Run an existing Universal Windows App (UWP) Package with HoloLens Emulator

The Universal Windows Platform (UWP) enables one app to run on every Windows devices running on Windows 10. In my previous post  – “Bringing Your Universal Windows Apps to Microsoft HoloLens”, you have seen how we can create and run a new Universal Windows Apps in HoloLens.  Now you may wondering, do we always need to create and run new Apps ?  or is there any way that we can run our existing Universal Apps packages in HoloLens emulator? . Well, the answer is Yes !  we can easily do that Using “Windows Device Portal” for HoloLens.

Open the “Windows Device Portal”  by clicking in the Portal icon from the HoloLens Emulator.

Device Portal
Device Portal

Start Building Holographic Apps with Microsoft HoloLens

Navigate to “Apps” tab and open the “App Manager” windows.

The Installed Apps  section will listed all the installed apps. we can select them to run it on emulator or even we can remove them.  Running Apps section shows the list of currently running app in emulator.  We can remove any Installed or Running App from this section.

Device Portal - App Manager
Device Portal – App Manager

To Load and Run an Existing Packages, Browse the App Package

For an existing Package, select the appxbundle or appx file from the browse dialog option  and then click on Go. This will loaded the packages and display a  “Done!” messages when it is successful.  It will display error message  incases there are errors.


Once done, go back to Installed Apps Dropdown – You will have your newly loaded App listed

Select the app from dropdown and click in “Start”’.

Newly Loaded App from Package
Newly Loaded App from Package

The Emulator will load the new App and which eventually will also appear in the “Ruining Apps” list

App Loaded in to HoloLens App Manager
App Loaded in to HoloLens App Manager


Running App from App Package in HoloLens Emulator
Running App from App Package in HoloLens Emulator

This App Manager section is really useful to manage your apps and packages. Play around and explore it more !

HoloLens , ,


  1. I have a hololens. This is a good overview but I think you are missing one more screen capture, that of viewing the file browser to select appx. It is not clear to uninitiated really what file is used for the deploy. It is definitely not the exe, nor in my unity build can I find a file with the appxbundle or appx extension.


    1. Is it ur Unity app ? or Windows Universal App ? You should be able to see .appxbundle inside the package folder . You can load this. Are you getting any specific.

      And I didn’t add that screen intentionally… as it is just browsing file name .

      Let me know if this helps.


  2. Hi,
    I have a holographic app developed out of unity. Now, is there a way i can install the app to the emulator through code?

    I mean, say I have a test project in Visual studio and I would like to install the app to emulator and run tests on the app installed in the emulator.


    1. Ho Swathi, When you have unity project created and UWP App build from Unity3d editor. you can just open the solution in Visual Studio and run it on HoloLens Emulator. This is a straight forward process. I have series of posts on HoloLens, and some of the initial topic covers the steps – HoloLens Tutorial
      Let me know if any further help is required.



      1. Hi Abhijit,

        Thanks for the info..i am able to run the solution in VS..but what I would like to achieve is:
        # Create a test project in Visual studio
        # Create some reference to the solution in the test project
        # Write some UI tests + Perception simulation
        # Assert the results

        I was able to achieve Perception simulation in a sample Console application. But how do I proceed with testing my application in specific? Is there a way I can identify the UI elements in the emulator and work with the elements to achieve functional tests..

        I would like to combine Perception simulation+Functional tests
        Can you pl guide me on this..


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