back to article Sick of juggling apps on biz PCs? This install tool will save your sanity

I've spent most of the past week in the San Francisco bay area. I've visited Nerd Mecca (Xerox PARC), various universities and Big Tech campuses. I've seen the Golden Gate Bridge, cursed San Francisco drivers, and discovered why Americans loathe AT&T. I've had a fantastic time down here, but the highlight of the trip has been …


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  1. Irongut

    Why spend money?

    "Ninite Pro will check for updates to any Ninite-supported application located on the system and update it regularly. It is an absolute godsend for those of us saddled with fixing Aunt Tilly's Best Buy special"

    Better for that task would be Secuina PSI which does the same thing and is free so it doesn't cost you anything to support Aunt Tilly. Look for v2.0 tho, the latest version is terrible.

    1. Captain Underpants

      Re: Why spend money?


      Ninite Pro sounds worthwhile for the biz/enterprise side of things, but for home users the PSI is much better because, well, the auto-update management is what you really want here.

      Ninite's still nice for the initial setup, though - just not something I'd actually use very often...

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Why spend money?

        Evidently a "sysadmin blog" reflects the blinkered outlook of somebody who has to see to the continued good health and updatiness of more than one computer. Some computers are even "servers" and not on somebody's desktop at all. Obviously for us, who live in the real world and only own one computer, it is very different.

        1. Dave Bell

          Re: Why spend money?

          Real world?

          Only one computer?

          You realise where you are posting? My wallet contains more computing power than an Apollo Lunar Module, but we can discount that because it's not running Windoes.

          1. Fatman

            Re: You realise where you are posting?

            Don't take offense!

            It is not his fault those <sarcasm> tags got stripped out of his post.

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


              But I thought I used the Joke icon. I guess not.

              I do think that a "check that your software is updated" tool has to do a pretty good job to beat the various software products' own tools that do the same thing, and, in particular, to update things like Flash without installing whatever bundled nonsense the default installer is offering this week, or allowing the alternative browser to make itself default browser (yes, you, Opera, in the hidden default "options", and I -like- Opera.) On the other hand, so do you.

              There may also be licence conditions on the software to be installed that disallow use of such a third-party installer.

              And, yes, it would be nice to have the whole business run through an integral feature of the operating system for third party products. But where do I find a version of Linux that runs "My Obscure Application"? Alternatively, how much does the Windows 8 App Store charge for updating apps?

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: "for us, who live in the real world and only own one computer"

          You only have one computer ? Good for you. I have mine, my wife's PC and my daughter's laptop to take care of.

          I do believe I'm living in this "real world" you mention.

        3. Tank boy

          Re: Obviously for us, who live in the real world and only own one computer, it is very different.

          I'm sure you're safe locked up in your mother's basement. Some of us home users own more than one machine, running multiple OS's. This is useless software for me, but I'm sure some could find it handy, You fail.

        4. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          Re: Why spend money?

          Depends on how many machines they manage. If they are managing a few machines, the pro version of this application might be worth it,

          If they are managing hundreds, and possibly thousands of machines (and judging by the website, this application does seem to be aimed at least partially at that group), then there are more versatile systems out there that can do this.

          The free version might be worth it for people maintaining a few machines, but depends if they want exactly the same software on each machine. Not really useful in my case.

  2. Gordon Fecyk

    Yet another tool to work around lazy developers.

    Deployment through Active Directory doesn't always work as well as it should, and you often require tweaking of the installers every few versions anyways.

    That's not Active Directory's fault. Group Policy installations work just fine, but the application's installer needs to support /quiet or /passive properly. That's InstallSh**the application developer's fault.

    If developers actually developed their applications instead of slapped them together, and, oh, I don't know, actually followed the Designed for Windows spec from twelve years ago, we wouldn't need third-party tools. And that includes Microsoft's Office division.

    1. James 132

      Re: Yet another tool to work around lazy developers.

      Easily the most tiresome and time-consuming aspect of desktop management. And, it is worse the further away you get from mainstream applications. Some specialised educational / simulation stuff enormously stubborn about deploying nicely.

  3. Tom Chiverton 1
    Thumb Down

    Reads like a press release..

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Tom

      We can't hate /all/ technology. It's Trevor's opinion.


  4. vagabondo

    Why can't you use your package manager?

    in (open)SuSE 'zypper up' suffices. Most OSs have something similar that will download and update everything.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why can't you use your package manager?

      What an ignorant question.

      1. Bumpy Cat

        Re: Why can't you use your package manager?

        It's not an ignorant question, although it is a little smug (as the OP said). The lack of a unified installer in Windows is increasingly obvious and sadly primitive. It is a litle jarring to come to set up a Windows PC and have to download and install several different apps from various different sites around the web.

        I suspect the Windows Store will fill this gap. Rather than having to track down AV and Flash and Java and everything else on vendor's sites, then download the installer, then click through the installer - you can just tick each application you want, and say go. Ninite may become redundant in future.

        1. deive

          Re: Why can't you use your package manager?

          "Ninite may become redundant in future" - that will also depend on how locked down Microsoft's store will be...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why ... @Bumpy Cat

          Also in the non-Microsoft world most users can get all their software from a trusted repository. It will have been built and signed by someone trustworthy, and its checksum and signature checked on download, prior to installation.

      2. Keep Refrigerated

        Re: Why can't you use your package manager?

        TFA was not specific about any OS - only the 'PC' acronym was used - therefore perfectly valid question.

        Had TFA specifically mentioned, for example, a Windows OS, then it would have been ignorant, possibly trollish. As it is, your comment is the ignorant one - based on a false premise.

