Chocolatey Is a Package Manager Windows Desperately Lacks

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

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.

install docker via choco command

Let’s do one more installation.

choco install git
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.

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

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.

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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