Windows Package Manager is a very powerful and easy to use software installation tool on Windows 10. It is still in preview at the moment, but anyone can try it, and the most recent update adding an uninstall feature makes it something that you can start to integrate into your daily workflow.
The big difference with a package manager like this is that there isn’t a built-in navigable GUI to find the apps you’re looking for. And obviously, depending on the manifests submitted, you might not be able to get everything you want.
Still, there are several easy ways to search the Windows Package Manager catalog that don’t involve scrolling through thousands of GitHub items. Here’s what you need to know.
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How to find apps in Windows Package Manager in PowerShell
Ultimately, if you regularly use Windows Package Manager, you’ll be living a lot in a terminal using PowerShell. So it’s worth knowing the commands you’ll need to locate the apps you’re looking for.
The basic command that you should know is very simple:
If you enter this in PowerShell, you will be presented with a complete list of manifests currently approved for Windows Package Manager. Of course, it’s not very user-friendly, so you have to narrow it down with this template:
winget search (yoursearchterm)
The search term can be broad or more specific. For example, if you want to search for all Google software, type:
winget search Google
Windows Package Manager will now perform a more precise search and present the results to you. A list much easier to use than the first!
You will also see the exact term you need to enter with the
winget install command to install the app you are looking for. This is very important, because it is a little different from installing apps through a package manager on Linux.
For example, by simply entering
winget install StreamlabsOBS will not work because the correct package ID is
But that’s all there is to it. No need to leave the terminal and a quick way to find what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a way to find Windows Package Manager apps that are easier on the eye and a bit more colorful, then you’ll want to use winstall.app.
This great third-party tool was designed by Mehedi Hassan and is basically like using a regular app store. You can search and browse like any other storefront, but the coolest part is using it to generate scripts for a mass install.
It is not difficult to create these scripts yourself, but winstall.app gives you the option to generate an install script while you are browsing. There are also a number of select packs to choose from, built by the community according to various themes.
Copy and paste the script in is all you need to do.
If you find that something you want isn’t there, you can create manifests yourself and submit them to the repository. Microsoft has extensive documentation on how to do this, and it doesn’t take long.
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