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Auto-download and install 120+ applications with just-install

19 June 2016, Mike Williams

just-install.200.175Windows package managers like Npackd provide a single interface where you can find, install, update or remove hundreds of popular PC applications.

Sounds great, but there can be complications. PowerShell dependencies, a GUI to explore, command line switches to learn, repositories to browse– not so easy, after all.

Just-install takes a smaller, simpler approach. No dependencies, no GUI, minimal command line switches, no awkward attempts to manage updates: just a hassle-free way to download and install the latest version of 120+ applications.

The silent approach is obvious from the moment you double-click just-install’s own setup program, and nothing seems to happen at all. Has it crashed? Locked up? What’s going on?

The answer turns out to be that the installer has no interface. There’s no “welcome” box, no announcement of what it’s doing, no “we’ve successfully installed” message– it just extracts its executables and makes sure they’re on your path.

just-install

Enter just-install –help at a command line to see its various options

For real convenience, you can even install just-install from the command line, like this.

msiexec.exe /i http://go.just-install.it

MSIEXEC goes to that URL, which resolves to the installer, downloads and executes it, without you ever seeing anything at all.

To be clear, this isn’t dangerous in the case of just-install – it’s a safe program from a known developer – but it’s a useful reminder of how easy it is for malware to get on to your PC.

Once the program is installed, open a command window as an administrator, and enter the command just-install list to see the 120+ packages supported, including CCleaner, Dropbox, Flash, Chrome, LibreOffice, Skype, Steam and more.

To install something like 7-Zip, just pass its package name to just-install, like just-install 7zip. The console window shows you download progress, but 7-Zip is installed silently, so there’s nothing else for you to see or do.

This kind of simplicity could be appealing when you’re setting up a computer. Create a batch file like this, launch it, and you can leave just-install to handle the download and installation.

just-install firefox
just-install gimp
just-install 7zip
just-install libreoffice

There are one or two extra command line switches, including -a to specifically fetch an x86 or x64 version. Use just-install –help to find out more.

Just-install doesn’t support as many applications as the big name competition, and the lack of update-checking limits its usefulness. But we found it worked well as an installer, and if you’re looking for something simple and lightweight then this is hard to beat. Go take a look.

Just-install is an open-source application for Windows 7 and later.

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