If you have ever used Ubuntu Linux, then you know how easy it is to install applications in it. Ubuntu Linux has a feature called Software Centre using which you can search programs, download them and install them with the click of a button. Windows does not have any feature like this. This is where Npackd (pronounced ‘Unpacked’) comes in. Npackd is an application manager for Windows. Using it you can search, download and automatically install applications in Windows.
You can download it from its Google Code webpage. The download is available both as an installable application and as a portable application. You can find separate downloads for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. When you run it for the first time, it connects to its server and downloads a list of repositories which contain information about downloadable applications. At the time of writing this article, it downloaded a list of more than 300 applications. Almost all of these applications are either open-source or freeware. If you want to download and install an application, just select it from the list and then click on the Install icon in the toolbar. You can also right-click on the application that you want to install and select Install from the context-menu.
After the installation, it would add a shortcut to the installed application in the Start Menu using which you can launch that application. After the installation, the status column in the Npackd list would change to installed. If at any later time, you want to uninstall an application, then you can select it from the list and click on the Uninstall icon from the toolbar. You can also right-click on the application and select Uninstall from the context-menu. It is recommended that you do not attempt to manually uninstall applications that were installed using Npackd. It is better to remove those applications using Npackd itself.
Npackd window includes a search box on the top-left using which you can search for an application quickly. You can also scroll down the the list and go through the application descriptions to find an application that you would want to install. It automatically detects applications installed status, whether they were installed using Npackd or they were installed externally, whether the applications installed are up-to-date and more. This information is displayed in the Status column of the list.
If you want a feature similar to Ubuntu’s Software Centre in Windows, then you can use Npackd. Though it is nothing close to Software Centre of Ubuntu, yet it makes a good attempt at providing an application manager for Windows. You can use it to install new software, remove unwanted software and keep applications up-to-date by updating them to the latest versions.
Conclusion: Npackd is an open source software manager for Windows which allows you to search, install, update or remove hundreds of applications in Windows easily. You can install from a wide variety of programs belonging to various categories like finance, games, music, education etc.
You can download Npackd from http://code.google.com/p/windows-package-manager/.