Finally: The End of Next, Next, Next...

Category: Software

When installing new software, you're often presented with a seemingly endless series of 'Next' or 'OK' buttons. Most of us mindlessly click through them, just to get it over with. But that can lead to some nasty surprises. Here's a tool that makes it super simple to safely install new software, and keep it all up to date...

Ninite Makes Software Updates Easy

Installing application software and keeping it up to date takes more face time than it should. In addition to all that robotic clicking, setup programs often require user interactions such as selecting installation folders and, most annoyingly, saying “no” to addons like toolbars and crapware that most users never want. (See my article on foistware for examples of insidious setup pitfalls.

What should be a simple, one-click, unattended operation more often requires you to sit there closely monitoring a boring process. But now there’s Ninite, a free Web service that fetches the installation files for over 100 popular Windows and Linux programs, then pre-configures them to run the way they should.

It can save you hours of time, and help you avoid mistakes that clutter your system with unwanted toolbars and crapware. Here’s how it works:
Ninite Software Installer

Go to Ninite.com and simply check the boxes next to the programs that you want. These include things like Adobe Reader, Firefox, Skype, VLC Media Player, iTunes, Java, and many others. The list of supported apps is constantly expanding.

Click the big green “Get Installer” button at the bottom of the page. Ninite begins fetching the latest versions of all the apps you’ve checked. It modifies the installation packages so that they automatically install software in default folders with default options and skip installation of all crapware. It's even smart enough to choose the 32 or 64-bit version your computer requires, and installs the software according to your PC's language setting.

Then Ninite rolls everything into one neat bundle and prepares it for download. In some browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, the download will start automatically. Internet Explorer may prompt you to start the download. If you are prompted to start the download, save the downloaded file, or run the installer, do so. Prompts will vary from one browser to another, and according to your browser security options. For reference, the installer will have a name like "Ninite Program1 Program2 Program3 Intaller.exe".

You may see prompts similar to the ones shown here. If so, click the Run button to continue. Once the installation process begins, you can walk away, and come back to a window that says, “Installation complete.” The summary will tell you what was installed, or if a program was already installed and up to date.

Ninite Software Installer       Ninite Software Installer

The first time I tried Ninite, I ran the installer and when it finished, I was a little surprised that the programs were actually installed and ready to run. But that's exactly what Ninite promised!

Other Ninite Features

All of the benefits above are available free of charge. But there are more for the low price of $9.99 per year. Ninite’s Updater subscription service eliminates those “update available” notices that pop up at the most inconvenient moments. It scans your system for supported applications; fetches updates as soon as they’re available; modifies them to run in the background and skip the crapware; and installs them while bothering you as little as possible. A system reboot may be required after some updates.

Ninite’s Pro edition, also $9.99/year, includes the Updater features but is designed for network use. It scans and maintains multiple systems on a home or business network. Network admins can select updates specific to each computer on their networks. Scripts written for command-line operation can make the whole update process run silently at specified times.

Ninite does a lot for free and even more for very little money. It can save you hours of time per year that would otherwise be wasted by babysitting updates and removing crapware that slips through. The paid versions also ensure that apps stay up to date so you are better protected from malware and time-consuming glitches that arise from running outdated software. Ninite is available for Windows and Linux operating systems.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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This article was posted by on 25 Feb 2013


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Most recent comments on "Finally: The End of Next, Next, Next..."

(See all 23 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Lee McIntyre
25 Feb 2013

Ninite seems like a good idea, Bob. I wonder if the paid version can be configured to EXCLUDE programs the user doesn't want to update.

For example, I won't install iTunes v. 11 on my Windows computer, because version 11 loses several features that are important to me.

I might consider Ninite if it can handle situations like that. Checking Ninite's web site, I found out why it's named Ninite, and that it's pronounced NIN-ite ("NIN" rhymes with "bin") and not NI-nite, as in what you might say to a child at bedtime ("Night night!"). But I couldn't determine if it will allow me to opt out of updating certain programs.

Perhaps someone who knows will reply here.

For now, "Night night, Ninite!"


Posted by:

cityboy
25 Feb 2013

OK so did we get so lazy now we don't have time to install software?


Posted by:

Ken Heikkila
25 Feb 2013

If not for using the "default options" I would definitely use this. However with a somewhat limited 64GB SSD C: drive I prefer to install all possible applications in my 1TB I: drive.
I suppose I should really look into upgrading to a larger SSD drive now that the prices have come down since I bought this system.
More & more Secunia PSI seems to have problems doing the upgrades without help- "you have programs that require manual updates" seems to be a constant balloon on my taskbar. Possibly because the apps are not installed on C:?


Posted by:

J Means
25 Feb 2013

I tried Nitite when last you mentioned it. I now have the site in my Bookmarks. The program did as it claimed, and I didn't wind up with a new toolbar or trash program. Nor did I get signed up for some freebie that never is free.

Thanks for the tip. It works as reputable software should work on new installs or updates.


