Microsoft has a new Windows Package Manager that lets you install applications from the command line. Mehedi Hassan’s winstall provides an easy web app you can use to quickly and easily install your favorite Windows applications in a few clicks.
How This Works: winstall and winget Explained
Microsoft’s Windows Package Manager, also named “winget,” lets you quickly download and install one or more applications with a single command. It’s a lot like a Linux package manager. As of early November 2020, the Windows Package Manager is still in preview form and is not yet included in Windows 10. However, it will one day be stable and built into Windows 10.
That’s great news, but most people don’t want to use the command line, preferring to install their apps using a graphical interface. That’s what winstall, a third-party application, does. Created by Mehedi Hassan, winstall is a web-based interface that lets you choose your favorite applications in a browser. The website then gives you the command that will automatically install your selected apps with winget. You don’t need to know how winget works or write the command yourself.
It’s a lot like Ninite, but it uses the Windows Package Manager.
Here’s one reason winstall is great: You don’t have to install any extra software. It’s a website that generates a command that works with the Windows Package Manager. You can see exactly what it’s doing on your computer.
In the future, there will likely be other graphical interfaces for the Windows Package Manager. winstall is just the first popular one.
How to Install Your Favorite Apps With winstall
First, you’ll need to install winget from Microsoft. Without winget installed, winstall won’t work. In the future, winget will be part of Windows 10, and you’ll be able to use a tool like winstall on any PC without any setup.
With the Windows Package Manager installed on your PC, head to the winstall website. Use the search box or browse the popular and featured apps, adding whatever apps you want in your install script.
Once you’ve chosen all your favorite apps on the website, click the “Generate Script” button at the bottom of the page.
The winstall website will show you the command you need to run to install your apps. You can see the full list of apps at the bottom of this page. You can remove any you don’t want.
To install them, open a Windows Terminal, Command Prompt, or PowerShell window. For example, you can right-click the Start button or press Windows+X and select “Windows PowerShell” to open a PowerShell window. You don’t have to launch it as Administrator.
Copy-paste the command from the web page into the command-line environment and press Enter. (If you’re using PowerShell, be sure to select “Show PowerShell script” on the website.)
You can also download a .bat or .ps1 file if you like. This is a script file that will automatically run the command shown on the page when you double-click it.
That’s it—the Windows Package Manager will automatically install the apps selected in the command line. You can uninstall them like any other app from the standard Control Panel or Settings windows.
The winstall website has other useful features, including the ability to create your own packs for easy distribution of your favorite applications to other people.
We’ve wanted a proper Package Manager for Windows for a long time, and we’re excited to see what other graphical solutions the Windows developer community creates in the future.
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