As a long time Windows user I have always found it nice and easy to use UI’s to perform various tasks. However, some things are actually quite a bit nicer to do from the command line. One such thing is installing programs. Installation is mostly a tedious procedure where you have to go and find an installer to download, run the installer and carefully select not to install any crap with the software etc. It is a series of steps that differ from program to program and they are not especially fun – just something you have to do.
So what can we do about this? Well, we can use Chocolatey!
With Chocolatey all program installation become streamlined into a single command line operation. This means you have to think less about what to do, just look up the package you need and type it in. Package names are also easy to remember or maybe put in a text file so you have them when you need to re-install or upgrade apps. It’s very nice.
Chocolatey has been around for a few years and I actually tried it when it was released but found it to be a bit rough on the edges back then. Now it works much better! And the amount of packages available has also gone up considerably.
It is super easy to install Chocolatey. Just open up a command prompt (hit Windows+R, type cmd and press Enter) and then paste in the following:
C:\> @powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Command "iex ((new-object net.webclient) .DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" && SET PATH=%PATH%;%systemdrive%\chocolatey\bin
Yeah, this is a mouthful of stuff. What it does is to run a Powershell command that downloads and runs a script that installs Chocolatey. This could have been done with a regular installer program but this is a way to promote installation via the command prompt to make it easy to get going.
Once you have installed Chocolatey you can go ahead and install programs from the command prompt by simply typing cinst:
C:\> cinst vlc
This command will install the latest VLC for you in one simple step (you need to click Yes in the UAC prompt though). This works even if you already have VLC installed. Go ahead and try it now!
Just for fun I recorded a video of the installation procedure just to show you how easy it is to set it up.
So, there you have it – package management for Windows. With my Mac I use Homebrew and it is lovely and I’m really happy to see the same type of tool coming to Windows too. If you haven’t tried it yet – now is the time! :)