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 http://bit.ly/2gstsvW. 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.chocolatey.org/install, 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. chocolatey.org 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.