Aug 17, 2016 - 15 Comments - Visual Studio, Windows 10 -

Easier Way to Create a Windows 10 Assigned Access Web Browser App

Almost a year ago I made a post about creating detailing the steps to create a Windows 10 Assigned Access Web Browser App for use in a kiosk computer scenario.  That post has remained the most popular one on my blog, and has yielded the most questions.  Well, I’m happy to say there’s now a much easier way to do it.

Microsoft’s Windows App Studio now lets you create Universal Windows apps without the need to really do anything at all with code!  You don’t need Visual Studio at all, unless you want to do your own customizations.

So how do you do it?

Step 1:

Go to the Windows App Studio site, log in with your Microsoft account, and click on New Project.  You have an option for “Hosted Web App” – click that.
Windows 10 Assigned Access Web Browser App

Step 2:

Feed it the URL of the site you want displayed, like so:

Windows 10 Assigned Access Web Browser App

Don’t be alarmed if the little preview on the right (not in the screenshot) doesn’t update, as it never would for me in testing this on a few different sites.  In the end, it works just fine.

Step 3 (optional):

This seems to be optional, and is certainly not necessary if only using the app for Assigned Access, but on the Tiles tab you can customize the tiles that your app would show in the Start Menu on machines where it is installed.  Note that in this simple template we don’t get the ability to create live tiles – bummer.  But again, for Assigned Access, we don’t care – the user will never see the tiles.

Windows 10 Assigned Access Web Browser App

You’re basically done, so you can go to the Settings tab, ignore the parts about publishing to the Store (again, not necessary if we’re just using Assigned Access), click on Finish, choose your screen layout, click Generate, and choose an installable package.  The machine you want to run this on will need the Windows App Studio Installer App in order to install your package (it’s free, don’t worry).  Once you install your package on the machine, set up Assigned Access as usual (see Steps 8 and 9 in my first post on this topic to see how I do it).

That’s it!  So much easier than dealing with installing Visual Studio and stumbling through code.

The Billable Life’s Very Own App

I jumped through all the hoops to make an app for this site, and get it published to the Store.  You can find it here, if you’d like.  The Store certification process took about 48 hours from submission to availability for download via the Store.  It was pretty painless, and I can see using this as a base app to expand upon with other features.

15 Responses to Easier Way to Create a Windows 10 Assigned Access Web Browser App

  1. Hoi Free


    Got this error when generating the installable package:
    “There was an error signing the installable package for platform AnyCPU”

    22 Aug 2016 - Reply
    • MikePeters

      Yes, I got this as well when generating a package on 8/18, but did not on 8/11. There was a notification at the time saying that there were errors generating some packages, and that system engineers were working on the issue. Try again? If it doesn’t work in the next day, I would contact their support.

      Also note that despite not being able to generate the installable package, I was able to create a publish package and successfully get my app listed in the Store. So that may be an option for you as well?

      22 Aug 2016 - Reply
  2. Hoi Free

    Thanks,just saw the announcement and they should be working hard to fix it.

    22 Aug 2016 - Reply
    • MikePeters

      It looks like they resolved the issue this morning. I tested and was able to successfully generate installable packages. Try again?

      23 Aug 2016 - Reply
  3. Andre

    Hi and thanks for the tutorial.

    I created, downloaded and installed the app. When selecting it from the start menu,
    it works and directs me to the website I selected.

    But it does not show in the list of the apps when trying to set assigned access.
    Any ideas ?

    Kind regards, Andre

    23 Aug 2016 - Reply
    • MikePeters

      In order to see it in the list of Assigned Access apps, you will need to log in as the user you intend to assign the app and open that app. You only need to do this once. I created a local user with no admin rights just for this use.

      23 Aug 2016 - Reply
  4. Andre

    Thanks, that did it.
    But I had to install the WAS installer-app for that user again. Is there a way
    for my “admin”-account to intall the web-app via the WAS-installer and set it
    “for all users” like in the old days ?

    kind regards,

    23 Aug 2016 - Reply
    • MikePeters

      I think with the WAS installer-app you have to do it per user. If you figure out how to properly sideload the app (which I’m not sure you can do with the installation package that is generated from the App Studio site), I bet it will work for all users.

      23 Aug 2016 - Reply
      • Andre

        Hi again.

        I am still trying to get this kiosk-app right…
        I did all sorts of things to auto-logon, remove log-screen and disable login-after-standby and such… But still there are times, when waking ip from standby via touch on the screen,
        the screen is completely black (sometimes white, or that windows-blue) and you need to
        press ctrl+alt+delete, after which the auto-logon-user (the one with assigned access) automatically logs in, or you get sent to the logon-screen.

        I read about above-lock-screen-apps. Is there a way to declare this app in the manifest
        as such an app to avoid my problems ?

        Thanks for your reply!

        29 Aug 2016 - Reply
  5. Hoi Free

    Hello, I can generate the ‘Installable Package’ and install onto a Win10 tablet’s local account. However, it does not show up in the App list even after opened the App from that local user account. I need to use ‘set-assignedaccess’ via Powershell to accomplish it. This happens to ‘Fresh Paint’ and your ‘The Billable Life’ Apps as well. Only ‘Groove Music’ & ‘OneNote’ appeared on the App List for setting up Assigned Access.

    Lastly, do you know the usage of the ‘uri rules’ when creating Hosted Web App?

    Glad to read your posts which are very helpful!


    25 Aug 2016 - Reply
    • Mike

      I also have the problem of the app not showing in the App list. and not even command line, so unable to use assigned access yet.

      26 Oct 2016 - Reply
      • MikePeters

        Did you log in as the user you want to be the kiosk user, and install the app as that user?

        27 Oct 2016 - Reply
      • Mike

        never mind, I found it by deduction. bunch of jumbled text, figured out from the version in the app list. Would be a good idea to get a list of the apps before installing, and then compare to list after to know which one it is.

        27 Oct 2016 - Reply
  6. Kevin

    Create account

    Log into account

    Set up wallpaper and lock screen wallpaper (since this will display if user logs out)

    Set up primary color (will be seen in edge browser)

    Log out, log into admin account

    Open a PowerShell window as an administrator

    Set-AssignedAccess -AppUserModelId Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe!MicrosoftEdge -UserName “Guest Login”

    19 Mar 2017 - Reply
  7. stajs

    FYI, they are sunsetting Windows App Studio:

    They are replacing with Windows Template Studio (a Visual Studio extension):

    24 Jul 2017 - Reply

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