Most Linux users would agree that “apt-get” is one of the many best things to happen to Linux. For those of us who have a dual boot system and miss the apt-get functionality on Windows, here are some ways to get that functionality in Windows. These are three good software updater programs for Windows users.
For people who are not familiar with apt-get, it’s basically a tool that allows you to download and install (or upgrade) software from a central location in one simple step. You dont have to go to the actual download location, save the file on your computer and then click on it to install. All of this happens in the background with the help of a database of all the available applications and their latest versions.
Download the zip package and extract it. No installation is required. Since most Windows users will not have “wget”, you may also want to download wget and extract and place it in a directory that is in your path variable. If you already have wget set up you can skip this part.
When you run QWinApt for the first time it will need some configuration. The dialog box that appears is not very informative. However you need to put in the directory where you want to store the downloaded files.
QWinApt will then download a list of all the applications that are available. The list is stored in a xml file in the config directory under the directory where you extracted the application. So if anything goes wrong you can just start all over again by deleting these files.
Once configured you will get a window like the following:
You can then browse for software by category and by their type as well. You can choose to view free software, green software and shareware. Click on the app you like and then download it.
Since Windows installations works different to unix software installations, you will have to run the installer manually. QWinApt however makes it easier to do so by providing you with a context menu to get to the executable of running it from within the application.
Although it may not be quite there yet (requires some manual intervention) , however it still serves as a central tool where you can look for software, download and install them. If you are interested in some advanced stuff or don’t find your favorite application listed there, you can create your own repository. All you have to do is edit the “appinfodb xml” file under the config directory. The author also offers a tool to make this easier for you.
Appupdater is another similar program. Although it has a smaller application database, the design looks more professional. Appupdater also uses metalink and previously mentioned download tool aria2c in the background.
First off, fire up Appupdater and run a scan. This will scan your harddrive for installed software that is also on the appupdater list, so that you can be notified of the updates available.
Now you can upgrade to the latest version of the software that you have installed on your system and which are also on the appupdater list by clicking on “Download all updates”.
You can install new applications from within Appupdater. If you find the application list is limited, you can request a new application to be added to the database here.
Appupdater can also be accessed and used from the command line. Run appudater –upgrade for upgrading all software or appudater –install=<app name> to install the application and appupdater –list to view a list of all applications
Appupdater checks for updates to the installed software every night at 2 am. You can customize this and other settings under Tools > Options.
InstallPad is a simple application that lists common software that you can check and install as desired. The list is limited to about 10 applications. However you can create your own and use them to silently install and update application.
You can choose a directory to store the downloaded files (from preferences). Further customizations are possible by editing the applist.xml file in the Installpad directory to add new applications and to change settings like silent install and maximum number of simultaneous downloads.
AppSnap, Update Star and 5 other ways
Check out previously mentioned ways to stay up to date with the latest software. Some of them are tools, some are feeds to let you know when your favourite software gets updated.
Have you used any of these applications? Which one do you prefer over the other?
As a side note why not tell us about say 5 applications that you can’t live without, applications you would always like to have installed on a freshly installed system and kept up to date using one of the tools from above.
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