    2. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Why can't you use your package manager?

      "Most OSs have something similar that will download and update everything."

      Yeah, sounds like the things "apt-get dist-upgrade" can do.

      I have no idea if apt-get is available for Windows though.

    3. Fatman

      Re: Why can't you use your package manager?


      Because windblowZE doesn't use a package manager.


      This is just another aspect of where windblowZE gets it backwards. (File name slashes, being another.)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why can't you use your package manager?

      How many commercial applications can 'zypper up' manage on your SuSE desktop?

  5. mikeyboosh

    I always use it at home etc on a fresh build, saves half an hour or so, it's impressive. Would I use it in an Enterprise? Not sure...

  6. The Alpha Klutz

    I won't be shelling out for the Pro version

    but Ninite is an excellent tool for setting up domestic computers. CCleaner to get rid of the shite they come with and Ninite to put the good stuff on.

  7. ForthIsNotDead

    This is not an article...'s a bloody advert! Did El Reg actually pay the author for this? Did anyone in editorial actually READ it??


    1. It'sa Mea... Mario

      Re: This is not an article...

      It's not even the first 'advert' they have had for Ninite on El Reg..

      That said, I do feel it is worth spreading the word about this very useful tool.

      <<<Pint: If you see him again Trev, buy him one from me!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is not an article...

      Why is it that everyone who says anything positive about anything here is accused of being a shill or taking corrupt payments or some other such gittish behavior, when the most likely case is that they just like the product in question?

      If you want to see corruption everywhere, that's what you'll see, but you'll never trust anyone and you'll end up miserable and probably lonely because you can't trust anyone.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: This is not an article...

        The way I read the article was less about the glories of Ninite, which has been around for a while, but is not overly well known, and more about Trevor being able to buy the guy a beer. There was some background on the software, to explain why the beer was deserved. Also, the article provided a way for Trevor to expense at least one trip to the bar to El Reg.

        Considering the guys over at SPB get to do one once a month or so (Post-Pub nosh death matches) I don't blame him for trying, and actually appreciate being introduced to what appears to be a nice chunk of 'ware.

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: This is not an article...

      As the article says, *I* bought the beer. I am not a shill...but I am unreservedly, unashamedly a Ninite fanboy. I hate most software. I am getting to the point of hating computers in general. I distrust corporations - the larger they are, the more cynicism is triggered - and I am beginning to believe that almost everone in tech has an angle.

      But I like Ninite. It is simple. It does what it says on the tin. It saves me time. If you - or the rest of the vicious interbitts waaambulance community - has some sort of problem with that...cope.

      Every now and again, something is actually A Good Thing in tech.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ok, so this article appears to have it's detractors, however..

    ...I'm a 41 year old Ubuntu/OS X user/developer who has long since lost the combination of raw curiosity/stamina necessary to go through endless lengthy download/browse/run/options/install wizard sessions, so Ninite sounds like a god send to me. I was LITERALLY thinking about something like this, for Windows, only last week.

    It's especially fitting seeing as I've decided to do a little C++ development on Windows and was just this evening going to put together a Windows 7 image for VirtualBox under Ubuntu. So, hopefully, installing a Virus Checker, Malware software, Java, various IDE's, an office package, some graphics packages and a few browsers shouldn't take much longer than writing this post (yes, maybe I'm being overly optimistic).

    It's a shame that Ninite doesn't include Visual Studio 2010 (express) in its list, or I'd probably say here and now that is was a killer application, at least for Windows software installation.

    Only one more thing. I notice several Reg competitors were talking about Nanite back in 2009, am I missing something here, this is not new :-(

    1. Vic

      Re: Ok, so this article appears to have it's detractors, however..

      > I was LITERALLY thinking about something like this, for Windows, only last week.

      I keep thinking about porting yum to Windows.

      Doubt I'll ever get round to it, though...


    2. Tom 13

      Re: Ok, so this article appears to have it's detractors, however..

      I haven't tried Nanite yet, but after reading this I'll at least give it a good look. Secunia makes a good product to keep the software updated after it is installed (it's what I use on my personal machines and wherever I'm the family tech support guy). Where it sounds like Nanite has a slight edge is in finding apps you want to install but haven't yet.

  9. Chuckygobyebye

    This is good

    If you're like me, and get called in every time some clown needs to rebuild his system this app means less time watching progress bars and more time letting your friend buy you beers in the pub. I love it.

  10. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward

    Tried it last night and loved it

    Only wish it had more of my apps but I sent in my suggestions

  11. Anonymous Coward

    'pro' costs

    Instead of renting Ninite Pro most Windows shops are going to simply use SCCM (which they should already own anyway) and write their own installer scripts.

    In the Real World can you also believe one is expected to obtain redistribution licenses for things like Flash and Adobe Reader to be legal?

    I see Ninite being utilized by SMEs managed by coders who think they can sysaadmin because they know to put all users into the local administrators group to get their code working...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'pro' costs

      There's nothing simple about SCCM, and most pro shops don't have enough hours allocated to the update tasks for sysadmins to tweak the crap out the current version of the installer to get it to work. Yeah, ours manages the MS updates, the monthly flash updates, the regular Adobe Reader updates, java, Firefox, and Thunderbird, but after that he has to move onto the other stuff on his plate that someone decided is more important. So there's a whole other raft of stuff that doesn't get updated: the Full Adobe Acrobat products (all 4 versions crossed by the two types, okay 3 because the 4th one is no longer supported), Cygwin, Oracle clients, Adobe CS Products, and probably a half dozen other major items I don't know about because I only handle 2 of 18 floors.

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