Chocolatey is a package manager for Windows.
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About Chocolatey

I do not like Windows much (ahem), but still, sometimes I have to use it. Recently, I got a new laptop, which is a nice event, but I did not look forward to the burden of installing all my favorite applications. Since I heard about Chocolatey, I took the big leap of faith and installed Chocolatey CLI and tried it out.

Chocolatey is a package manager, which means that it can install software for you.

By wrapping software (like firefox or notepad++) into a so-called package, the installation process for the user gets simplified: Instead of finding the website of the application, downloading the installer, finding and studying the install instructions and installing it, you can just type a single command at the command line:

choco install firefox

Hence, every application is installed in the same way.

You have to go to https://chocolatey.org/packages to find the correct name of the package: e.g. Notepad++ has a package name of notepadplusplus.

There seems to be a Chocolatey GUI, too, which I did not try.

Updating software

I have been using the laptop for a month or so now, and am quite pleased with the way Chocolatey installed my applications - I notice no difference with the way I normally install applications.

And the nicest of all: every week or so, and at a moment that suits me, I type:

choco upgrade all -y

See the result:

Windows PowerShell
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PS C:\windows\system32> choco upgrade all -y
Chocolatey v0.10.15
Upgrading the following packages:
all
By upgrading you accept licenses for the packages.
autohotkey.portable v1.1.33.02 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
chocolatey v0.10.15 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
chocolatey-core.extension v1.3.5.1 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
chocolatey-dotnetfx.extension v1.0.1 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
chocolatey-windowsupdate.extension v1.0.4 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
dotnetfx v4.8.0.20190930 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
eid-belgium v4.4.24 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
eid-belgium-viewer v4.4.23.4246 is the latest version available based on your source(s).

You have Firefox v85.0 installed. Version 85.0.2 is available based on your source(s).
Progress: Downloading Firefox 85.0.2... 100%

Firefox v85.0.2 [Approved]
firefox package files upgrade completed. Performing other installation steps.
Downloading Firefox 64 bit
from 'https://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-85.0.2-ssl&os=win64&lang=en-US'
Progress: 100% - Completed download of C:\Users\vandemi\AppData\Local\Temp\chocolatey\Firefox\85.0.2\Firefox Setup 85.0.2.exe (53.17 MB).
Download of Firefox Setup 85.0.2.exe (53.17 MB) completed.
Hashes match.
Installing Firefox...
Firefox has been installed.
firefox may be able to be automatically uninstalled.
The upgrade of firefox was successful.
Software installed to 'C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox'
InkScape v1.0.2 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
jre8 v8.0.281 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
KB2919355 v1.0.20160915 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
KB2919442 v1.0.20160915 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
KB2999226 v1.0.20181019 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
KB3033929 v1.0.5 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
KB3035131 v1.0.3 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
libreoffice-still v7.0.4 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
nextcloud-client v3.1.2 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
notepadplusplus v7.9.2 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
notepadplusplus.install v7.9.2 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
okular v20.04.0 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
pencil v3.1.0 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
slack v4.12.2 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
soapui v5.6.0 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
tortoisesvn v1.14.0.28885 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
totalcommander v9.51 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
unzip v6.0 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
vcredist140 v14.28.29325.2 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
vlc v3.0.12 is the latest version available based on your source(s).
zip v3.0 is the latest version available based on your source(s).

Chocolatey upgraded 1/30 packages.
See the log for details (C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\logs\chocolatey.log).

Upgraded:
- firefox v85.0.2
PS C:\windows\system32>

Downsides

OK, these were all the positive points. Slightly disapointing is:

  • I need to run the Power Shell as Administrator to install/update/remove - for me it does not work as normal user in a normal DOS box.
  • Installing Chocolatey itself is not so easy.

All applications available as package?

Surprisingly, all applications that I need are available as package.

And the quality is good, they all worked without problem.

I do not know who is creating and maintaining all these packages, and why, but they sure do a great job. Thanks!