While Linux users are used to have a package manager, and quickly install packages from a terminal with a simple apt-get, Windows lacked this functionality for years.
To get applications on a Windows operating system, you must search the web, go to the publisher website, download the specific application and then install it.
Does it worth mentioning that some vendors have some download pages which are hard to reach?
One other issue comes from security and malware that is present on fake websites, which trick people to believe they download the software they want.
Indeed, we do have the Microsoft Store for a while now, but that only contains Appx and MSIX applications, not the classical win32 MSI/EXE type of apps we are all used to.
However, on the 19th of May 2020, Microsoft announced Windows Package Manager Preview.
This is great news from Microsoft. Not only that it’s open source, but it also supports every single Windows 10 installation down to 1709!
As Microsoft puts it “If you are happy with your current package manager, keep using it. Our goal is to make installing software on Windows better for everyone.”
Right now, Windows Package Manager is not installed by default on your Windows OS unless you are an insider.
If you are a windows insider, check in your Add/Remove programs if App Installer is present.
If you are not a Windows Insider, you can always join any Insider rings and click this link to get the App Installer.
If you don’t want to join an Insider ring, you can still download the client from the Microsoft GitHub Repository.
I’m already on an insider ring, so the App Installer is present on my machine.
I just opened up CMD and typed winget install powertoy
Instantly, the PowerToys package was downloaded and installed on my machine. MAGIC!
For the moment a limited number of applications are present in the repository, but will time this will grow up.
Let’s see how this evolves in the future (maybe we can even get a GUI for it), but for now it’s a big step up in the right direction from Microsoft.