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Install XAP Files On Your Windows Phone 7 Device [How-To Guide]

Windows Phone 7 is a platform which is closely monitored and guarded by Microsoft (unlike its open-source competitor, Android). That is the reason you need to be a Microsoft certified developer to make and deploy your own apps. This process will cost you, but in the end you will have access to the Marketplace to publish your new app. However there is another way using which you can create your WP7 app and deploy it to your device, and to other users, as a XAP file. How is this possible? Read on to find out.

So you have searched a XAP file on the internet or found it on your favorite forum (for browsing XAP files, or to learn more about them, read our article), now what to do? You have to simply follow these steps to get an unofficial app that is not available at the Marketplace on your phone.

Windows Phone 7


  1. A developer unlocked device. To unlock your device, follow the guide for using Chevron unlock.
  2. “Windows Phone 7 Developers Tools” downloaded and installed on your computer.
  3. Zune installed and working on your PC.
  4. The XAP file you want to deploy stored to a known place in your PC.


  1. From your computer go to the Start menu and navigate to “Windows Phone Developer Tools”.
  2. From among the options look for “Application Deployment” and select it.
  3. When asked to specify a target device for deployment, choose “Windows Phone 7 Device”.
  4. Direct the tool to the file path of the XAP entity you want in your phone.
  5. Plug in your phone to the PC via USB cable.
  6. Let Zune sync with your device.
  7. Without letting your phone go to sleep, press the Deploy button in the tool running on your PC.

You don’t even need to restart your phone, the app will be visible in your phone’s app list after some time.

Update: This guide is a bit outdated, and might only work for those with actual App Hub accounts. If you have unlocked your WP7 using some other means, you will have to rely on options like TOM XAP Installer. If you want to use any third-party XAP deployment tool, you will still need to have the developer tools installed on your device, along with Zune. Make sure that Zune is running when you try to flash the app to your phone. Another option available for this purpose is WP7-3MktPlace, that handles every aspect of XAP deployment. You will have to search for that tool on the web.

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  • NightMan

    When I deploy my game by your instruction the game does not start, and simply transfer me to the start screen. If I deploy a game on Visual Studio running game going as long as the debug. If you exit debug the game also will not start.

  • DominCW

    I’m always getting this error when I’m trying to install more than 10 xap’s

    ‘Error: Unable to install application. The maximum number of developer applications on this phone has been reached. Please uninstall a developer application and try again.’

    Any Ideas??

    • pies

      you are only allowed to side load 10 apps

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  • Flexxlol

    when i use the guide i get all the time that i’m not connected 🙁

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  • Evros_michael

    not works…and now angry birds and fruit ninja tha i tried to install um my phone,doesn;t plays neither the trial versions!!!!!

  • Aleksandar Petrovic961

    PLEASEEEE I NEED HELP 😀 i cant install microsoft visual studio 2010 for some reason… i tried everything else, nothing is helping… i want to open .xap file and install it on my htc trophy, i tried it via IE on phone, but it says application not supported or something like that. heelp me, i really want an app for bluetooth transfer 🙂

  • Aleksandar Petrovic961

    Hey, I cannot install full program, any other way?

  • Mal Nushi

    Ok a lot of people are having problems, does this work or no?

  • Elisa

    thanks, this was helpful!

  • asd

    Nice! I just got a Minecraft card code for FREE! 😀 freeminecraftgiftcodes{dot}net

  • airtelmony

    Am really not getting al diz instructions