Windows finally receives a native package manager

I have been managing Linux machines for over four years. One of the first differences you will notice between the Linux and Windows operating systems is how you download and install software.

For years, if you were running Windows, the most common option was opening your web browser of choice, navigating to the developers website, downloading the installer for the program, then launching the installer to finally install the program. Microsoft launched the Windows Store with Windows 10, but only “Universal Apps” could be listed in the store, so the Windows Store has not been widely adopted.

Linux on the other hand has had native package management since 1998 (Debian’s apt-get)1. There are four main advantages to using a package manager over downloading an installer from a website on the internet:

  1. You can search for apps from a central location. These apps are listed in trusted repositories reducing risks of downloading infected software.
  2. You can install applications easily without needing a web browser or prerequisite software installed first. Package managers handle software dependencies automatically.
  3. You can upgrade software easily. Whether you want to upgrade a specific app, or all the apps on your system, you can with a single command.
  4. You can export a list of your installed packages for backup, or easy installation on a new machine.

The new native package manager for Windows is called Winget. It will be included with Windows in a future update. For now, you have to install “App Installer” from the Windows Store to install Winget.

After installing “App Installer”, you can use Winget by launching Windows Power Shell and typing “winget” to see your available options.

winget list will show the applications installed on your computer that are listed in winget.

winget search code will search winget for all apps containing the word code

winget install “Visual Studio Code” will install Visual Studio Code on your computer.

winget upgrade –all will upgrade all of the packages installed on your computer.

Winget makes managing software installed on Windows a lot easier. I am excited to see what Microsoft does with this tool in the future.

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