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How to Bring Linux-Style apt-get Installations to Windows with Chocolatey

There’s a lot to be said for app stores and the way they simplify the installation and updating of software, but Linux users can take advantage of the apt-get command to gain more control over things. With Chocolatey, Windows users can do much the same from the command line.

Chocolatey is PowerShell-based, but it can be installed from the command line – just type out or copy and paste the following code and then hit Enter,:

@powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Command “iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString(‘http://chocolatey.org/install.ps1′))” && SET PATH=%PATH%;%systemdrive%\chocolatey\bin

Wait for a second while a connection is established, and Chocolatey will be downloaded and installed for you.

Grabbing any new software you want to install is now a simple matter of bringing up a Command Prompt window and typing cinst [appname].

So if you wanted to install a copy of the FileZilla FTP client, you just need to type the following before pressing Enter:

cinst filezilla

This is obviously a good deal faster than heading over to the official FileZilla website, locating the correct download link, and then saving an executable to your hard drive before starting the installation.

The command needed to download and install apps in this way is pretty intuitive. Want a copy of Firefox? Type ‘cinst Firefox’. Want OpenOffice? ‘cinst OpenOffice’. There are also handy combination packages such as All Browsers (cinst allbrowsers) that install multiple applications at once – in this case Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Safari.

For a full rundown of the packages that are available, head over to the searchable list on the Chocolatey website.

Had enough of an app and want to get rid of it? There’s a command for that too.

cuninst filezilla

Updating apps is similarly simple; to update FileZilla, for example, just type:

cup filezilla

You can also check for updates for all of your installed apps – those that have been installed through Chocolately, at least – with the following command:

cup all

There is a GUI available for Chocolatey (cinst ChocolateyGUI) – this kind of goes against the idea of replicating app-get, but it’s handy nonetheless.

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

  • Published 03/27/13

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