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Install Windows software by typing two words, skipping the usual routine of clicking “Next” five times and desperately trying to avoid useless/harmful toolbars. Chocolately makes Windows a little more like Linux, and in this case that’s a very good thing.

Linux users know and love their package managers, because they make installing software simple. Instead of opening your browsers, searching for a download, downloading a file, scanning that file for viruses, running the file and following unnecessary on-screen directions before pressing “Next”, Linux users only need to type a couple of words to quickly install software from a trusted source. Everything happens automatically.

Chocolately brings that convenience to Windows, and it’s long overdue. Do you want to install VLC?  Then just open the command line and type “cinst vlc“. Want to install Chrome? Type “cinst googlechrome“. It’s just that easy.

Using Chocolately

To get started, head to Chocolately. You’ll find a single line of code you can copy and paste into your command prompt.

You’ll find the Command Prompt in the start menu, under Accessories. Note that you cannot use the shortcut CTL-V to paste here; just right-click and click paste.

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Watch Chocolately install; you might learn something. Don’t panic if you don’t – Chocolately is simply downloading the necessary files and putting them into place. You might be asked to click “Allow“, but beyond that the process is seamless.

It’s hard to believe, but you’re not ready to use Chocolately. Installing software is simple – just type “cinstl” followed by the name of the program you want to install. For example, if you want to install Filezilla you need only type “cinst filezilla“:

The process is fast. The software downloads and installs and you don’t need to click “next” even once (though you may need to click “Allow“, depending on your Windows security settings). You can start using Filezilla as soon as the command is complete:

That was simple, wasn’t it? Of course, not every program on earth can be installed this way – as of this writing, 377 packages are offered. You can browse the complete list of Chocolately packages here.

In order to install software, you’re going to need to type the name correctly of course, so consult that site if a program won’t install properly – you’re probably just spelling it wrong.

Just A Few Programs

At this point most open-source developing tools have made their way to the Chocolately repository, and new ones are added constantly. If you’re reading this blog, however, you’re likely mostly interested in consumer programs. Here are a few MUO favorite programs, along with the Chocolately command for installing them:

Browse the complete collection of Windows software offered by Chocolately here.

Conclusion

I have, of course, only scratched the surface of what Chocolately can do. Be sure to check out the Chocolately Wiki for more information about using this software.

Installing software on Windows annoys me, but this helps fix that. Even if you rarely use the command prompt Chocolately is helpful, because it’s fast. Once you get used to installing software like this, you’ll be annoyed by “Next” prompts every time you see them.

But I want to know what you think. Will you be installing Windows software from the command prompt, or is Chocolately not useful to you? Let me know in the comments below, and also be sure to let me know about any software similar to this.

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