It’s 2022 and installing software on Windows still looks more or less the same as ever. You find the app you want online, download the installer, and spend the next minute or two clicking through dialog boxes, hoping you haven’t accidentally installed malware.
But the process can be faster than that. Enter Chocolatey, a Windows app that lets you install nearly 10,000 tools with just a few commands in PowerShell, Windows’ configuration manager. And if that sounds a little intimidating, Chocolatey has a friendlier desktop version too.
Why you should use Chocolatey
If you’ve ever turned on a PC in the 90s, you’ve certainly seen the Windows or DOS disk operating system in all its glory — it was that dark screen with blocky white letters running command after command to get your computer up and running. PowerShell is a modern version of that: you can access it from within Windows itself just like any other tool, and power users love it for its power to streamline tasks with written commands.
[Related: 10 new features to get you started with Windows 11]
Most PC users have never opened PowerShell, but Chocolatey might just be the perfect excuse to start exploring. The program is a script that you can use in PowerShell to easily install and manage software, making the process much faster than the traditional way. Chocolatey automates all the searching, downloading and installation, so you can just type a command and walk away with your computer doing all the work. The program also makes the process more secure by using only official download links so that you don’t click on a fake one.
Finally, Chocolatey can manage important updates so you don’t have to check and download new patches for every piece of software on your computer. All you need to do is automate the whole process with a quick command.
How to install Chocolatey
Installing Chocolatey is easy, but before doing so, you need to open PowerShell as an administrator, which gives the program full permissions to do things like install and update software. To do this, search for PowerShell in the start menu, click on the appropriate item and then choose Run as administrator in the right panel.
Then go to the Chocolatey installation page. There is a single line of code below Install Chocolatey for individual use which you need to copy and paste into PowerShell. Touch Enter and follow the instructions. Chocolatey will warn you of any changes this will make to your system, and ask you to confirm if you want to continue with the installation. Type Yes for yes and hit Enter again.
Install software with Chocolatey
Now that Chocolatey is ready to use, you can install some software. just type install chocolate followed by the name of the desired application. For example, to download Firefox, type choco install firefoxand press Enter† Chocolatey will then ask you if you want to run the script to install the software—type Yes and touch Enter again.
Just like that, Chocolatey will then proceed to download and install the desired program, which will appear in your start menu, ready to open when the process is complete.
You can install multiple applications this way and there are thousands of packages that you can search or browse on Chocolatey’s website. Advanced users can read all supported commands, but everyone else can get started by learning the basics.
looking for chocolate
Follow this command with the name of the program you want to install. It quickly searches all applications that Chocolatey supports and lists them. This is a quick way to find the exact names of the tools you want to purchase.
chocolate upgrade everything
This command will download and install updates for any software you have installed with Chocolatey. It is a huge time saver. Alternatively, to update only one application, type chocolate upgrade followed by the name of that application.
After this command, type the name of a program you installed with Chocolatey to uninstall it.
The more intuitive version of Chocolatey
If you’d rather not use PowerShell to install software, we have good news: there is a graphical version or GUI you can use instead.
You can install this more user-friendly interface with Chocolatey – just enter the choco install chocolateygui order. As a result, you get an app store with all the program packages that you can get through the platform.
[Related: Run Windows on your Mac and get the best of both worlds]
Chocolatey makes installing and updating software on Windows a breeze. Installing a new PC makes it a lot easier to equip your machine with everything you need.