Installing software on Windows is easy, right? You just need to
- Search for the program you want to download
- Download an installer
- Run that installer
- Click “Next’ several times, all while
- Making sure to uncheck unwanted toolbars and other crap.
Not difficult, but annoying – and somewhat time consuming.
Now imagine if you could install software just by typing three words and hitting “Enter”. No waiting for the download to finish, no clicking “Next”, and no toolbars – just tell your PC to install something, and it will.
A package manager is coming to Windows 10 via the PowerShell. Meanwhile, check out Chocolatey. This free program is a package manager for Windows. Anyone familiar with Linux will recognize the concept, but Windows users need only know that Chocolatey is a hands-off way to install things: one command from you and software will be downloaded and installed automatically.
Say you want to install Chrome on your new Windows computer. With Chocolatey, all you need to do is open an administrative command prompt or PowerShell, then type one simple command:
choco install GoogleChrome
Hit “Enter” and Chocolatey will do its thing, downloading Chrome and running the installation process in the background. You can then get to work on something else, or walk away from your computer entirely, but you don’t need to do anything else for the installation to finish.
When the installation is done you’ll see Chrome is installed and ready to use – go ahead and use it!
Finding Packages To Install
You might be asking: that command was pretty easy, but how am I supposed to know hat to type? Let’s break this down.
choco install GoogleChrome
The first word, “choco”, is Chocolatey’s name. The second word, “install”, is what you want Chocolatey to do. And the third word, “GoogleChrome”, is the name of the package you want to install. This name needs to be precise, or the installation won’t work.
How did I know the right name? I ran a search for “Chrome”. Here’s how to do that:
choco search Chrome
Do this and you’ll see a list of every Chocolatey package that mentions the word “Chrome”. In this case there are quite a bit, but I found the package I was looking for.
If you’d rather not use the command line to find things to install, dont panic: you can browse the Chocolatey website for packages.
Updating And Uninstalling Your Software
Chocolatey isn’t just useful for installing software – it can also update it. You can do this a few different ways. The first: updating a particular package.
chocolatey update packageName
Simple, right? You can make this even faster by typing “cup” instead of “chocolatey update”.
It’s also possible to update every single thing you’ve installed using Chocolatey, with a single command:
This is really useful for programs that don’t automatically update themselves, like Calibre, so keep it in mind.
Want to uninstall something? The command to do this is predictable enough:
chocolatey uninstall packageName
You now know how to install, update and uninstall software. There are a few more commands; the best way to learn is to bring up the help inside the command prompt:
If you have any questions about this blog post, just mail me: lexvdhorst[@]outlook.com