Scripting the setup of a developer PC, Part 1 of 4 – Installing Applications & Utilities with Ninite

Setting up a development PC can be a bit of a pain, unless you’re smart and create an image following the setup of a brand new vanilla install. But who’s organised enough to do that?! I’ll get onto that option in another post, but this one is more an excuse to play with interesting stuff.

I thought I’d have a play with coding up a set of scripts to do as much of this setup as possible instead; there are a few tools out there to do this sort of thing, and I’ve gone with ninite, webpi, and chocolatey.


I’ll start with the intended ideal option for each tool, and then go into how this doesn’t work perfectly and why, and what the other options are. Part 1 of this series of 4 is for the easiest tool of all:


Installing Applications & Utilities: ninite

This site allows you to create a single exe installer which contains your own selection of a large number of applications/frameworks/utilities:


For an ASP.Net developer PC I’ve gone with Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox, Skype, VLC, Flash, Air, Java, Silverlight, Launchy, 7-Zip, WinSCP, PuTTY, Notepad++, WinMerge, Paint.NET, PDFCreator, Reader, DropBox, and Everything Search for my installer. This installer can be called from the command line but the basic version still opens a graphical interface; however no interaction is required. The Pro version comes with a command line installer, but I’ll not be using that.

Ninite Pro is absolutely awesome: you can remotely manage installed software and software patches within your network with a silent install process.



So far my install script set looks like this; pretty bare:

[batch]@echo off
REM Ninite stuff
cmd /C Z:\Installation\SetupDevPC\Ninite_DevPC_Utils.exe[/batch]

And the installation directory is merely one script and one exe:


That was dead simple! Lovely! Coming up next – something a bit messier:

Scripting the setup of a developer PC, Part 2 of 4 – Installing Frameworks and Components with WebPI.

2 thoughts on “Scripting the setup of a developer PC, Part 1 of 4 – Installing Applications & Utilities with Ninite

  1. Great series! This has saved me a lot of time. I’ve also not come across ninite until now. What do you think – will chocolatey make ninite obsolete? My hope is that chocolatey adoption will spread to closed-source companies (Microsoft perhaps) and overtime everything can be scripted from the command line. You can hope anyway eh?

    • Hi Mark,

      I think chocolatey is a clever implementation of nuget, and actually made me think about how I could utilise nuget myself in an octopusdeploy/chocolatey sort of way (i.e., nuget + powershell file to install the package).

      From a sysadmin perspective pretty much everything can be scripted anyway; for example creating a developer spec pc (using ninite or chocolatey or manual installation), then create an image (sysprep or similar) the you can script the build of similar systems from that image.

      Also, non-windows systems are way easier – apt-get, yum, ipkg etc do chocolatey and more for Linux systems.

      In my opinion, Chocolatey is another useful tool in the more tekky Window users’ toolbelt along with things like ninite and webpi – doubt it’ll change the world, but it’s really nice to have it there!


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