What is Chocolatey?
Chocolatey or Choco as it is sometimes referred to, is a free, open-source package manager for Windows that is very similar to Apt or DNF in the Linux realm. In other words, this is a program used for installing software via the Windows command line. It downloads a program, installs it, then it will check for updates, and installs those updates automatically if needed. Those who use Linux are quite familiar with the package management systems like this.
Some ask, “Why should we choose to use a program like this, since we can simply download the .exe or .msi software and install the program ourselves?”
That is an excellent question. Here are several solid answers.
- When we install a new operating system and want to use numerous programs, we must look for each program installer, download it, install it, and then regularly check for updates. The Chocolatey package manager this all by itself, when using automatic mode.
- Instead of searching for an executable installer, we can install the program using the Chocolatey package manager and complete everything using the command line. It is much more convenient and faster.
- We can conveniently and more comfortably control the application versions we need. Most often, when we go to download an executable for the application, it downloads the latest version for us, and we do not always need the latest version.
- Chocolatey provides clear, simple commands that are almost identically used in all package management systems.
- Windows 7 or later / Windows Server 2003 or later
- PowerShell v2 or later
- .NET Framework 4 or later
(As an aside, the installation will attempt to install .NET 4.0 if you do not have it already installed.)
Let’s move on to the installation. There are two options for installing Chocolatey. We can install Chocolatey via the command line or through PowerShell. The option to use cmd is most often used for Windows, and PowerShell for running scripts. In this case, we can run both cmd and PowerShell, but as an administrator, for this installation.
Install Using Powershell
When installing the software via PowerShell, we must ensure the local Get-ExecutionPolicy is not set to restricted. Chocolately suggests using Bypass to bypass the policy to get things installed or AllSigned for increased security.
First, we need to run the Get-ExecutionPolicy. If it returns Restricted, then we need to run one of the two commands below.
Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process
Now run the following command in the Windows shell.
Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol -bor 3072; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))
If there are no errors, Chocolatey will be installed. We can verify the installation using the choco or choco -? command.
Install Using Windows Cmd Shell
First, we need ensure that we are using an administrative shell.
Next, copy the following command to the cmd.exe shell.
@"%SystemRoot%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe" -NoProfile -InputFormat None -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command " [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = 3072; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" && SET "PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin"
And then press enter.
The installation should look something like this.
Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.18363.900] (c) 2019 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. C:\WINDOWS\system32>@"%SystemRoot%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe" -NoProfile -InputFormat None -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command " [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = 3072; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" && SET "PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin" Getting latest version of the Chocolatey package for download. Getting Chocolatey from https://chocolatey.org/api/v2/package/chocolatey/0.10.15. Extracting C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Temp\chocolatey\chocInstall\chocolatey.zip to C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Temp\chocolatey\chocInstall... Installing chocolatey on this machine Creating ChocolateyInstall as an environment variable (targeting 'Machine') Setting ChocolateyInstall to 'C:\ProgramData\chocolatey' WARNING: It's very likely you will need to close and reopen your shell before you can use choco. Restricting write permissions to Administrators We are setting up the Chocolatey package repository. The packages themselves go to 'C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib' (i.e. C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\yourPackageName). A shim file for the command line goes to 'C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\bin' and points to an executable in 'C:\ProgramData\chocolatey\lib\yourPackageName'. Creating Chocolatey folders if they do not already exist. WARNING: You can safely ignore errors related to missing log files when upgrading from a version of Chocolatey less than 0.9.9. 'Batch file could not be found' is also safe to ignore. 'The system cannot find the file specified' - also safe. WARNING: Not setting tab completion: Profile file does not exist at 'C:\Users\user\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1'. Chocolatey (choco.exe) is now ready. You can call choco from anywhere, command line or powershell by typing choco. Run choco /? for a list of functions. You may need to shut down and restart powershell and/or consoles first prior to using choco. Ensuring chocolatey commands are on the path Ensuring chocolatey.nupkg is in the lib folder C:\WINDOWS\system32>
To verify that Chocolatey is installed, we will use the choco command.
C:\WINDOWS\system32>choco Chocolatey v0.10.15 Please run 'choco -?' or 'choco -?' for help menu.
Excellent! Chocolatey is installed!
Advanced Examples for Installing Chocolatey
Install the Chocolatey Graphical User Interface (GUI)
Once Chocolatey is installed, it is useful for installing the GUI version if desired. Use the following command for installation.
choco install chocolateygui
Install Chocolatey Behind a Proxy
If you need to install Chocolatey behind a proxy, use the following Windows Cmd command.
@powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Command "[System.Net.WebRequest]::DefaultWebProxy.Credentials = [System.Net.CredentialCache]::DefaultCredentials; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://community.chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))" && SET PATH="%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin"
If you are using Windows PowerShell, ensure Get-ExecutionPolicy is at least set to RemoteSigned and run the following command.
[System.Net.WebRequest]::DefaultWebProxy.Credentials = [System.Net.CredentialCache]::DefaultCredentials; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://community.chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))
The Chocolatey documentation offers additional options for more complex configuration of this installation type.
Other Software to Install With Chocolatey
Chocolatey is useful for installing various software packages. Here are a few to get you started.
Google Chrome Browser
The following command is used to install Google Chrome with Chocolatey.
choco install chrome
Use the following command to install the Git command line (cli) Client for Windows.
choco install git
This command installs GitHub, the official GUI-based client for Git.
choco install github
The next command installs the popular open source SSH client, Putty.
choco install putty
Use this command to install VLC, the open source media player.
choco install vlc
Basic Chocolatey Commands
Now let’s review some of the basic commands for using Choco. Choco commands can be used in both the Windows cmd shell and in PowerShell.
To install a specific program, use the following command.
choco install <pkg|packages.config> [ ] </pkg|packages.config>
choco install chrome
For a complete listing of install options, visit the Choco install page or run the following command.
choco install -h
To update a program, we will use the following command.
choco upgrade <pkg|all> [ ] </pkg|all>
сhoco upgrade chrome
Update All Programs
To update all programs, we need to use the following command.
cup <pkg|all> [ ] </pkg|all>
choco upgrade all
If you noticed, the cup command is an alternative to using the choco upgrade command.
Search For a Program
To find a needed program for downloading and installation, we can enter the following command.
choco search chrome
See Installed Programs
Using the following command, you can see which programs are already installed using Choco.
choco list --local-only Chocolatey v0.10.15 chocolatey 0.10.15 chocolatey-core.extension 1.3.3 kubernetes-cli 1.18.2 Minikube 1.10.1 vscodium 1.38.0 5 packages installed.
We can update the Choco program itself using this command.
choco upgrade chocolatey
It is important to do this periodically because in previous versions, errors may be detected, and they need to be fixed so that there are no vulnerabilities.
Install the Chocolatey GUI
If someone is not comfortable using the command line, we can install the graphical user interface of Chocolatey using this command.
choco install chocolateygui
As you can see, using Chocolatey is very simple. Overall, Chocolatey is an excellent tool in your systems administration toolbox. It is reliable, definitive, and consistently updated. It is an exceptional product.
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