Set up your back-to-school Windows computer in minutes using Ninite

I’ve been using Ninite for years. It’s basically a one-stop “app store” for Windows PCs which offers dozens of commonly-used free programs like Chrome, Firefox, iTunes, VLC media player, Dropbox, and so on. The trick is that Ninite makes the installation process absurdly streamlined and simple.

First, on their website, you click the checkboxes next to the programs you want:

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Then, you download one small installer file, run it, and enjoy a cup of coffee while every program is automatically downloaded and installed:

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Ninite automatically declines all spammy installer options (like changing your homepage or installing browser toolbars), so you’re left with 100% clean installations of all your favorite programs.

It feels like there should be some kind of catch, but in my years of using this service, I haven’t run into any. Ninite’s business model is to win over individual users with an awesome free service so that their institutions might spring for the enterprise-grade version of the service. (It’s a common business model, of course– Dropbox and Google certainly do the same thing.)

Ninite simply does its job, and it does that job well. Go check it out!

September 17, 2013Permalink 4 Comments

4 thoughts on “Set up your back-to-school Windows computer in minutes using Ninite

    • One thing I didn’t mention in the article is that Ninite can also be used to update your existing applications. If an application is already installed, it checks its version and will replace it if a newer version exists.

      The only issue is that the update process is a little bit clunky. What it really does is download the full installer file for the new version and then runs a new installation to overwrite the old one. Granted, that’s how most smaller programs work anyway nowadays (remember the era of version-specific patches when everyone was on dialup?) but it has its disadvantages for bigger things like Java.

      After each update, a new shortcut to that program appears on your desktop, too, which is unnecessary clutter. And depending on how the program’s installer works, it can muck with your default program settings… Installing updates to the K-Lite Codecs reset my default video player to theirs every time, for example.

      Still, I use Ninite to update the basic application on the ELI PCs! Doing those updates by hand would be much too time-consuming.

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