If you need to install Windows on a computer or set of computers, you probably want to install many applications that you use frequently. Installing each of these applications one by one takes a lot of time, and it is quite boring to watch this process. Is not there a better solution?
Most people will use Ninite to install multiple applications on their Windows computers. Ninite was developed by two experienced programmers who wanted to help people install their favorite applications without having to do anything themselves. They wanted to help people do something else while Ninite was busy installing everything.
Since Ninite’s release, it has been the first choice for people who want to install popular applications on Windows computers. You can choose the applications you want from a long list that includes:
- Google Chrome and Firefox Web Browsers
- Skype, Trillian and Discord messaging apps
- VLC Media Player, Winamp, Spotify, Audacity and AIMP media apps
- Paint.net, Inkscape, Blender and Gimp graphics apps
- Open Office, CutePDF, Libre Office and Foxit Reader document apps
- Avast, Avira, Malwarebytes and AVG security apps
- OneDrive, Google Sync and Dropbox cloud apps
- WinRAR, PeaZip and 7-Zip file compression apps
And much more like Evernote, CDBurnerXP, Team Viewer and many development tools.
There is a free version of Ninite that meets the needs of most users. For an extra $10/year, you can automatically check for updates to the applications Ninite supports, eliminating the need for manual updates.
You can also purchase a Pro version of Ninite, which lets you manage all your computers through a live web interface. Since I use Ninite myself, I wondered if there were any similar programs out there. So I went searching and testing, and now I present to you the 7 Ninite alternatives you should check out.
Best Ninite Alternatives
1. Chocolatey – Free version and Pro for $96/year
I have heard a lot about Chocolatey as a good Ninite alternative, but I had never used it before. When I visited the official website, I saw that there was a huge amount of applications and utilities available for download to Windows computers. I had to use a PowerShell to add the commands for the installations, which was a bit difficult for me at first.
Things got much better when I downloaded the GUI from here. I had to use . NET 4.5.2. and then I had a visible interface to keep track of what was installed and what was not. You can install your favorite applications and leave everything unattended while you do something useful when using Chocolatey.
I only used the open source version of Chocolatey and found it did everything I wanted. There is a Pro version, but only companies with a lot of Windows computers will opt for that version. Some people have said that Chocolatey does not install some applications well, but I have not experienced that.
2. Just Install – Free
Just Install is another good application for installing applications on Windows computers and is worth including in my list of Ninite alternatives. The way it works is very similar to Chocolatey. You have to use a command line process to install one of the common applications.
Just Install installs all the applications correctly and you can see them in the Control Panel. This means that you can uninstall them in the usual way. All of Just Install’s applications are downloaded from their original sources, and no repackaging takes place. Only the applications you want are installed and all dialog boxes and prompts are skipped.
I found that it was fairly easy to create a custom .exe installer that downloads and installs all the applications I need in one fell swoop, rather than using various command line strings. I would say it takes a bit of time to get the hang of Just Install, but I picked it up pretty quickly and it really helped me with those lengthy installs.
3. Silent Install Helper – Free
Another free alternative to Ninite is Silent Install Helper. What impressed me about this great free application is that you are not limited to installing specific applications, as is the case with other Ninite alternatives (and Ninite itself). With Silent Install Helper you can install all the applications of your choice.
However, there is no free lunch. I first had to download all the relevant program installers into the application before I could create my first set of installations. Silent Install Helper warns you when it thinks that a program installer is trying to install something unwanted, such as adware.
It took me a while to set up Silent Install Helper with the installers I wanted, but after that everything was a breeze. It was great that I was not limited to a list of applications, but could freely choose what I wanted to install.
4. Silent Install Builder – Free evaluation version and $299 for single-user license
Silent Install Builder is another good alternative to Ninite. Although it has a high price, you can use the free version, which is fully functional, to install your favorite applications on a Windows computer. You’ll create installation packages that contain all the installation files you need to install all the applications.
I found it fairly easy to create installation packages using Silent Install Builder. The application was able to recognize the most commonly used installers such as Windows Installer, Install Shield, Nullsoft Installer and Inno Setup. After I created my package, I was able to install all the programs on my computer completely unattended.
Similar to Silent Install Helper, I first had to download all the installation files for the applications I wanted and then add them to Silent Install Builder. Everything was very intuitive and the entire process went smoothly for me. There’s an option to use scripts to record the installation process if you need to install apps on many Windows computers.
5. RuckZuck – Free
Here we’ve another free Ninite alternative called RuckZuck. If your Windows version is lower than Windows 10, you’ll need to install .Net Framework 4.8 before you can use the app. I’d describe this app as a portable program that you can use to install or update many apps.
The interface of RuckZuck is clear and simple. All I’d to do was select the applications I wanted on my computer and then click the “Start Installation” button. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. RuckZuck downloads the installation files using PowerShell and then installs them on the computer.
You’ll notice that the available applications are organized into groups for easier selection. The available groups are:
6. Windows Remix – Free
I liked the simplicity and functionality of Windows Remix and it’s a well-deserved place in my Ninite alternatives list. After you install Windows, you can sit back and let Windows Remix install some of your favorite apps for you. There’s a good selection of applications available through Windows Remix:
- AVG Antivirus free
- Ad-Adware antivirus
- Avast free
- Avira free
- Bitdefender free
- Kaspersky Security Scan
- 360 Total Security
- Google Chrome
- Rambox Community
- Adobe Reader
- Foxit Reader
- Open Office
- Libre Office
- VLC Media Player
There are a few more applications that I haven’t mentioned yet. With Windows Remix, you don’t have to do anything other than select the applications you want to install and then start the process. The installation is done as a whole, skipping any reboots that some applications require (such as antivirus programs). When everything is done, a single restart at the end is enough.
7. Scoop – Free
My last entry in the list of Ninite alternatives is Scoop. Scoop is another command line installer similar to Chocolatey, but with one key difference: it installs all applications in a Scoop folder outside your user folder. This way, no administrator privileges are required.
I found it pretty easy to install applications from the Scoop repository. You don’t have to worry about tracking dependencies, just enter a specific command through PowerShell and you’re ready to start the installation process.
Keeping your applications up to date is easy with Scoop. To update Scoop, you just need to enter another command via Powershell and another to update all the apps you’ve installed. You can even update a single application if you want to.
Which Ninite Alternative then?
The first thing to say is that you don’t have to spend money on Ninite alternatives if you only want to use it to install your favorite applications on your home computer after a fresh Windows installation. If you want to install on multiple computers, that’s another matter.
Are you familiar with PowerShell and entering commands? If you follow the instructions carefully, it’s not that hard. Chocolatey is a favorite and so is Scoop when it comes to command-driven installers, and there’s even a GUI extension for Chocolatey that makes things easier.
If you’re looking for a simpler approach, try RuckZuck or Windows Remix. With both Silent Install Helper and Silent Install Builder, it’s possible to pick and choose your applications rather than selecting from a list of applications offered by a Ninite alternative. However, you’ll need to assemble some installation files first.