Talking tech since 2003

We need to kill the Windows Installer.  More specifically, Microsoft needs to kill it.  Why?  Because it’s a poor method of installing software.  Alternative operating systems to Windows such as Mac OS X and every Linux distribution do software installations the right way.  What makes their method for installing software the “right way” you ask?  It’s flat out easier, more intuitive, and less cumbersome.

As it stands now when you want to install a piece of software on Windows you are required to download an executable file and run it.  The executable then opens the Installer which prompts you for several things.  Some of which require clicking a checkbox, selecting particular options, and clicking buttons.  How many times do I have to click “Next” to install something on Windows?  It’s a tedious task.  One that I think can also be argued to be too complicated for many end users.

How about installing software on Mac OS X or Linux?  It’s very different.  In most cases on OS X to install a piece of software all you have to do is download the application, double click it (to either mount the DMG or unzip the file), and move the file that appears into the Applications folder.  That’s it.  No checkboxes, various options, or “Next” buttons – just drag and drop and it’s installed and ready to use.

What about on Linux distributions?  The fact that Linux distributions have something called package managers makes installing software a breeze.  These package managers often have front ends which provide a nice interface where you can simply select the software you want to install and click a button to install it.  The package manager will take care of the rest.  Super easy.  Even if you were using the terminal to install software from a package manager, it’s still less steps than using the Windows Installer.  In that case you would type a command (e.g. apt-get install softwarename) and it would ask you if you are sure you want to install the software to which you would answer Yes and it go on its way and be done.

If there were one thing I would love to see change in Windows it would be the way we install software.  Right now it pales in comparison to other operating systems out there.  The Windows Installer method of installing software is old, outdated, and needs to change.

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