Ninite – An Easy Way to Install Windows Apps

The most time consuming part of installing Windows isn’t the operating system or even getting your settings back. It’s installing all your applications on your computer.

Traditionally for each program you’re stuck in a long sequence of download installer, run, click next several times, and repeat. There is a faster and easier way to install many of the most common and best free Windows applications using Ninite. Let’s take a look!

Ninite allows you to choose from a list of many of the best and most common freely downloadable Windows applications and libraries. You then download a single installer from the Ninite web site. This installer will automatically download and install the current version of each chosen application without you needing to do anything more.

Step One: Selecting your Apps

Ninite Web Site

Supported apps

The Ninite website currently lists over eighty of the most popular free to download Windows applications and libraries. Included are some of the best freeware and open source applications for Windows in categories including web browsers, messaging, media players, imaging, document creation and viewing, security, file sharing, and utilities.

Among the applications you’ll find are FileZilla, Skype, iTunes, VLC, Paint.NET, and Dropbox. You can also download common libraries and plugins including .NET, Flash, Java, and Silverlight.

From the the Ninite web site, you select each program or library that you want to install on your computer. After you’ve selected all that you want, you then click the large Get Installer link at the bottom of the page to download the customized installer for the programs you’ve selected.

Step Two: Run the Installer

Ninite Installing Selected Programs

The installer in action

Next run the installer. You can now sit back and relax as each application that you’ve selected is downloaded and installed on your computer. No need to go to multiple web sites. No need to download a bunch of installers and run each individually. No need to site in front of the computer to run the installer for each application. You don’t need to click a single Next button. The Ninite installer also automatically declines to install often unwanted extras like toolbars that some of these programs offer.

Even better, the installer always downloads and installs the latest versions of all selected applications. If you run the installer again later, it will update all your installed applications without you needing to go to each web site and check for updated versions.

Step Three: That’s It, You’re Done

Ninite Installer Finished

All done!

After each program installs, its icon will appear on your desktop and can be used immediately. When the Ninite installer finishes, all your applications will be installed and ready to use. That’s it. No more work required.

Updating Your Programs Later

After Ninite finishes, you will find each program installed just as though you’d downloaded and installed the applications individually. They will still show any desktop icons normally installed and be in your start menu.

Since the Ninite installer always downloads the latest version of each application, you can run it again to automatically update all the applications for you. This provides a fast and convenient way to ensure you are using the latest version of the supported applications.

Free Or Pro?

The free version of Ninite is for personal use only, but Ninite offers a professional version for businesses. The pro version adds the ability to easily manage multiple computers, hide update alerts from software, and support for software audits.

It also allows you to cache the installers locally eliminating the need to download the application multiple times when installing on multiple machines and create offline installers that do not require Internet access when the installer is run.

This pro version is priced based on the number of computers that you want to manage and starts at $20 per month. Ninite offers a Linux version currently in beta for those who work with multiple operating systems.

So, Should You Use It?

While Ninite only allows installing a limited number of programs, these include many of the best and most useful freely downloadable Windows programs. When installing a new computer, this program will save hours of time. Compare the few minutes needed to download and run the installer with the visiting each web site, downloading each installer, and installing and working through the installer for each program one by one.

Even more useful is the automatic updating of applications by running the installer again later. While some of the applications already include update ability, many do not. Using the installer eliminates the need to check each application’s web site individually for newer versions along with the time to download and install the newer version manually. Personally, this has saved me a ton of time and I think it’s worth your while!