Ubuntu has its software center; Apple, its app store; Android, its marketplace. Although different in many ways, all serve the same purpose: giving users a central place to download, install and upgrade applications. Windows however, lacks anything close to this. Npackd, a third party program, aims to give Windows a similar hub.
There’s a lot of work to do if this is going to be as useful as other applications managers, but this program is already good enough to make your life better.
As always, you need to download Npackd to get started. Don’t worry; once you get this program set up you won’t need to mess around with so many downloads anymore! Fire the program up and you’ll see an interface Linux users will find familar:
Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem familar to you; it’s easy enough to use. Scroll to browse the applications, and double-click to see a quick summary of a given piece of software:
Like what you see? Feel free to install the application, then. Once you’ve highlighted a piece of software you can click the “Install” button on the toolbar to start the installation process. Unlike most Windows installation tools, there’s no need for you to click “Next” several times. Just let the installation start and the software will download and install for you, hands free:
This makes installing software a much less time-consuming process, as you can imagine, and there’s a lot of software to choose from.
Browse the list and you’ll find some familiar tools. Some MakeUseOf favorites are included, such as:
This is just a sample; there’s over 200 completely free programs to choose from and more being added all the time. Take a look and you’ll find a bunch of apps you know and love. It’s a far cry from Ubuntu’s thousands of free apps, but it’s a start for Windows.
There’s a warning on this program’s website, and it should be heeded. Do not use Window’s Control Panel to remove software you’ve installed using Npackd, because this can cause a mess. Instead, use Npackd to remove software you’ve installed using it.
I discovered this piece of software via a blog post on TechHamlet, and have been enjoying it ever since. As a Linux user I obviously like anything that makes Windows more Linux-like, but I think longtime Windows users will appreciate the idea as well. Anything that makes life simpler is good, and this program makes finding, installing and keeping free software up to date a great deal easier.
Do you? Let me know in the comments below. Also feel free to offer alternative tools for the job, because we always love to learn.