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
25 Feb 2013

Bob ... I have just tried Ninite. OMG, how easy it was!!! I am hoping that it will save me time and energy ... Leastwise, today it did!

From the look of it, you must use the Ninite web page, when using the free version, to get the updates, you need. Am I right on that statement? I will, bookmark the Ninite web site, so I can use the free version.

Why, use the free version? I just want to make sure, that it does what Ninite claims to do, before I consider buying the Pro version. Test trial it for awhile.

Thanks again, for the sharing another neat program, for all of your readers, including me.


Posted by:

Kit Kimes
25 Feb 2013

I might try this at some time in the future. But, like others, I'm a big user of Secunia PSI and prefer to have the option to do my own install. They seem to have a bigger database that they are watching and they will readily checkout and add any you request (I've done that twice now). I would be real worried about Ninite installing a newer version that requires a payment to use the latest upgrade. Then I'd be left with manually removing it and reinstalling the earlier version.


Posted by:

bb
25 Feb 2013

A key thing: "Save" don't "Run" the Ninite download! That way, whenever you want to update the programs you selected, run the downloaded Ninite file. This can be done immediately, a month later, or every month. The ninite updates simply automates what can be a manual process, just run the saved file.


Posted by:

Charles
26 Feb 2013

I Don't see how this is different from the default in Kubuntu? If you want to install a program just get it from the list and it installs. If their is an update you get a notice at the bottom of the screen. Give it the OK and the update downloads and installs.


Posted by:

MagnumPC
26 Feb 2013

I have been using Ninite and Secunia for a long time now. I work on computers in my spare time and they both really save me a lot of time tuning up a system! Secunia gives the user a little more security protection by automatically updating certain programs such as Flash that are known to have security issues. Windows Update doesn't cover all the programs that Secunia does, so I install it on every computer I work on. When I work on the same computer again, it is easy to see which programs I need to update manually (another time saver!) I now may consider the paid verson of Ninite to keep my home networked computers updated! Great article!


Posted by:

elinor hood
03 Mar 2013

What about MACs?


Posted by:

Andy
04 Mar 2013

I use Secunia PSI 3 along with CNET's Techtracker and FileHippo's.
As CNET's and Filehippo's programs signal some things as out of date when there aren't really out of date, it's just that there is an upgrade!!

I'd like to know if you can exclude some programs.

Why? I have a few programs I have paid for and so if I "update/upgrade" them, I wouldn't have the paid version any more. Also with one program I use, the company took out a feature that I use nearly everyday (and know back to front) after one update so I had to reinstall it.


Posted by:

Andy68
04 Mar 2013

Earlier, I asked if you could exclude programs. The answer is YES.
You go to the site listed in the article, then you click the programs you see and want to update. Click the GREEN "GET INSTALLER".
As you can see from the website, the programs it updates are very limited at the moment.


Posted by:

Andy68
26 Apr 2013

Well, after trying it for a while it seems OKish. Why "ish"? Well, I have discovered that after using it, (I don't have the time to work out which one as I did this for quite a few programs), something installed a toolbar into Firefox, MSIE and Chrome.
Otherwise not a bad program.
If I find out which program it was, I'll let you know.


Posted by:

English72
27 Oct 2013

I agree with Andy68's comments. I too had to spend some time uninstalling a few toolbars etc. I alos discovered that something else was installed as well. Maybe the software company added a new box to check or uncheck that this company doesn't know about yet.


Posted by:

Jim
31 Jan 2014

I agree with you about CNET, always trusted it until my Norton 360 warned me not to download a program from CNET.


Posted by:

tony
15 Jan 2015

You often say nothing re Macs. Why don't you say "nothing equivalent on Mac".


Posted by:

Larry Craig
16 Jan 2015

I used to trust Cnet for all my downloads, but now really have to read every screen as they seem to include a ton of Malware with their downloader. Often up to 5 Crapware programs at a time so although I is still download from them I am very careful and read each panel.


Posted by:

Larry Craig
16 Jan 2015

I used to trust Cnet for all my downloads, but now really have to read every screen as they seem to include a ton of Malware with their downloader. Often up to 5 Crapware programs at a time so although I is still download from them I am very careful and read each panel.


Posted by:

Al. S
19 Jan 2016

I use Secunia, Ninite when I set up new computers, all of the latest updates are there.

To avoid installing unwanted addons that often come with both free and paid programs is use unchecky the program install in the background when you are installing a warning comes up asking if you want to permit this and you check the box.

Win Patrol allows you to see what is running, can disable or delay start.

Last of all I use Belarc Advisor. It tells you everything you need to know about your computer and serial numbers and more. The US Government and many private corporations use it,


Posted by:

Al. S
20 Jan 2016

Unchecky will prevent tool bars and other malware from sneaking in because you must check the boxes if you want to install that item. This is separate from installing the program.

Your Antivirus program should also prevent malware from sneaking in. A few programs I use that are safe are blocked by Norton's and I have to go into settings to either ignore or select trust to allow. I suggest using Major Geeks instead of CNET, It checks for malware before allowing install.


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