So all of us have Windows boxes in our shops that need to be installed, have some apps dropped on them and managed, even if we don’t really want them. That install process, has gotten easier over time with templates and what not, however, you still need to build that golden image, etc. Well, for that, there is Ninite.com
Well, what’s the big deal about that? Well, first it’s all in one place. Second, after you’ve made your selections you download an installer that drops all the packages onto your box silently… That is, there is no “Next, Next, Next, Finish”. Also, if it detects a package that you may have already installed, it will either update it, or ignore it if it’s already current.
Finally, there is a pretty good opportunity here to integrate this tool into your automation efforts. (Hint: Blog post coming).
Security & Other Concerns
Updating based on the comments on this post:
There were some concerns around “does it install the toolbars” and security of the apps. Ninite covers this here: http://ninite.com/help/how-ninite-works/
Ninite tries to behave exactly like a technical friend you’ve asked to install a few apps for you. This means that Ninite installers, regardless of when or where they were created:
Say “No” to toolbars or other junk
Always install the latest version of an app
Install the right 32-bit or 64-bit version for a PC
Install apps in the PC’s language
Skip apps that are already up-to-date
Upgrade an app if it’s out of date
And regarding security:
“Downloads come from the publishers’ sites and are checked for correct digital signatures or matching SHA-1 hashes before Ninite uses them.”
So, while that may not work in all environments, it more or less covers the basics (checking the binary, pulling from the source, killing toolbars, etc. As always, drop a comment if you have a concern or question. Also note: I’m not affiliated with Ninite, just found it extremely useful.