Chocolatey Is a Package Manager Windows Desperately Lacks

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If you have used Linux or Mac you’d know that there are a few different ways to install applications. Both OSes provide command line interface that allows a user to inquire a remote server to download and install specific package/application. On Windows, if your machine is not managed by the system administrator in a corp domain then the choice of you installing an application is via GUI installer or Windows Store. 

Introduce Chocolatey, a Package Manager for Windows, much like MacOS’s homebrew and Debian’s.

apt-get

You can install regular Windows application via Window’s cmd (Command Prompt) with

choco

Get started, you need to first install Chocolatey. Follow the instruction from https://chocolatey.org/install

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install Chocolatey via command line

Once it’s installed you can try out some of the examples they have shown on the front page.

choco install docker

Installs docker for Windows.

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install docker via choco command

Let’s do one more installation.

choco install git
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install git via choco command

Chocolatey as of this writing has over 6160 community maintained packages. If you are setting up a new machine chance are there are applications from the list that you’d like to install.

What’s amazing is there is a GUI version of the command line interface, so you can pick and choose from the repository and install with just a click of button.

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Chocolatey GUI, list of Installed packages

If you already have Chocolatey installed, you can install the GUI by running the following command.

choco install chocolateygui

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Chocolatey GUI available packages

Once installed, you can launch the Chocolatey GUI from Start menu. From here you can pick and browse the entire repo and install packages from here.

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Chocolatey GUI Install Paint.net

The best part of the GUI is that it also maintains a list of apps that are installed via Chocolatey. It has a built-in version track to keep your apps updated. There is one drawback with this GUI app though, it doesn’t have a queue or concurrent installation. You are limited to install one application at a time, whereas if you are running Chocolatey via command line, you can script it and combine all the apps in one batch file and leave it running.

Overall, Chocolatey is a much-needed solution for managing all your Windows installations and keep them updated. If you are aware of ninite, Chocolatey would be a no-brainer alternative to consider for future setups.

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