If you’ve ever used Linux’s apt-get command for installing software, you must be aware of the level of convenience it provides. For those unfamiliar, all Debian-based Linux distributions (including the popular Ubuntu) provides an easy solution to install apps by entering a simple command. This feature is as good as it gets and if you wish you had something similar on Windows, take Chocolatey for a spin. This simple, easy to use tool is designed to let you install hundreds of apps the Linux way; instead of downloading apps via your web browser and running the downloaded installer, you simply type a two-word command for the purpose. In fact, Chocolatey’s own installation process comprises running a command in the Command Prompt. Let’s take a close look!.
To install Chocolatey, you won’t require to open your web browser, download the tool and then go through any installation steps; all you have to to is copy and paste the following command in Command Prompt and press enter:
@powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Command "iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString('http://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" && SET PATH=%PATH%;%systemdrive%\chocolatey\bin
If you’re not sure how to copy and paste commands in Command Prompt, let’s guide you through that too. After copying the above text just open Command Prompt, right-click anywhere on it and select Paste from the context menu.
Upon pressing enter, the app will begin installation on its own, so just sit back and wait for it to complete. Once done, you’re now ready to download and install your favorite apps, provided they are listed in Chocolatey’s database, which as of now houses a host of freeware including Skype, VLC, Firefox, Chrome, Notepad++, 7Zip and many more. To check for an app’s availability, you can run the clist command with the app name, like this:
If the app is found, it will be listed, along with other similar apps in certain cases as well. Found your favorite app in there? Great – it’s time to install it, which is also fairly hassle-free. All you have to do is use the cinst command, followed by the app’s name and press Enter. Here’s an example:
You may get the UAC prompt, depending on your security settings. Though it’s the only click that will nag you during installation process, and your app will start downloading and installing automatically without any further input required from you in the process. If there are any dependencies in the installation process (i.e. any apps that required to be installed first in order to successfully install the app specified in the command), Chocolatey takes care of that for you as well.
You can see a list of all available commands by using this command:
The list Chocolatey shows offers long names of the commands. Fortunately, Chocolately offers shortcuts (like the cinst one that we’ve used above for ‘chocolatey install’), and here’s a list of all of them:
cinst: chocolatey install
cinstm: chocolatey installmissing
cup: chocolatey update
clist: chocolatey list
cver: chocolatey version
cwebpi: chocolatey webpi
cwindowsfeatures: chocolatey windowsfeatures
ccygwinL chocolatey cygwin
cpython: chocolatey python
cgem: chocolatey gem
cpack: chocolatey pack
cpush: chocolatey push
cuninst: chocolatey uninstall
All in all, it’s an an incredibly useful tool that allows you to do a lot in a very little time when it comes to app installation on Windows. While it already houses a stack of apps in its library, hopefully the list will grow as Chocolatey gets more attention from app developers. The app works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Testing was carried out on Windows 8 Pro, 64-bit edition.