Microsoft has launched the Windows Package Manager (winget), a command line tool to download apps on Windows 10. The manager has been designed for developers in mind, but anyone can use it to install apps using simple commands.
The purpose of the package manager is to save you time and frustration by automating the process of searching, downloading, installing, upgrading, and configuring a piece of software on your device. If you ever had to set up a new device or reinstall Windows 10, you know how time consuming is to find the links, download, and reinstall all your apps.
Using the Windows Package Manager, you can use a simple command to specify which apps you want to get, and then the Windows Package Manager will find and install the latest version (or the specific version you need) on your computer.
For instance, you can use the
winget install powertoys and the latest version of the PowerToys app will install on Windows 10. Of course, the repository has been available for a long time, so there not too many apps that you can get at the moment.
Microsoft isn’t using the Microsoft Store for winget. Instead, the company has created a separate repository to maintain and validate apps. However, there are plans to support apps from the Store in future updates.
The Windows Package Manager is also an open-source project, which means that other package managers can leverage the Microsoft repository of validated packages. In addition, software vendors can use the distribution system to make apps available to users after their package manifest has been reviewed and accepted by the company using the open source Microsoft Community Package Manifest Repository on GitHub.
The company explains that has considered other package managers, but trust was a require element. “One critical concern we had was how to build a repository of trusted applications. We are automatically checking each manifest. We leverage SmartScreen, static analysis, SHA256 hash validation and a few other processes to reduce the likelihood of malicious software,” Demitrius Nelon, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft says.
Package managers have been around for a long time, and they’re mostly used by developers to quickly set up a development environment with the required applications. On Windows 10, the Microsoft Store should be the best way to get apps, but even after several years, the system feels incomplete. However, the Windows Package Manager should overcome many of the limitations with the Store and ease the process of getting apps quickly.
The Windows Package Manager is currently in preview, and you can try it out installing the latest preview build of Windows 10 in the Fast ring using Command Prompt or PowerShell. Once the system reaches version 1.0, it’ll support older versions of the operating system until the Fall Creators Update. (If the
winget command isn’t working, you may need to download the App Installer from the Microsoft Store.)