Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

Ninite – Install Popular Free Applications Quickly, Easily, and Securely

One of the more recent scourges of the internet is “foistware“: software you don’t want that is installed – foisted on you – with software you actually do want. Avoiding foistware can be tricky and requires constant vigilance, even when updating software you’ve previously installed.

Ninite is a free bulk installation service and utility that allows you to choose from a selection of applications and install or update them all at once. Best of all, they’re scrubbed of any foistware or malware.

Let’s install some software using Ninite.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

Ninite: Install and update all your programs at once

That’s the tag line prominent on the Ninite web site.

Ninite - Install and Update All Your Programs at Once

It’s mostly true.

If you scroll down further, you’ll see you can select from a list of applications that Ninite supports. It’s not quite “all your programs”, but it’s a very useful list of common and popular programs, including several I use and recommend myself.

Ninite - Programs Available

Installing software using Ninite

In that list, click the various and sundry packages that you want to install.

I’ve selected an assortment of software that I use and recommend.

Click Get Installer.

Ninite - Several Packages Selected

At the bottom of the next screen, your computer will likely ask your permission to run or save the installer.

Ninite Installer - Run or Save

You’ll probably want to Save the program. As we’ll see in a moment, you may want to run it again in the future.

After the download completes, Run the downloaded program. After a UAC prompt, Ninite goes to work downloading and installing all the software you’ve selected.

Ninite - Downloading and Installing

Eventually Ninite completes, and you can close it by clicking on its Close button.

That’s it! A few simple steps, and a number of applications have been installed – and installed safely.

Windows 10 Desktop after Ninite Install

Updating software installed by Ninite

To update the software that’s been installed by Ninite, just re-run the installer you downloaded.

Seriously. That’s it.

The installer will review all the installed programs to make sure they’re up to date. If they aren’t, Ninite downloads the installer for them, and updates.

Results of a Ninite Update Run

If you decide later you want to add additional software to your Ninite downloader, just visit Ninite again, select all the software you want it to manage, including the new ones, and download and save the new installer.

If the software you use and care about is on Ninite’s list, it’s difficult to come up with a simpler or safer way to install and keep that software up-to-date.

I recommend it.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

Podcast audio



26 comments on “Ninite – Install Popular Free Applications Quickly, Easily, and Securely”

  1. Great article Leo.

    A recent update of something, likely one of my anti-virus/ anti-malware apps, even though I try to be alert and careful, changed my search engine, and when I changed it back to AVG I had lost the ability to mark unsafe searches, which was the reason I loved the AVG search.

    After trying to correct over and over I just gave up :-(

    Ninite sounds like a great option for any future installations and updates.

  2. Leo, I find this very interesting as so many of these free programs are ones I use. However, I am assuming that Ninite is going to download versions that it will then “install” and this will impact my registry. Is this correct

    Of the programs listed in Ninite, I have the “portable” versions (from Chrome, Opera, Firefox, KeePass2, Skype, 7-Zip, PeaZip, VLC, KMPlayer, Audicity, TeamViewer, Imgburn, Teracopy, Revo, InfraREcorder, GIMP, IrfanView, XnView, Faststone, Foxit Reader, LibreOffice, Sumatra PDF, OpenOffice, FileZilla, NotePad++, WinSCP, WinMerge, and SpyBot.

    I could also download the portable versions of Pidgin, Thunderbird, AIMP, foobar2000, Winamp, Inkscape, Greenshot, LibreOffice, Python, Eclipse, qBittorent, and eMule.

    I carry with me a mini SD card (with a “bug” type USB reader) everywhere I go. I am often asked to help friends “make my PC run faster” or respond to “how can I do this or that?” I can quickly go to their computer, copy a program into a folder, “send” a shortcut to their desktop so they can make use of this new software.

    So, what are your thoughts on portable, freeware apps?

  3. Can I setup the PC so it runs Ninite automatically (for instance once every week) so it updates the installed software? That would be even more convenient.

  4. Ninite will update any supported software that you sellect, even those that where installed previously. You are not limited to those initialy installed by Ninite.
    Another very nice feature is that it will get the 32 or 64 bits version according to your OS, and install/set the softwares in your language, if it’s available. If a particular language is not available, it will default to english.

  5. Alain’s comment sort of answers my question. Does that mean if I already have most of these programmes installed already it will correct them and remove toolbars, etc?

  6. I’m not grasping how Ninite works with already installed programs. For instance, if I already have a program installed, does Ninite just sort of note that or does it install over it?

  7. I have a paid version of several programs, for example, MalwareBytes. Ninite shows the free version, will I start a problem with updates if I run Ninite?

  8. Like Imre I too have paid versions of several programs that Ninite shows free versions – will Ninite update paid versions or does it only do free versions?

  9. You forgot to mention that it installs everything on the C drive whether or not you have the program on another drive. Sorry, I normally like your articles but this one sucks.
    I normally spend about one hour updating my programs once a month, I just spent that long running Ninite and now it will take at least that long to get them off my C drive, then I’ll have to go back to the old way to update.

  10. Sounds like a great program. Can Ninite update software you already have on your computer? For example I have Audacity installed but would like Ninite to update it automatically.

    Thanks for many, many great articles!

    • Yes. It will download and install the latest version over the older one. If you already have the latest version Ninite will ignore the update.

  11. Leo,
    Great article, however, I tried to download and all I get is “503 Service Unavailable
    No server is available to handle this request.”
    Please help.



Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.