Ninite is a free web service which brings all your favourite free windows applications (including most of our Top 5 Open Source Apps) into one single installer. Which could be very useful for anyone who is resisting the upgrade to Windows 7 because they can’t be bothered with the hassle. With over 60 apps to choose from it provides a great service that is useful after a long winded upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Windows. However, it is also compatible with XP and Vista if you fancy a downgrade or just a fresh install.
The site itself is very basic. Consisting of just a single page listing all the different applications. The layout is neat and extremely easy to use. Each application is coupled with a checkbox which allows you to select multiple applications from the lists easily. The apps are divided into groups based upon their main functions. For example file sharing or web browsers.
There are many more from other categories and there is even an option to suggest an application for them to include on the site if you have any more ideas.
I’ve handpicked a few of my favourite applications from the list to give you a taste of what they have on the site. It includes most of the commonly used apps as well as some you may not have come across before.
- Windows Live Messenger
- Microsoft Office (Trial)
- Open Office
- Google Earth
You do not need to sign up or give an e-mail address, simply select your applications and click ‘get installer’. The site then consolidates all of the apps you have chosen and you download an installer which cycles through the apps and installs them 1 by 1. In my experience the installer is reasonably fast and gives the most up to date version of all software.
For some programs such as iTunes it installs a 32-bit or 64-bit version depending on your operating system. This was useful for me as it is annoying to find you cannot install your applications after downloading the wrong version.
The installer itself is very simple to get going, once you have clicked on ‘get installer’ a dialogue box will appear (it will vary depending on your browser). Just download in the same way you would any other file, open or save it, and then run the installer. It will download the apps individually and then continues to install them.
They announced recently that they are planning to include some ‘premium’ features which will not be free such as local or network caching for storing your installer files. As well as a silent mode that can be run from the command prompt which allows the installer to run in the background. However for the time being, these are free to any Ninite users.
Overall Ninite is a fantastic service which can save so much time and effort after a fresh install of Windows. It is much simpler than visiting the site of each program and downloading and installing individually, not being able to leave your PC in the meantime.