Finally: The End of Next, Next, Next...
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:
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.
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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 25 Feb 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Finally: The End of Next, Next, Next... (Posted: 25 Feb 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved