How to use Windows Package Manager to install apps and programs

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Source: Windows Central

There is no shortage of methods for installing apps on Windows 10, but one of the latest, and still in development, is Windows Package Manager. Similar to Linux, it is a tool that allows for streamlined installations using the command line.

If you want to take a tour, here’s how.

Installing Windows Package Manager

Windows Package ManagerSource: Windows Central

The first thing to do is to make sure that Windows Package Manager is installed on your PC. It’s not particularly difficult, but there are a few prerequisites to complete.

For this guide, we’re going to assume you’ve got it installed and ready to go, but if you need help setting it up, our comprehensive guide can help.

How to use Windows Package Manager to install apps

Once installed, you can use Windows Package Manager from the command prompt, Windows PowerShell, or PowerShell 7, as well as any of these shells from the Windows Terminal app.

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When installing software, sometimes you will need elevated permissions, which can interrupt the silent installation process. The easiest way is to make sure that you are running the shell of your choice with administrator rights, choosing Execute as administrator in the right click menu.

PowerShellSource: Windows Central

Installation is straightforward and there is one key command to remember:

winget install

All you need to know is the name of the package. In the image below I installed PowerToys simply by entering winget install powertoys in PowerShell.

Windows Package ManagerSource: Windows Central

You can only install then, to uninstall you will have to do it the old fashioned way through Control Panel, but you would assume that an uninstall feature would be somewhere on the roadmap. An alternative package manager, Chocolatey, for example, has this built into Windows.

But how do you actually find the packages to install? The best places to start are the winget-pkgs GitHub repository, where there’s a pretty big catalog of things you can install, as well as the great third-party resource, winstall.app.

The added power of using Windows Package Manager to install apps over just downloading an executable from a website is that you can install multiple apps at once with a single command. This sort of thing is especially useful in the enterprise for deploying to multiple machines at once, but it’s still quite convenient for the home user.

This sample extract from winstall.app illustrates this perfectly:

winget install --id=Microsoft.Teams -e ; winget install --id=Zoom.Zoom -e ; winget install --id=Notion.Notion -e ; winget install --id=SlackTechnologies.Slack -e ; winget install --id=Toggl.TogglDesktop -e ; winget install --id=ShareX.ShareX -e ; winget install --id=Loom.Loom -e ; winget install --id=LogMeIn.LastPass -e ; winget install --id=Spotify.Spotify -e ; winget install --id=Discord.Discord -e ; winget install --id=TeamViewer.TeamViewer -e ; winget install --id=Microsoft.Skype -e ; winget install --id=Microsoft.Edge -e ; winget install --id=Mozilla.Firefox -e ; winget install --id=Google.Chrome -e ; winget install --id=Microsoft.OneDrive -e ; winget install --id=Google.DriveFileStream -e

Granted, this is a fairly large command, but it will also grab and install 17 applications. The time saved on each of these 17 download locations, downloading the installers and then running them is incredible.

Windows Package ManagerSource: Windows Central

It also means that you can create a script to reuse over and over again with a set of apps that you will need for a specific purpose, and the winstall.app site will also allow you to download a batch file or ps1 script file for such a goal. Or you can create your own on the site or from scratch.

If you also want to see more details about the package you are downloading, there is a simple command that will show a full record of what it is and where it came from:

winget show

And if you want to dig a little deeper into the Windows Package Manager, enter it into the terminal to bring up a list of all running commands.

winget --help

Even as a work in progress this is a really awesome tool that will only get better and better and it is fantastic to see such a tool worked by Microsoft.


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