Although this fea­ture is deal­ing with Win­dows, it would be a canny move to take a look at what the com­pe­ti­tion is up to. Most fla­vors of Linux are per­fectly ca­pa­ble of in­stalling soft­ware from files that have been di­rectly down­loaded—how­ever, that’s not the usual method. Linux tends to rely on a dis­parate group of pack­age man­agers, small tools that can down­load, in­stall, up­date, and re­move soft­ware—thus deal­ing with both the has­sle of find­ing it and in­stalling any­thing else your ma­chine might re­quire to get it run­ning.

Win­dows has been em­ploy­ing its own un­der-the-hood pack­age man­ager for some time, a Power shell app called Pack­age Man­age­ment, which is a fork of open-source down­loader One Get. It is baf­flingly com­plex—mas­ter­ing it is a task for an­other day, although if you’re in­trigued enough to ex­per­i­ment, you can read more about it at Bet­ter, we think, to start with some­thing more user­friendly and sweet.

Cho­co­latey is the de­li­cious-sound­ing Win­dows ana­log to Linux tools such as apt-get, yum, and pacman, and it works in much the same way. Mi­crosoft even uses its frame­work (which spawned from open-source app NuGet, just to add to the com­plex­ity of the soft­ware man­age­ment fam­ily tree) as part of Pack­age Man­age­ment, which is a ring­ing en­dorse­ment. To get the com­mand-line ver­sion in­stalled, open up an ad­min­is­tra­tive com­mand prompt by hold­ing Shift, right-click­ing the “Start” but­ton, and se­lect­ing “Com­mand Prompt (ad­min).” Head over to www.cho­co­­stall, then copy and paste the top in­stall line into your com­mand prompt. Let it run for a while, then close and reopen the win­dow once the C:> prompt reap­pears.

The first thing to try is, we have to ad­mit, a lit­tle re­cur­sive. Try typ­ing:

choco up­grade cho­co­latey into a fresh com­mand prompt, and you’ll see Cho­co­latey’s in­ter­face in ac­tion as it heads off to see whether there’s a new ver­sion of it­self avail­able. There won’t be, of course, be­cause we’ve just in­stalled it. But if there were, it would down­load and per­form the up­grade au­tonomously. Let’s get hold of some­thing a lit­tle more use­ful now:

choco in­stall notepad­plus­plus -y grabs ex­cel­lent text ed­i­tor Notepad++ from the In­ter­net, and safely en­sconces it on your sys­tem, for­go­ing any stan­dard Win­dows in­staller. The “-y” part on the end of that com­mand means you tac­itly ac­cept any con­fir­ma­tions that might come up dur­ing the in­stall, so it hap­pens in an au­to­mated man­ner. Replace “in­stall” with “up­grade” or “unin­stall” to per­form those tasks, and check out the Cho­co­latey docs at www. cho­co­ to find out more—there’s

What­ever your feel­ings on its con­tent, the Win­dows Store has ad­van­tages

a huge num­ber of ways to use it via the com­mand line.

You may be more com­fort­able with a graph­i­cal ver­sion, how­ever; use Cho­co­latey to in­stall the pack­age cho­co­lateygui, and, once it’s com­plete, you’ll find it in your Start menu as usual. It’s an easy in­ter­face through which you can man­age the pack­ages that you’ve in­stalled on your sys­tem, and click­ing the “Cho­co­latey” tab on the left leads you to the other ap­pli­ca­tions you could have Cho­co­latey man­age for you. The next time you need a piece of soft­ware, head to Cho­co­latey, type the name of the app in its search bar, and we’d wa­ger it’ll be there.

Unin­stalling is easy—and com­pre­hen­sive—with IOBit’s tool.

Win­dows’ Disk Man­age­ment tool can split up any drive.

Win­dows’ Re­store Points can quickly build up. Trash the old ones.

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