In this blog post I will explain why to automate installations of Windows applications and how you can do this.
Why automate the installation of applications?
But first, why is this useful? Well this depends on your situation and there are probably many good reasons. For me though, it basically boils down to this:
- I often reinstall my computers with new (preview) versions of Windows operating systems and having to install applications each time is a waste of time. Also sometimes you forget to install some things.
- On a regular basis, friends and family either want me to install or upgrade their PC and I want to provide them with a standard set of programs that most people need/want without having to spend a lot of time on it. By example virus scanner, burning program, media player, codecs, etc.
- I want to update existing installed applications to the latest (and hopefully more secure and feature packed) versions.
- When installing applications, there are often checkboxes enabled to install other applications (you generally don’t want to install). Automated solutions using packages generally prevent these additional unwanted applications from installing.
Which tools to use to automate the installation of applications?
Before PowerShell 5 preview was released, I used both Ninite and Chocolatey to perform to automate installations. They both have their advantages as described on this wiki page.
The PowerShell 5 preview version of OneGet installs and searches software from Chocolatey repositories, but support of additional repositories will come in subsequent versions.
How to automate the installation of applications using PowerShell 5 preview?
To automate the installation of applications a couple of things are required:
- You need to determine which applications you want to install automatically.
- You need to determine the package name that Chocolatey uses for this application. Options include:
-Using a browser to browse the Chocolatey packages
-Using PowerShell and a part of the name of the application you’re looking for. By example if you’re looking for Irfanview, use:
Find-Package -Name “fan”
- Store the package names to install somewhere (e.g. in a .txt file on OneDrive for easy access). My .txt file by example includes:
- Use the Install-Package cmdlet to install all the packages whose name is in the file from step 3.
Install-Package -Name (Get-Content C:\OneDrive\AppsToInstall.txt) -Confirm:$False
- Wait for the programs to install
It’s great to be able to use PowerShell to install my list of favorite applications similar to like I did with Chocolatey and I’m also looking forward to see what benefits the additional repositories will bring in the future.
I did encounter some errors however while trying to install some applications like Firefox and dotnet3.5. But since it’s still a preview, this will probably be fixed.
For regular users, I think they are better off sticking to by example Ninite because they’re often afraid of anything that involves a CLI.
Blog posts by other people about OneGet
Some other people have also blogged about the OneGet module and have gone in more technical detail, so be sure to take a look at their posts as well:
More information about PowerShell 5 Preview including a download link
Windows Management Framework v5 preview, includes also Desired State Configuration (DSC) improvements and NetworkSwitch commandlets to manage network switches that pass the Certified for Windows Program. For more information including a download link, you can read the initial blog post. : Windows Management Framework V5 Preview
Tags: application, automate, automation, Chocolatey, CLI, installation, Ninite, Powershell, Script
The last couple of months I’ve been playing around a lot with PowerShell and I’ve also been trying to make some nice GUI versions for my script using PowerShell Studio 2012 from Sapien Technologies Inc. While looking for more information how to best use PowerShell Studio 2012 I came across LazyWinAdmin.
LazyWinAdmin is a great tool created by Francois-Xavier C that will save you a lot of time. It provides you with most of the commonly used tools and commands in a very structured and easy to access way. In the picture below you can see what I mean.
For more info on the tool, take a look at the website and be sure to download and test it yourself.
If you want to take a look at other useful tools I’ve found in the past, take a look at my applications list.
Tags: application, Applications, automation, graphical user interface, gui, Powershell, PowerShell Studio 2012, Sapien, Sapien Technologies, Sapien Technologies Inc., Script, tool, tools
Paragon is giving away “Paragon Partition Manager 12 Home Special Edition” for 2 days if you like them on FaceBook:
I don’t know when this offer started, but it would be best to use the offer as quick as you can and at least before the weekend.
I hope it is of use to you.
Tags: Facebook, Free, like, offer, Paragon, Paragon Partition Manager, Paragon Partition Manager 12, Paragon Partition Manager 12 Home Special Edition, partition, partition manager
In the last week, a couple of cool VMware related things have been made available for free:
- vCenter Operations Manager Foundation is the entry-level edition of the vCenter Operations
Management Suite that will help you manage the health and performance of your vSphere environment. It is now included for free with all vSphere editions. For more information about the complete suite, read the VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite Edition Comparison. Eric Sloof from NTPRO.NL also created a video showing of this tool.
- E-learning vSphere Data Protection and Recovery Fundamentals
- E-learning VMware vCloud Director Fundamentals
I didn’t have time yet to check these out myself. If you’re already using this tool or have already completed a course, please let me know if you liked it.
To keep track of free e-learning courses, bookmark mylearn.vmware.com.
Tags: course, data protection, e-learning, Free, ICT, operations management, operations manager, recovery, vCenter Operations Manager, vCenter Operations Manager Foundation, vCenter Operations Manager Suite, vCloud Director, vCOPS, virtualization, VMware, VMware vCloud Director Fundamentals, vSphere, vSphere Data Protection and Recovery Fundamentals
Tweakers is hosting the AppRace 2012 together with Microsoft. If you have the skills and time to build it, be sure to sign up for the AppRace. The best 5 apps are being rewarded with a Windows 8 RT device and the winner also gets a ticket for TechDays.
