Windows 10 is getting better and better, in every way, with each subsequent release adding new features and improvements. And the Settings app, one of my favorite spots to explore new things, is on a roll to phase out the classic Control Panel.
Now those days are gone forever when developers had to walk through a checklist to prepare Windows 10 PC and Mobile devices for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app development, test and deployment.
With Windows 10 Anniversary Update, version 1607, we are greeted with a dedicated ‘developer-centric’ page in Settings, which is a kind of one stop shop for all developer features required to build UWP apps – an evolution of Windows Runtime (WinRT) apps.
What are Windows 10’s developer features?
Windows 10 now includes an array of configuration options that are categorized in two modes i.e. Sideload apps and Developer mode.
As the name suggests, the Sideload apps allows app installs from unknown sources – like an app (.appx or .appxbundle package) downloaded from a website that you trust or internal to your company only, without going through the Windows Store however, you must provide and install a trusted certificate.
In the Developer mode, you can sideload apps, and also develop and debug apps using Visual Studio. Unlike Windows 8.1, there is no registration or developer license required. In addition, it lets you enable Windows Device Portal for remote diagnostics over USB and LANs, configure firewall rules for SSH services to install apps remotely, and install Windows Subsystem for Linux (Bash on Ubuntu on Windows) on a developer machine.
In addition, there’s a collection of Windows Explorer tweaks, and Remote Desktop and PowerShell settings that help you make a more developer friendly Windows environment.
Is Activating Windows 10’s Developer Mode safe?
This is tricky as enabling developer mode allows not only external apps to install without a trusted certificate, but also alters firewall rules for SSH services to allow remote installation of apps. So before jumping on the bandwagon, make sure what these apps are for.
I’m discouraging you but here’s the deal: If you are a regular computer user doing your day-to-day activities like playing games, web browsing, email or Office apps, you should avoid it. However, if you are a Windows developer and build UWP apps, it is must and you need to activate Developer Mode on both the developer machine, and on any devices, you’ll use to test your code.
Enable Developer Mode in Windows 10 (PC and Mobile)
- Open Settings, choose Update & security and then choose For developers.
- To enable developer features, either choose Developer mode or Sideload apps – depending on your needs.
- Read the disclaimer and click Yes to turn on the selected developer setting.
Enable Developer Mode in Windows 10 using Registry Editor (PC only)
- Run Registry Editor (In the search box on the taskbar, type
regeditand select the top result, regedit Run command)
- Navigate to the following key:
- To turn on app sideloading, create or modify a DWORD (32-bit) Value called
AllowAllTrustedApps, and then set it to 1. And to enable developer mode, create or modify another DWORD value called
AllowDevelopmentWithoutDevLicense, and then set it to 1.
Enable Developer Mode in Windows 10 using Local Group Policy Editor (PC only)
- Run Local Group Policy Editor (In the search box on the taskbar, type
gpeditand select the top result, Edit group policy Control Panel)
- Go to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > App Package Deployment
- To turn on app sideloading, just enable the Allow all trusted apps to install And to turn on developer mode, also enable the Allows development of Windows Store apps and installing them from an integrated development environment (IDE) setting.