Never see an install dialog on Windows again.
Anyone who has used Windows, for any amount of time, knows the pain of installing or updating software. To give you peace of mind, here comes the Chocolatey: The Windows Package Manager that wraps installers, executables, zips, and scripts into compiled packages.
Having to go to the manufacturer’s site, download an installer, go through the multiple checkboxes, the possibility of bundleware, and the necessity of doing this over and over for each update is tedious at best.
What if there was another way?
Enter the world of package managers.
“What is a package manager”, you may ask? Well, according to Wikipedia,
“ A package manager, or package management system, is a collection of software tools that automates the process of installing, upgrading, configuring, and removing computer programs for a computer’s operating system, in a consistent manner”.
In simpler terms, a package manager gives you the peace of mind that you will never again have to type more than one line of code into a terminal, in order to install or update a piece of software.
Linux has had package managers for years but now thanks to Chocolatey, Windows has one as well.
You may ask “How can I get this great gift to humanity running?”
Here are three simple steps:
- 1.Open an admin level command prompt.
- 2.copy and paste the following:
@”%SystemRoot%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe” -NoProfile -InputFormat None -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command “iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(‘https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1’))” && SET “PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin”
- And press enter
- If you don’t see any errors you should be ready to roll.
After you have done this you can just open up a admin level command prompt and type in “choco install (package name) -y”.
If it is in the Chocolatey repo it will go ahead and download the package for you and install it without any more user input. If the package name returns an error, you can go to the Chocolatey site and search for the program in question, since it may be listed under a different name.
You can also input multiple packages and it will go through and install all of them.
(Chocolatey has comprehensive instructions here), for ways to publish your own software packages, although I haven’t gone that far).
To update all your software, you’ll only have to type in choco upgrade all -y into an admin-level cmd.
Please note: There is one very important caveat. Any program, (even if it’s in the Chocolatey repo), that was NOT installed via Chocolatey cannot be updated via Chocolatey.
Meaning, it’s best to start with chocolatey on a fresh machine and install all the apps you can via Chocolatey.
(In the pro versions, from what I understand, they have a synchronize programs option to do this, however, this is NOT included in the free versions. For more info, check here.)
This is a non-comprehensive guide. It is just to get you up and running, asap. This is how I have been using it for a while now, and I’m loving every second of it!!
Even more info
For more info, you can go to the Chocolatey documentation, which is thorough and easy to read, (at least for documentation).
For a superb video on chocolatey, with a bit of focus on enterprise management, go here.
At this point, I can say Chocolatey has saved me hours of time, and I have only been using it for a few months with no hiccups whatsoever. Let me know your experience in the comments below, or feel free to Shout At Me.