Today (December 6th) the kick-off will be at 18:30 CET. There will also be a live stream available if you’re curious about the event.
Tags: application, application development, AppRace, AppRace 2012, coding, ICT, kickoff, kickoff event, live stream, livestream, Metro App, Microsoft, Modern App, programming, Windows, Windows 8, Windows 8 RT, windows app, Windows store
Altaro is offering 50 Free PC Backup Licenses for ALL Hyper-V admins to use or give away to friends/family. You only have to send a screenshot of your Hyper-V manager together with your name and E-mail.
I have no experience with Altaro Home PC Backup, but since it is free, why not take advantage of ths offer and test it.
Tags: Altara Home PC Backup, Altaro, backup, Free, Home PC Backup, ICT, Software, tool, Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows client, Windows Vista, Windows XP
Last week I encountered error code 0x80070057 while trying to install an update to the “Fruit Ninja” windows store app.
The steps below were used to fix this error:
- Run powershell as administrator
- get-appxpackage -name *fruitninja* | remove-appxpackage
- Run “wsreset”
- Go to store page and click install
Thanks to this post that helped me resolve the issue:
PS: I had already tried syncing the app licenses, but this didn’t resolve the issue.
Tags: Fruit Ninja, gaming, Microsoft, Powershell, Software, Windows, Windows 8, Windows store, Windows Store App
In a previous blog post I compared Windows 8 tablets with other tablets. In it I said that it was nice that you could use memory cards to expand your storage, but unlike Android there is no easy way to move windows 8 / modern UI apps to the memory card and run them from there.
Since I saw the question pop up a couple of times and because I was convinced it would probably be possible, I went to look for a workaround. This is the procedure I used to change the default app install location:
- Close the Windows Store app.
- Make a new folder in the desired location. By example “D:\WindowsApps”.
- Run regedit as administrator
- Create a backup of your registry just in case.
- In regedit go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Appx”
- Take ownership of this path and everything below it (inheritance).
- Edit the value of “PackageRoot” to your desired location. By example “D:\WindowsApps”
- Start the Windows Store app.
- Install apps.
- Run apps.
Beware: I’m not entirely sure if and how this affects security, so use this at your own risk.
This article regarding the use of junction points may also interest you.
Tags: appx, ICT, Microsoft, Modern UI, modern ui app, regedit, registry, Tutorial, Windows, Windows 8, windows app, windows apps, Windows store
Everyone has their favourite web sites they use. These are used for different purposes and some are used more frequently than others.
To organize and share my own favourites / bookmarks, I’ve created a sharepoint list:
http://bjornhouben-web.sharepoint.com/Lists/Links that I will be updating continuously. If you’re unfamiliar with how to filter a sharepoint list, please check my previous post.
Other options to manage your own (personal) favourite web site links include:
- Using the built-in synchronisation with browsers like Firefox or Google Chome.
- Create and use a personalized start page like by example Netvibes and Protopage. These also provide options to include other resources like by example RSS feeds, weather predictions, etc. I am currently using iGoogle, but that will cease to function Q4 2013 unfortunately.
During the creation of my own list I came across kadaza.com and kadaza.nl, which also contains a great collection of categorized web sites. You can choose the main category on the left hand side after which you can further drill down by choosing subcategories on the right side.
I hope it is useful to you and should you have some great sites I’ve missed, please mention them in the comments section.
Tags: bookmark, browser, chrome, custom start page, favorite, favourite, favourites, firefox, google chrome, kadaza, manage, management, mozilla firefox, Netvibes, Protopage, site, start page, web site, website
If you’re anything like me, you’ve created your fair share of user names and passwords over the years and it is likely that many more will be added in the future as well. To complicate things even more, you are probably using multiple different user names and passwords because of different requirements. Possible reasons:
- Username (because your desired username might not meet the requirements or might already be in use. Or because your -email is used as your username)
- Minimum number of characters.
- Maximum number of characters.
- (Specific) special characters required.
- (Specific) special characters not allowed.
- x number of upper case characters
- x number of lower case characters
- x number of digits.
- x number of special characters.
- Password needs to be changed every x days.
Because of the large number of accounts (I have about 200-300 accounts) it is impossible to remember them all. Even though it might be tempting to use (a couple of) the same username and password combinations for logging on, this is not recommended because it is a security risk. When one of the places where you use a specific user/password combination is compromised, all other places where you use this same combination are at risk too. In this post I will try to describe some challenges and what you can do about it.
Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: account, authentication, backup, best practice, best practices, certificate, Dropbox, encryption, Google Drive, keepass, keepass password manager, key, key file, keyfile, license, licenses, management, Microsoft Skydrive, mult-factor, mult-factor authentication, multifactor, multifactor authentication, Password, password generator, Password management, password manager, password recovery, secure, security, serial, serials, Skydrive, synchronization, user account, user name, username