Unlike Linux distributions, Windows doesn’t have a centralized repository of applications from where you can download and install all applications at once by just clicking a few buttons. Several independent developers in the past have tried to implement this in Windows with varying levels of success. FreeApp, Ninite (formerly Volery), FreewareUpdater, ZeuAPP, Ketarin and UpdateStar are a few worth mentioning.
Windows Package Manager is the newest among them. WPM automates downloading, installing and uninstalling of application on the Windows operating system with minimum user intervention. Currently over 100 applications are available in multiple versions taking the total downloads to around 180.
The repository is described and maintained on an XML file and available at Google Code Hosting. A user can also create their own repository and distribute their own applications using Windows Package Manager. All they have to do is to package their application as a ZIP file so it is accessible through HTTP and describe it in the XML file. This makes it possible to use WPM as a distribution system, for say, in an office or small organization. This is quite impressive.
The main features are:
- Support for proxies (use the internet settings control panel to configure it)
- Password protected pages. This can be used to restrict access to your repository.
- Fast installation and uninstallation without user interaction.
- Additional scripts for more sophisticated installation and uninstallation can be defined
- Shortcuts in the start menu are automatically created/deleted
- Multiple program versions can be installed side-by-side