Microsoft is working on its own Linux-style package manager to make software installation go considerably faster. Here’s how you can get started right away.

You can install software on Linux by downloading installers from the internet, but the more popular method is to utilize a package manager. This allows you to install software quickly and quietly from the command line by simply typing a command to install whatever you want. You can add as many repositories as you like, but the method is the same.

On Windows, you can already do something similar with Chocolatey, a community-supported package repository and companion installer that lets you manage your software. PowerShell or Command Prompt is used to install Windows apps. However, Microsoft is developing its own, the Windows Package Manager, which is now in preview.

What is the procedure for installing the Windows Package Manager Client?

If you match the aforementioned requirements, the Windows Package Manager Client (also known as winget-cli) will be distributed through the Microsoft Store through an updated version of the App Installer. If you joined up for the Insiders Program, make sure your Microsoft Account there is the same as the one you use to access the Store.

You should now have access to the Client and be able to use winget to install packages.

There are other options, and despite being a member of the Insiders Program, I haven’t been able to get the latest App Installer through the Store. But don’t worry, you can also download it from GitHub and install it manually. This is the same version as the Microsoft Store version, but you won’t get automatic updates; you’ll have to do it manually.

To install manually, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the GitHub website for the Windows Package Manager Client releases.
  2. For the most recent release, download the appxbundle.
  3. Open the file you just downloaded.
  4. To begin the installation, click Update.

For you to utilize on your PC, the winget-cli update will now be uploaded to the already installed App Installer. It’s a good idea to bookmark the releases page because you’ll need to repeat the steps above to upgrade winget-cli when a new version is available.

If you’re bold or familiar with Visual Studio 2019, you can also build it yourself. Check out the GitHub page for further information. You’re ready to start downloading packages once you’ve installed them. To communicate with winget-cli, you can use the old-school Command Prompt, Windows PowerShell, or the modern PowerShell 7.

To make sure it’s all working, open any of the shells indicated above and execute winget —info. If everything went properly, you should see a paragraph about the version you installed.

When it comes to packages, you can find a large selection on the winget-pkgs GitHub repository, or you can use the wonderful third-party resource winstall.app. You only need to know one command: winget install nameofpackage>, and you’re ready to go.