Little tip for updating Windows machines

Recently I have moved from Linux based machines to Windows 7. While I won’t go into which is the better operating system or why I’ve made the switch after many happy years of open source OSes - there was one major feature that Linux has by default that Windows lacks: apt-get.

For those who have no clue what an apt-get is, it is a package manager; a command line tool (in debian based linuxes) that will install, uninstall and update programs for you.

The thought of setting up a main PC and a laptop with all my favourite programs and keeping them up to date on a Windows OS is a bit scary. It was going to mean navigating to each program’s website, downloading the latest version and installing. That’s a lot of time dedicated to just updating programs. I went on a bit of a Google research and thankfully found a package manager for Windows called Chocolatey.

It’s based in the command line, but despite a rather complex install command (that you can find on the install instructions of the Chocolatey site) the system is really simple to use. If you want to install CCleaner, for example:

cinst ccleaner

will do everything for you. You might have to click to accept that you do want to allow changes to your machine but otherwise Chocolatey will do the rest.

You can also install more than one program at a time:

cinst skype teamviewer vlc libreoffice defraggler malwarebytes

will install all those programs for you. If there are any dependencies, it will install those too.

The best bit is that every week or so you can type:

cup all

and Chocolatey will update any programs that it has installed. Saving a whole load of time.

The install packages are maintained by the community, so can sometimes take a little time to get the very latest version, but if you are that desperate for the very latest version or think there is a killer app missing, you can create an install package yourself.

Take a look at the list of packages available on Chocolatey. Chances are that if it is freely available, it’s there.