on the Microsoft Store nor does it require a Microsoft account. It is installed by the App Installer service, which is installed by default on Windows 10 and 11. The payload inside MSIX is exactly the same as it used to be for MSI, save for a few more icons and metadata files. The application still runs with normal user privileges, and it can access the same parts of the machine as it used to, which is necessary for things like plug-ins and ASIO drivers to work.

What makes the MSIX installer more reliable?

With MSI, we often had issues with faulty installations, especially when upgrading. That's partly because it treats binary (dll/exe) files as special and only updates them based on version-number criteria (which ignores the fourth digit, so 5.2.0 Beta 1 would be considered equivalent with 5.2.0). Since we’re treating our installation as a monolithic block, this behavior complicates the process and reduces reliability. We ended up installing each version inside its own sub-folder, but customers complained about this because it cluttered their hard-drives with leftover installers that had to be uninstalled manually.

Can I install multiple versions of Bitwig Studio on my machine?

Since MSIX can replace installations reliably, we opted to allow just one regular and one beta version to be installed in parallel. If you need to have multiple versions installed, you can use the makeappx command (supplied with the Windows SDK) or a third-party tool to extract the payload into any directory you choose.

Can I install it on a different drive?

Yes, you can select the drive where new apps should be installed and move an app after installation.

To install apps on a separate drive on Windows:

  1. Press Windows key + I together to open Settings
  2. Click on System > Storage
  3. Click on Change where new content is saved under More storage settings
  4. Select D drive using the drop down menu under New apps will save to

To move an already installed app to a different drive:

  1. Press Windows key + I together to open Settings
  2. Click on Apps > Apps & features
  3. Click on the app that you want to move, and select Move
  4. Select the destination drive

Will Bitwig still offer the old .msi installation system?

Yes. The final release of Bitwig Studio 5.2 (QIII 2024) will be available both as MSIX and MSI version, and we will continue to offer both installers over a transitional period. Please note that the current betas of Bitwig Studio 5.2 are only available as MSIX.

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