Download and install programs with a single command with just-install

How do you install most software? You visit the program’s page, click the download page, search for the version you want, download it, wait for it to complete and then run the installer. That can be exhausting depending on various factors (download size, speed, available versions, number of programs you need to download).

Download and install programs with a single command with just-install

What if I told you there is away to download and install programs with a single command? Say hello to just-install.

If you’ve used Pip, Chocolatey, Ninite,  or the Windows Package Manager, just-install is sort of like that. For those of you who are new to this, let me explain. just-install is an open source package installer. It comes with commands that you can execute to download other programs and install them. The name may look odd with the hyphen, but that’s actually the command you’ll be using for invoking the process.

To get started, download and run the just-install executable. Don’t worry, this is the only package you’ll be downloading.

Or, you could run this command from a command window with administrator privileges.

msiexec.exe /i https://just-install.github.io/stable/just-install.msi

Once the program is installed, you can use it from the command line. If you closed the command window earlier, open a new one, and don’t forger to run it with elevated rights.

Type the following command in it:

just-install list

just-install will list all available programs that can be downloaded and installed. It also mentions the version number for most applications, though some are just labeled “latest”. The list comprises over 275 programs including the likes of Firefox, Bleachbit, VLC, Keepass, Notepad++, Paint.net, to name a few. Please refer to the official website for the complete list.

I spotted one (there maybe more) outdated program, Classic Shell 4.3.1. This is the last released version from the original developer, before the program went open source and eventually ended up being forked as Open Shell. Just-install doesn’t list the Open Shell installer. It’s also worth mentioning that many programs in the list aren’t open source. So pay attention when choosing what you want to install.

The use of “latest” and version numbers is somewhat confusing, as users may get the impression that program’s with version numbers are not offered in their most recent version because of the use of “latest” elsewhere.

How to use just-install

Speaking of which, how do you install a program using just-install? Obviously, nobody would require all of those applications. You’ve to install them one at a time. Let’s try installing a specific program. The syntax for the command is simple, it is

just-install program-name

Replace program-name with the name of the software that you need. For e.g. if I want to install bleachbit, I’d use just-install bleachbit

just-install example

The packager immediately begins downloading the installer from the official website. And it doesn’t stop there, it silently installs the downloaded program in the background. I’d say the entire process was completed in less than a minute. That’s great isn’t it.

Note: In case of portable applications, there is obviously no installation process. You can find the downloaded files in the temp folder of just-install. (Refer to the “save downloaded installers” section of this article)

If you’re not comfortable with the command-line, there is a different way to use the program. Head to the just-install website and click on “Create Customize installer”. Use the mouse to mark the programs that you want to install, and click on the “Download” button in the top right corner. It creates a custom version of just-install, which when you execute it (requires admin rights) will download the applications that you selected.

Just-install custom installer

For e.g. I selected Ditto, Clementine Music Player and AutoRuns. just-install began downloading and installing the 3 programs when I ran the executable.

Just-install custom installer 2

The key difference here is that just-install itself will not be installed on the computer, only the downloaded programs are installed. So, this method maybe useful after a fresh install of Windows.

Run the just-install help command to view the list of supported switches. Audit compares its list of supported programs with those installed on your computer, by scanning the windows registry. Clean deletes the cache and temp files. Update will refresh the registry, and so on.

just-install help

Save the downloaded installers

Method 1: Install and saved the downloaded setup files

I want to save the files which just-install downloaded. Is that possible? You can, just go to this folder: C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataLocalTempjust-install. It contains the downloaded executables, they have random alpha-numeric names, but you can recognize them by their icons, or by hovering over the file name.

Just-install save downloaded installers

Method 2: Downloaded setup files, but don’t install them

If you just want to download the installers (and not install the programs), you can use the “download-only” switch.

For e.g. just-install –download-only keepassxc

Just-install save downloaded installers example

This command downloads the installer for KeepassXC and saves it in the folder mentioned above.

You may also use -d instead of typing –download-only. For e.g. just-install -d irfanview

For the rest of the features, use the help command. just-install is fairly easy to use and quite convenient. The application is written in Go.

software image

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Software Name

just-install

Operating System

Windows

Software Category

Productivity

Price

Free

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