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automatically download softwareOne program that handles the downloading, installing and updating of software. That’s the goal of Npackd, possibly the first package manager for Windows. With lots of MakeUseOf favorites already available, this program is growing quickly and will in all likelihood continue to get better.

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.

Getting Started

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:

automatically download windows software

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:

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automatically install 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:

automatically download software

This makes installing software a much less time-consuming process, as you can imagine, and there’s a lot of software to choose from.

Supported Software

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.

Warning!

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.

Conclusion

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.

  1. Stefan Gabos
    February 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    filehippo.com does the job very well and it's very easy to use. also, it's only a 250Kb single file; it doesn't know as much as Secunia PSI but the later is not so friendly. and is not free either, if I remember correctly. ninite is indeed a blessing but has a different purpose.

  2. Stefan Gabos
    February 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    filehippo.com does the job very well and it's very easy to use. also, it's only a 250Kb single file; it doesn't know as much as Secunia PSI but the later is not so friendly. and is not free either, if I remember correctly. ninite is indeed a blessing but has a different purpose.

  3. Anonymous
    February 21, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Allmyapps.com is exactly the same with a more user friendly interface :)

    • jhpot
      February 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      Great find, CopyPastaa. I might have to write thatone up soon...

  4. CopyPastaa
    February 21, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Allmyapps.com is exactly the same with a more user friendly interface :)

  5. Pubudu@TechHamlet
    February 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    It sure is a really handy software! I was just looking for something like Synaptic for Windows... When i first used Linux, i spent several hours trying to get that experience for Windows :D.. Anyway, thanks for linking to my post in Tech Hamlet :D

    • jhpot
      February 20, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      You guys do good work, and if I get an article idea from you I'm going to link to you.

      • Pubudu@TechHamlet
        February 21, 2011 at 2:57 am

        Thanks mate :D

  6. The Old Sarge
    February 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm
  7. PSK
    February 20, 2011 at 3:09 am

    cant there be a software which just updates the installers and does not install the program itself?(can this be used that way?) and why cant there be a software which is non binding?

    • The Old Sarge
      February 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      I use filehippo.com

      • jhpot
        February 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm

        That's pretty good, though you have to manually install the updates yourself.

        • The Old Sarge
          February 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm

          I like control!! lol

    • jhpot
      February 20, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      Yeah, that would be the ideal. Sadly, I'm not sure how it would work...

  8. jasray
    February 20, 2011 at 12:22 am

    And hasn't it been posted all over the web that NpackD can only update programs installed by NpackD? In other words, once started with NpackD, it's forever.

    • Aibek
      February 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      Well, you do have to use Npackd to download/update/manage the programs installed by Npackd but that doesn't mean you're stuck with it forever. You may always uninstall it and install the software manually.

  9. Jonathan Cohen
    February 19, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Also, http://ninite.com/ which enables you to select apps from their Web site.

    Nowhere near as many apps, but the nice thing is that it generates a custom installer for your selection set. So you can save the .exe and run it the next time you install Windows, with all your selected apps ready-to-go.

    • jhpot
      February 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      We're big Ninite fans here at MakeUseOf; highly recommended.

  10. Oz1os Dk
    February 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for the recommandations and advicies about Npacd!
    But I have to ask: Is Npacd not quiet similar Secunia PSI ( Personal Software Inspector ) ? And if different are they then compatible e.g. will they conflict if installed on the same OS ( Windows XP, SP3 )?
    Regards from Ole.

  11. Jonathan Cohen
    February 19, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Also, http://ninite.com/ which enables you to select apps from their Web site.

    Nowhere near as many apps, but the nice thing is that it generates a custom installer for your selection set. So you can save the .exe and run it the next time you install Windows, with all your selected apps ready-to-go.

  12. Oz1os Dk
    February 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Thanks for the recommandations and advicies about Npacd!
    But I have to ask: Is Npacd not quiet similar Secunia PSI ( Personal Software Inspector ) ? And if different are they then compatible e.g. will they conflict if installed on the same OS ( Windows XP, SP3 )?
    Regards from Ole.

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