Microsoft’s new package manager Windows makes it easy to install applications with a single command. This article describes the Windows Package Manager and the new winget.
What is the Windows package manager?
Package managers are distributed on Linux. Instead of searching for an application on the Internet, downloading the installer and running the installation wizard, you can simply run a quick command to search for and install an application by its name.
For example, to install Microsoft PowerToys, you can open a terminal window and type winget install powertoys. The team will automatically find, download and install the software without any further action on your part. It’s so easy.
Microsoft hosts its own software repository and other organizations and individuals can host their own repositories. This is an important function that increases productivity in Linux, especially for developers and system administrators.
Windows Package Manager is an open source project available at GitHub.
How to install Windows Package Manager
Since May 19, 2020 Windows Package Manager is available as a preview. At a later date it will be integrated directly into the Windows 10.
There are several ways to get it now:
Install Windows 10 insider build, register in insider program Windows Package Manager and install update for the Microsoft Store app installer package. You will receive automatic updates to Windows Package Manager as they are released, but you will need to run an unstable version of Windows 10.
Download Windows package manager .appxbundle from GitHub. Install it by double-clicking the file and pressing Update. You will need to install future updates manually from the same download page, but you won’t have to run an unstable version of Windows 10.
It is not necessary in the future and winget will be built into all stable versions of Windows 10. As of May 2020, it is in the preview form, as Microsoft tests it and fixes bugs.
How to use winget, Windows Package Manager
You can run winget from Windows PowerShell or from the classic command line. We recommend installing a new Windows terminal, if you have not already done so.
You can Download Windows Terminal from Microsoft Store. You can even get the source code on GitHub. Yes, a new open-source Windows terminal.
Command winget to see more information about using the tool.
To find the application, execute the following command replacing the name with the search phrase:
winget search name
To install the application, run the following command, replacing the name with the application name:
winget install name
To view more information about the application, run the following command, replacing the name with the application name or search phrase:
winget show name
To view the full list of available applications, run the following command:
In its original release, winget repositories are already filled with a wide range of popular desktop applications. You will find everything from common Windows desktop applications to developer tools. The list includes Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Zoom, Steam, VLC media player, Spotify, Windows terminal, Visual Studio code, Ruby, Microsoft PowerToys and many others.
To manage sources, run winget source. You will see a list of commands. For example, to view the current sources, run:
winget source list
The original version of winget only has Microsoft-managed built-in winget source code located at https://winget.azureedge.net/cache. In the future you will be able to add third-party sources using the winget source.
You can see more information on how to use one of the built-in winget commands by adding -? to it. For example, to see the different options that you can use with winget, run the following command:
winget search -?
Then you know how to work with the package manager winget. Microsoft will surely add more features to the Windows Package Manager in the future, and it will only become more powerful.
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