May 7, 2018

Like apt-get for Windows! Meet Chocolatey!

I'm surprised I haven't written about this already. I've known about it for several years now, so I thought I would have wrote about it before now... I guess I was wrong.

Anyway, I started thinking about Chocolatey again today when I was asked to come up with a way to easily handle third party application patches. There are tools out there that do it, but Chocolatey is free and it works pretty much the same way that apt-get does in Ubuntu. That means, you can script it and automate it!

If you are unfamiliar with Chocolatey, this is a description from their page:
Chocolatey is a package manager for Windows (like apt-get or yum but for Windows). It was designed to be a decentralized framework for quickly installing applications and tools that you need. It is built on the NuGet infrastructure currently using PowerShell as its focus for delivering packages from the distros to your door, err computer. 
Chocolatey is a single, unified interface designed to easily work with all aspects of managing Windows software (installers, zip archives, runtime binaries, internal and 3rd party software) using a packaging framework that understands both versioning and dependency requirements. Chocolatey packages encapsulate everything required to manage a particular piece of software into one deployment artifact by wrapping installers, executables, zips, and scripts into a compiled package file. Chocolatey packages can be used independently, but also integrate with configuration managers like SCCM, Puppet, and Chef. Chocolatey is trusted by businesses all over the world to manage their software deployments on Windows. You’ve never had so much fun managing software!
If you want to use it for 3rd party software updates, you can install Chocolatey, then just run a scheduled task that runs the following command:
C:\choco update all -y
It's important to note that Chocolatey will only update software that you've installed with Chocolatey. So if you already have Adobe Reader, Java, Flash etc. You will first need to run the install commands for these applications with Chocolatey before you can start getting updates. You don't have to uninstall and re-install though which is nice.

For instance, I already had 7zip installed, but now I want to make sure I get updates for it with Chocolatey, so I ran the following to install the latest version of 7zip:
C:\choco install 7zip -y
You can find a full list of their packages here:

What do you use to keep your third party software up to date? Let us know in the comments!

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