I admit it! I like new, shiny things. Besides, I wanted to sync all my devices (Surface and laptop) to the same version of the OS. The Surface Pro upgrade was a breeze. Since I don’t keep any data on my Surface, it was a case of just running the upgrade. However, the laptop upgrade wasn’t as straightforward, since I’m running Windows 8 on a Mac Book Pro Retina using Bootcamp. Yes, I know, it’s wrong, but I like it so deal with it.
Since the inline upgrade didn’t work and rendered my machine useless (track pad didn’t work, mouse didn’t respond, I couldn’t click or select anything) I decided to wipe out the whole Windows partition and re-install the new Windows 8.1 from scratch with a clean install. My data is securely stored on my NAS and SkyDrive so at least I didn’t have to worry about this side of things.
However, as many Windows users know, after some time you accumulate a significant amount of applications and programs, some of them useful, some not; and the hardest thing is to remember which applications you really want and how to get them back. In the good old days, to install an application on your machine, you would have to open the browser, search for the application, find the right/legit one, download the installer and run it. Then repeat the same process for every application!!
And this is where Chocolatey comes in. Chocolatey is a command line (Powershell), machine package manager built with Windows in mind and it allows you to quickly search and install packages from the command line. No downloads, no 64/32-bit installers. You tell it which application you want and it works out which package to get and install on your machine!
To use Chocolatey, you first need to install it. Open the command prompt and copy-paste the following:
C:\> @powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Command "iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" SET PATH=%PATH%;%systemdrive%\chocolatey\bin
The command above will install and initialize Chocolatey and that’s all you have to do. Now you can start installing things as you please.
To install an application/package you have to issue a short command, e.g if you want to install Git you need to run the following from the command line:
C:\> cinst git
For a full list of all the available packages, you can visit the Chocolatey