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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Update: This guide is a bit outdated, and might only work for those with actual App Hub accounts.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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