What is it?
Chocolatey is a free open source package manager for Windows. It can help you install, manage and upgrade software on your desktops or servers.
It can help make life easier than finding the MSI or EXE file needed to install software then walking through those installation wizards.
At it's core Chocolatey is an open source tool, that anyone can contribute to and help evolve. It is also free at the point of use, but there is paid versions for those that may need some additional features or are using the product in their business environment.
How do we use Chocolatey?
To get started with Chocolatey you need to install the software, to do this you can run a PowerShell script or use Chef, Ansible, or Puppet.
For most users taking the PowerShell script and running it on their desktop or laptop will be the quickest way of starting with Chocolatey.
Once installed you can start to use Chocolatey to speed up the process of installing software. For example the following command will help you install the Azure CLI tool.
choco install azure-cli
To find the command you use to install a piece of software can be found within the packages area on the Chocolatey website - https://community.chocolatey.org/packages
Of course installing one piece of software at a time is time consuming. Chocolatey allows you to issue a command that will install multiple bits of software together.
For example if you wanted to install the Azure CLI tool, plus Spotify and Microsoft Terminal you'd issue the command:
choco install azure-cli microsoft-windows-terminal spotify
Update software with Chocolatey
Once you have software installed keeping it up to date can be tricky. You might have to wait until an announcement email comes out or you get a notification. But built into Chocolatey is a command that allows you to check if any installed software has any upgrades available and carries them out for you.
That magic command is:
choco upgrade all
Uninstall software with Chocolatey
Uninstalling software is also a task that Chocolatey can help with. Again you can uninstall one or multiple pieces of software through the command line. For example if you wanted to uninstall the Azure CLI tool you can use the following command:
choco uninstall azure-cli
You can also use the uninstall command to uninstall multiple pieces of software at the same time:
choco uninstall azure-cli microsoft-windows-terminal spotify
Package Managers for Windows
Chocolatey is one of the options you can use for your Windows machines or servers to help manage software. There is another option, Windows Package Manager, which is an open source tool from Microsoft that is available to help you manage the install, upgrade and uninstallation of software on your Windows laptops or desktops.